Caturday felid: Les chatons Telecom

Multiple readers drew my attention to this French ad featuring kittens.  In French, a cat is a “chat,” a female cat is a “chatte,” a tomcat is a “matou,” and a kitten is a “chaton.”

Here we have a bunch of chatons advertising a French telecommunications service.

I asked Matthew Cobb, who’s fluent in French, to provide a brief translation. Here’s his take:

It’s just going on about how good Bouygues Telecom is, with occasional poor puns and silly kitten voices making noises. If you really want to know:

Scene 1 – News about the first ‘chastronaute’ (NB in French it should be cosmonaute, not astronaute). Man says: At BT, we know you like it when we reply quickly to the telephone and sort your problems in the blink of an eye

Scene 2 – We know you like being advised about your choice of digital TV box and smartphone

Scene 3 – We know you like watching HD TV

Scene 4- We know you like phoning anywhere in France and on the other side of the world (NY taxis)

Scene 5- Because we know that you are xxx thousands to join us each day (or something)

Scene 6- And it’s because at BT we know that you like internet films with little kittens in them that we decided to make this film on internet with little kittens in it

7) Jerry, I have lost the will to live. More BT boasting.


  1. Posted September 10, 2011 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Awesome reportage and translation! Meow! MIAOW!

    • Posted September 10, 2011 at 5:16 am | Permalink

      Sorry, that should surely be LE MIAOW!

  2. Marella
    Posted September 10, 2011 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Well it’s certainly not up to the standard of the Japanese cat adverts but the kittehs are cute anyway. Thx for the translation, Matthew.

  3. Posted September 10, 2011 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    The absurdity of the scaled-down equipment & furnishings ~ love it

    What I spotted:

    0:06 TV News scrolling ticker text: MEOW MEOW MEOW
    0:10 Carton of Lait, whiskered computer mouse, Catman book
    0:17 (phone shop) Tablet with fish game
    0:19 (apartment) Safari ‘Mouseskin’ draped on floor + two other mouse ornaments + fish tank
    0:26 (NYC) Milk Way Building, Cat Sq – 42nd Street Station
    0.28 (NYC taxi) Ball of wool hanging from rearview, Slim Kitty ads on roof, Cat head door logo. Why did the taxi crash ?
    0:32 (boardroom) Tiny bottles of milk, cat head pie chart on wall
    0:35 (boardroom) Fish doodle
    0:39 (refreshment area) Milk cooler & cat treats dispenser
    0:48 (toilets) The male/female door symbols have got tails. What is the kitten saying as he exits the male toilet ?

    “Ceiling cat is in the details” Ludwig Mice van der Rohe

  4. rmw
    Posted September 10, 2011 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Jerry, thanks for the kitteh posts. They provide a welcome respite from things like Rick Perry, creationists, and personhood amendments.

  5. Lawrence S. Lerner
    Posted September 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I learned something from the commercial: the French for smart phone is smart phone. The Académie will simply hate that!

  6. Bea
    Posted September 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I have experienced a number of posts in this blog which represent the torture our dearly admired author endures; however, what Matthew went through to translate surely must place towards the top of the torture-duty list. Thank you both for your sacrifice of sanity so that we may be enlightened!

  7. Posted September 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    @ Michael Fisher: “0:48 (toilets) … What is the kitten saying as he exits the male toilet ?”

    He says “OK, we’re good for the meeting.”

    Also, I note that at 0:53, the DJ is scratching.

  8. Posted September 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    @Matthew Cobb: No, “cosmonaute” is only for Russians, we use “astronaute” for everyone else.

    • Matthew Cobb
      Posted September 11, 2011 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      En effet. J’ai trop lu l’Huma dans ma jeunesse…

  9. Nyanko Sensei
    Posted September 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the translations, Matthew and Sophie!

    “Jerry, I have lost the will to live”.
    Sorry that the cuteness overload caused an existential crisis. Hope that all is well now.

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