Orbitz.com makes Hernandez singular

One of the most-aired, but somehow least-annoying commercials on is the Orbitz.com “Valet” spot: where the Orbitz Guy exits his hovercraft, thows the keys to the valet, and says “Ah… the Hernandez..ez..es..es..” to a surprised Hispanic-lite couple.

It’s subtle, but it’s a great opening. It’s a small, but ultimately pretty funny joke at the expense of trying to make a last name that is already plural, plural.

It’s something we’ve all stumbled with, and chuckled about, at some point in our lives. And it’s exactly the same as making the last name “James”, or any other word that ends in “s” or “z” plural.

Except this last name was Hispanic.

Orbitz has quietly re-edited their spot, and removed the extra “..ez..es..es…”s, most likely at the direction of some easily offended letter writers with too much time on their hands.

But what is surprising here is the amount of outrage… not over the original version, but over this new, “cleaned up” version:

http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1156014

http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/2009/12/orbitz-done-joking-about-the-hernandezes.html

The original version (“..ez..es..es…”) is what we in the industry call a “truism”. A little human touch that helps endears viewers to your commercial. Some commercials and even campaigns are awash in “truism” (see: Just Do It). But most commercials out there are pretty bland, and would fade into the woodwork if it weren’t for these little gems of humanity. A look. A unique line delivery. A perfectly-cast bit player with a strange face. Or, more often, as in this case, a seemingly “throw away” line, that people like. And remember.

Orbitz’s (“..ez..es..es…”) removal of this small-but-powerful moment is a big deal. Not because it made a pleasantly decent spot bad (it did), but because it’s a symptom of a bigger, more nefarious issue: Political Correctness.

Offensive language and stereotypes are kind of like Global Warming. You won’t find anyone who will readily admit to thinking that pollution is GOOD, just like you won’t find anyone who will willingly cheer on the insulting of groups of people, religions or cultures. Especially minorities. But the problem is, with this kind of thin-skinned knee-jerk skiddishness, we’re ultimately missing the larger point. And when we focus on these little, unimportant, but still-perceived “slights” we take the focus off of larger, more harmful, and “real” racism.

The natural reaction to people or groups that are overly sensitive is to treat them like little children. And, for groups that are ironically clamoring for respect, that is the most offensive thing of all.

Yes. It’s a stupid commercial about a silly guy in a hovercraft. But it’s a glaring example of a larger, more insidious problem in our World today: PC Thuggery, the attempt to control other’s thoughts and speech, and the overall wuss-i-fi-cation of our society.

Hopefully this reverse-outrage will garner some attention, and start a proper, grown-up discussion. It’s long overdue.

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  1. JD’s avatar

    Damn right! I was so irritated when I saw the commercial again today! I loved that joke. It was so funny, and true. I am SO SICK of this protectionism, PC garbage. When are people going to stand up and just say NO…no to you limp-wristed, knee-jerk, wimps who are offened that the milk was white, the accent was added to the script, the book had an offensive word, or your ethnic group was not represented! Grow up, get over yourself, and deal with it! Life is hard, there is no such thing as “fair”, and we all are going to die some day. The world is not safe and easy. Time to be an adult and worry about real problems…like socialism, Marxism, and the loss of our way of life.

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  2. Scott’s avatar

    I totally agree with your comments as I too was so bummed out about them changing the original commercial! I openly laughed every time I saw it, and I immediately noticed the change the first time I saw the new audio….unbelievable!

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  3. Joe’s avatar

    I was totally surprised to find out I wasn’t the only one out there who noticed this and was also pissed off at the PC mentality that Otbitz took on this. The couple didn’t even look Hispanic on top of it all. What if the couple’s name was Stutz, Franz, Simmons or Jones? Would there ever have been PC outrage? Hell no.

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  4. Becky’s avatar

    I actually didn’t find the original all that funny to start with. It’s not really that hard to pronounce Hernandezes. I thought that concept of the commercial was just stupid. Maybe it would have been funnier if the name was actually hard to say (can think of a few pro athlete names this would work with). I like comedy, but this isn’t it.

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    1. grog’s avatar

      Wow Becky. Then you really have no idea what comedy is. And you obv have no idea what a concept is either. Since the joke doesnt alter the concept of the commercial, just the sticking power. Which, case in point was demonstrated. People walk away going “ez. ez. ez”. And they remember Orbitz made them smile. And btw. 100% of people never agree on what’s funny. I saw a commercial last year making fun of the Rangers catcher Saltalamacchia…Not funny…AT ALL. That’s why focus groups suck.

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    2. jordan’s avatar

      the original was definitely the best commercial currently airing. taking it out was like taking the star off the top of the christmas tree…little nuance removed, but that is what made the commercial a success

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    3. Melvin Udall’s avatar

      Exceptionally well put, and dead on.

      I found this via search when I noticed the commercial had been changed. A true shame. I chuckled every time. Now I’m back to annoyed every time their commercials are on. Another loss to PC thought control.

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    4. Aaron’s avatar

      ABSOLUTELY!! I have been complaining to anyone who would listen every time I viewed the new, and stupidly edited, version.

      Every point in this article is spot-on and I have been chiming the same views for years; but especially after this subtle, but powerfully meaningful, change in a commercial.

      And Becky, aka Debbie Downer, aka Negative Nancy, please get the point. Are you so thick that you can’t get the idea of the gripe in this situation? It’s not that Hernandez is that difficult to pronounce, it’s that……..Ya know what? I’m not going to explain it to you! You’re the type of dry and non-sense of humor person that folks make fun of behind their backs; the type that tries just too hard to be intellectual and act as if humor is low brow or something. I guess ironically, in a way, your type is the problem.

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    5. Scottsdale’s avatar

      It is too bad that one has to bow to such rubish. However the ad is getting more attention than ever.

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    6. Brian’s avatar

      Your commentary is spot on. I caught- and was ticked off at- the PC revision to that commercial as soon as it re-aired!! What is so offensive by that?! How many times have I laughed at jabs to Irish, Italian, Scottish, and German names or culture? All heritages of which I belong to. I don’t want Mike Myers to not be able to do his comedic Scottish jabs! I don’t want to censor Chris Rock or Carlos Mencia (awesome stand- up!) about generic “cracker” jokes. Unfortunately, it is a one way street called PC Avenue (or should it be street or boulevard?- Idon’t want to offend!) that has become the censor police.

      Hispanics are not a minority in Mexico where “gringo” jokes run rampant on T.V. And you know, if ithe ad and its point is in good taste, as the Orbitz ad, humor rules out and we should all enjoy it. I’m sure that Carlos Mencia, George Lopez, and John Leguizamo are not offended by this ad. But again, to be PC myself, I do not speak for them nor their views, comments, or religious or political affiliation (!)…

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      1. Brian’s avatar

        P.S. (not PC): Since the revision, this commercial is dead to me now! It totally lost its charm and meaning to the “ez-ez” to “Orbitz” that GROG from above pointed out.

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      2. Corey C’s avatar

        Did anybody happen to notice that the “Hernandezes-es” look as anglo as they can possibly be! I’m surprised THAT wasn’t an issue with the letter writers. “You can’t call them the hernandezeses if they’re white! You HAVE to have a latino couple.”

        It’s a real shame, White people can’t say anything funny anymore. Chris Rock can say whatever he wants about whoever he wants. Watch his shows, funny yes but he is extremely rascist. but the producers don’t edit his shows. They don’t even edit his kids show “everybody hates chris”. Have you seen this show?

        I saw an episode just three days ago in which, regarding the white hall-monitor at school, Chris Rock says “they’re kinda like the police, but they can’t arrest you. But if you’re black, they can shoot you.” This is a KIDS SHOW! This is what are kids are learning. little white kids learn that black people are shot by the police just for being black. little black kids learn the same thing. how does this help race relations at all?

        Is Chris Rock part of the solution? Just because he is outspoken? Does that make him brave? No.
        Chris Rock and others are just perpetuating the stereotypes, they get a lot of press.
        Millions of others are challenging the stereotypes, they are ignored.

        In short, This Orbitz commercial and its little jab at people who have a hard time pluralizing words that are already plural is the least of our worries.
        Moreover it is a token of action, not real action.

        Orbitz (or the networks?) bowed down to the cry-baby PC crowd on this but they refuse to do anything about “Everybody Hates Chris” “The Bernie Mac Show” and other programs that really offend, and really teach our young people about ignorant stereotypes.

        Orbitz should not have given in.

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        1. Mo’s avatar

          Hate to break it to you but Everybody Hates Chris is not a kids show. It comes on after 7pm. It’s as much a kids show as Chuck, Lost, or House.

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        2. Brett’s avatar

          I think that people missed the point that this commercial was not racially insensitive. It was ONE name. Not every name of Latin decent has “es” or “ez” at the end. Did the “National Society of People Named Hernandez” hold a press conference, in protest? My grammatically awkward speaking apologies to the “NSPNH’s”! That’s kind of hard to pronounce too! Well looks like you can’t win. THAT COMMERCIAL WAS FUNNY. If you don’t want to offend anyone, just have text and audio that states; “We can get you discounts on vacation stuff” see how well that surges business. Note: Be careful it’s going to be difficult to have no accent, as all regions speak differently! Second thought, don’t air the commercial at all. Just shut down the company and everyone will be happy. This is the most time I’ve ever spent on something like this. SICK OF IT. I’m going to watch CNN now and see how our light skinned president is trying break down barriers. Peace all.

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        3. tom’s avatar

          advertisers..es..es should only make fun of white people like me, then nobody would give notice, even though white people are probably the true minority of the world.

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        4. Russell Wodehouse’s avatar

          I agree. I was pissed that they changed it. Now it’s just stupid…. It’s time for the pc pendulum to start swinging the other way… This is ridiculous.

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        5. tom stahl’s avatar

          Man what is this world….COUNTRY….coming to??? It’s a damn commercial!! and it’s not making light of anyones heritage…if they did change it to the Jameseses, there would not have been a word said…
          WTF!!!!!!

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        6. Charles Soto’s avatar

          the funny part about this is.. the only people saying that the commercial was funny and posting about it.. are white.. unlike myself. i’m a hispanic person.. i thought it was funny.. yet a little discriminatory at the same time.. but then again. what isn’t now a days. people need to get over this whole it’s not PC to ad extra es es es.. when no one is crying when you have blacks in KFC commercial. so lets ease up on orbitz.. i think they should re-air that commercial.. thats my opinion..

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          1. Cmm’s avatar

            charles im hispanic. i thought it was funny, and most of all innocuous. you are doing everyone a disservice y saying it was discriminatory, but most of all you’re doing a disservice to hispanics…this type of stuff makes us look like uptight humourless kids who don’t ‘get it.’

            how was it a discriminatory ad? MINORITIES ON TV ARE NOT REFERENDUM ON A WHOLE RACE/ETHNICITY. ESPECIALLY WHEN RACIAL STEREOTYPES WHERE NOT BROACHED (and frankly even if they were, who cares. many stem from truths. Guess what? I dance well and like spicy food! Diiiiiios mio!)

            Lighten up.

            Y dejame averiguar? Naciste en EEUU? Usualmente los que mas pitean sobre estos asuntos son los que tienen las menos raises al pais latinoamericano. tratando de comprobar halgo?

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          2. Turdbrain’s avatar

            I kept seeing this commercial and I couldn’t figure out if I was hearing it correctly, “did he say Hernandez-ez-ez?” I would think to myself when I saw the commercial. Then I focused really hard the next time it came on and I decided yep he did say Hernandez-ez-ez and it didn’t bug me anymore. I laughed at the douche-bag valet trying to drive that hovercraft more than the name thing anyway. But then I started hearing it again and it sounded NORMAL and I was like “whaaaaaaaaa?” It made my obsessive-compulsive disorder kick in full blast until I had to Google it to be sure I hadn’t gone wacktarded. Well, I feel like weenie for having to look up this crap and write about it, but I would REALLY feel like a weenie if I was the person who felt it was my douche-duty to complain to Orbitz about Hernandezez-ez-ez. Christ.

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          3. Steve S’s avatar

            What’s even more sickening than the wussification of America? The jigganization of America. When did we lose our sense of integrity and dignity? I don’t know when it happened, but it’s gone? We’d better man up and wake up, because our society is mostly beyond repair.

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          4. Carlos’s avatar

            My last name IS Hernandez, and I laughed hilariously at the original version; and was annoyed at the new version. I would never have noticed the commercial otherwise, I can’t tell you anything else about it, except that it’s Orbitz. Which is the point from a Marketing perspective.

            The original was not in the least bit offense to me. It was funny because it is the reality when you get the intersection of two languages, A Spanish surname pluralized in English. On the other hand, based on the comments on the internet, the marketers may have changed it to create the controversy and keep the commercial alive!

            Carlos

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            1. Carlos’s avatar

              OH, and to the comments on the “white” Hernandez, the man looks about as Hispanic as me. My wife is white and has blonde hair and blue eyes, shockingly she doesn’t look hispanic either!

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              1. amy’s avatar

                loved the original. Hated the revision. I just like funny shit and loved the off beatness of the original…

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              2. GTRMAN’s avatar

                THANKS CARLOS FOR YOUR COMMENT…..NOW, WHAT ABOUT THAT SEINFELD EPISODE WHERE ELAINE IS HAVING TROUBLE WITH OUR FORMER FIRST LADY’S GREEK LAST NAME? JACKIE ONASISISISISIS.

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              3. GMAN’s avatar

                As the original commentator stated, it was already a fairly bland and boring commercial, and I don’t think the one subtle but humorous detail came close to saving it. Orbitz is a weak company with mediocre branding and ineffective management.

                Reply

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