This chocolate wrapper turned up in my child’s trick-or-treat bag and now we don’t know which language Prestÿ is! Anyone out there who can help?
One dad in our trick-or-treating party figured Prestÿ was German: “Don’t you guys put umlauts on everything?” “No.” I figured it was Turkish but am told that a y with umlaut does not exist in Turkish, either. At least, Turkish is an educated guess seeing that the wrapper also has “Sütlü Çikolata” written on it. “Sütlü Çikolata” is Turkish for “Milk Chocolate” – the other bit of language on the wrapper I recognize.
Further clues: The candy was found in a trick-or-treat bag in Abu Dhabi and so can be presumed to have been purchased in the UAE although there is no Arabic writing on the wrapper. There is no country-of-origin information on the wrapper, either, although there is some illegible small print under something that looks like “asas” and which might conceivably contain statutory information if it were not too small to be legible. Googling “Elvan chocolates” produces a further Turkish connection: Elvan is the name of an Istanbul-based company producing chocolates and pastries for “more than 70 countries over 6 continents.”
Of course, it doesn’t really matter whether Prestÿ “exists” in any real language – as long as people associate it with a particular language and transfer the associations they have with that language onto the product, Prestÿ is doing its job. Along the lines “I suppose Prestÿ is German for ‘prestige’ so the qualities of German must apply to the chocolate, too.” Mostly, German is associated with cars and technology, though, where it tends to be used to connote high quality. I know because I’ve written a few research papers on the iconic use of foreign languages in advertising and if you want to follow up on multilingualism in advertising, you can find some of my research papers in our resources section.
More likely, Prestÿ is just supposed to be “general European” and supposed to connote the sophistication of European chocolate and cuisine. There’s a lot of multilingual meaning-making on this humble little piece of junk and I would love to hear your interpretations!