How 2 Creatives Made It Easier for English Speakers to Pronounce São Paulo’s Street Names

Advancing tourist literacy in Brazil

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Worried about how you'll get around on your next trip to Brazil?

Seeing how much trouble tourists have pronouncing Portuguese street names—which is crucial even in major cities like São Paulo, where just 15 percent of taxi drivers understand English—a creative team from two separate agencies came up with "Universal Signs."

Isobar copywriter Mariana Albuquerque and Publicis art director Leandro Amaral affixed stickers to street signs indicating how to pronounce them, more or less phonetically. If you still aren't sure, you can scan the QR code to hear an automated voice do it.

The voice draws from Google Translate, which isn't great at capturing all the nuances of language. So the team "taught" the app to do it properly, by spelling the word in ways that force the automated voice to enunciate like a Brazilian. (Because how else are you ever going to learn how to say "Jabacoara"?)

The full explanatory video appears below.

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.