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Christmas Gift Guide
Culture

The Polish Christmas ad that's making YouTube weep buckets

Commentary: From a little-known auction site comes a tale of a grandpa and his attempts to learn English.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Yes, he's socializing with his rubber duck.

CNET (video screenshot)

There are certain things you learn when, as I did, you grow up in a Polish household.

One is that it's compulsory to kiss other men on the cheek. Both cheeks, in fact. Another is that if you don't drink vodka, you're an imposter. The biggest, though, is that crying is a fundamental and necessary expression of what it is to be alive.

And so it is that, at the end of a year in which many people in the world have wanted to weep many times, a Polish ad has made YouTube weep uncontrollably.

It's for a little-known auction site called Allegro and it features an old man trying to fill a hole in his life. He needs to learn English.

It's not easy for a Pole to learn English. Polish, though it looks intimidating, is actually a very consistent language. English is even less consistent than Donald Trump's Twitter feed.

So here is the tale of an older Polish gent learning English word after infuriating word. For most of the ad we don't know why he needs to do this. All we know is that, like many Poles, he's committed. Even his dog realizes this.

He's ordered his "English for Beginners" and he's going to speak English everywhere, thanks to the miracle of books and headphones.

With ads such as these, there's often a killer scene. For many, the standout here might be the one in which our protagonist is taking a bath and regaling his rubber duckie with some very special newly acquired vocabulary.

I won't reveal the ending. Suffice to say that the tagline says, "And you? What are you looking for?" and the clip has been cleaning up on YouTube. Almost 3 million people have already bathed in it. Even the YouTube comments section, normally a cesspool of miserable filth, contains sentiments such as this from one Brokendoll, "This was the purest thing i have ever seen, good job Poland."

And this from an Ardani: "my gosh... that was a beautiful ad.. i got tears in my eyes."

The creators of the ad confessed to their tears too. In a Facebook post, they wrote: "The copywriter cried as he created it, the client cried when they approved it, the producer cried when they produced it, the director cried when he directed it, the editor cried when he edited it and now it's the internet's turn."

I know that many of my Polish friends haven't wept this much since Poles elected their current government.

Please feel free to sniffle. It's what Christmas is for. Polish Christmas, that is.