"El Messy Look": Mock Spanish and Code-switching in AXE Commercial

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Axe's new commercial for their "Messy Look" hair styling cream is a perfect example of the ways in which Mock Spanish is still prevalent in our society in 2017. Jane Hill, the inventor of the term, states in "Language, Race, and White Public Space" that one practice of Mock Spanish is "taking elements of Spanish morphology" such as the suffix -o and using Spanish modifiers such as "el" to create "jocular and pejorative" terms. In Axe's commercial, the actor refers to the product as "El Messy Look". Then, while giving instructions on using the cream, he says "First-o, take a finger to the cream..." At the end of the commercial, after showing off his confidence and "cultural awareness", the actor mishears the female bartender who actually speaks Spanish when she asks him a question, showing his ignorance. However, the bartender smiles at him, further enforcing Hill's ideas about Mock Spanish directly indexing the speaker as having desirable qualities, while simultaneously indirectly indexing the idea that Spanish is somehow less valuable than English.

Posted by Laurel Nagengast on May 8, 2017

Tags:
Indexicality;
Power;
Code-switching;
Mock Spanish;
Race,Ethnicity;
whiteness

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