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Posts Tagged ‘olympics’

Ebaby! Teachers at the 2012 London Olympics

Friday, August 10th, 2012

The 2012 London Olympic Games are almost over. It’s been an especially exciting Olympics for us at English, baby! because although we weren’t there as we were in Beijing and Vancouver, many of our guest English teachers were competing.

We were especially happy to see Karina LeBlanc, and the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team win bronze today. We were, of course, thrilled that our own American team won the gold, but it was bittersweet because our friend Ali Krieger did not participate due to injury.

One of our first celebrity English lessons ever was with French basketball player Nicolas Batum. He’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, but you wouldn’t know it from the punch he gave Juan Carlos Navarro of Spain. It’s great to see him being aggressive and passionate, but it’s a shame that this punch is probably what he is best known for now. Navarro’s squad, along with our friend Sergio Rodriguez, is heading to the semi-finals tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we’ve been back here in the States making sure all of our members around the world had plenty of Olympics-related English lesson topics to study these last couple of weeks. We featured lessons about the host city, competitiveness, underdogs, the 2012 Olympics in general, and helpful Olympic idioms like go for it and catch up.

Image: Karina LeBlanc celebrates with teammate Sophie Schmidt after winning the women’s bronze medal soccer match. By Paul Hackett of Reuters.

Gold Medal English Lessons with Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Olympic gold medalists Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue on English, baby!

Just when we thought interviewing the Chinese snowboarding team was as good as it could get for us during our visit to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics to help our members learn English, we got an incredible opportunity. A few days after winning the gold medal in pairs figure skating, Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo met with English, baby! outside the skating practice facility in Vancouver.

This couple is one of the best stories of the Olympics. After skating together for more than 17 years, Zhao Hongbo proposed to Shen Xue on the ice in 2007. This year, the pair came out of retirement to try for Olympic gold, the only championship they had not yet claimed, and in Vancouver, their dreams came true.

Our dreams came true when Honbgo agreed to lift Xue for us in this lesson on the term “lift.”

After we got to know each other a bit, we asked Hongbo and Xue to do another lesson on the phrase “head over heels.” You can really see how warm these athletes are in this rare look at their personal side. This video was an immediate hit in China. It got more than 50,000 views in the first weekend on this Chinese video site without us promoting it at all!

As far as we know, this was the only English interview Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue gave while in Canada. We are so honored to have been able to participate in a little bit of their gold medal moment.

Speaking English with Sun Zhifeng, Cai Xuetong and Liu Jiayu (孙志峰、蔡雪彤、刘佳宇)

Friday, February 19th, 2010

china still 6

If it weren’t for the cameras, you wouldn’t have known they were Olympic athletes. At the airport, the Chinese snowboarding team just looked like a bunch of kids arriving in Vancouver to head up to the mountain.

Two media outlets were there to capture the arrival of the greatest foreign threat to a sport dominated by Americans, CCTV–the NBC of China–and English, baby!

CCTV’s coverage aired that night. The story took the angle that the athletes’ first challenge in Canada was to use their English skills with the media.

The athletes acted like seasoned, secretive stars and didn’t give any in-depth responses to questions from the CCTV reporter. Luckily, we weren’t looking for anything in-depth from them, we were just hoping to have fun making a couple of English lessons. Take a look at our first video with Liu Jiayu(刘佳宇), Sun Zhifeng(孙志峰), and Cai Xuetong(蔡雪彤), a lesson on the phrase “drop in.”

The finals for women’s half pipe are just about to start and we are excited to see how Liu Jiayu and Sun Zhifeng, who made it through the preliminary rounds will do!

Vancouver or bust!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

In just a few hours we are heading to Vancouver to make English lesson videos at the 2010 Winter Olympics. In honor of our departure, take a look at our Olympic preview lesson on “go for the gold.” We are seriously aiming high. There should be some major adventures on this trip. Get ready to be surprised over the next two weeks.

It’s not often you get to go to the Olympics by car. Driving to the Olympics is going to be really fun! We’re lucky to have them so close to us, just a half-day’s drive away.

Here’s a little English lesson. When you’re getting ready to travel somewhere, you can announce the place you’re going and say “or bust” afterward. This means, “We’re going to get there no matter what!” or “We’ll get there or die trying!” Sometimes in the US you’ll see cars with things like “Las Vegas or Bust!” written on the windows. You know the people inside are on a fun road trip if you see that.

But after watching our Olympic preview video, you’ll know Jason isn’t joking around when he says “Vancouver or bust!” He has a serious mission up there. Wish him luck, and get ready to learn a lot of English on the journey!

Ebaby! in Successful Promotions Magazine

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The April issue of Successful Promotions not only features Miley Cryus on the cover, it also has a five page story on viral marketing dos and don’ts by Kenneth Hein, a managing editor at AdweekMedia. The article outlines lessons that can be learned from the elven efforts of OfficeMax, a Carl’s Jr. mobile campain launched at a Lakers game, as well as anecdotes about 7-Eleven, Burger King, Axe, and a company you might have heard of called English, baby!

Kenneth tells the tale of our bonus guerrilla marketing sucess at the Beijing Olympics (we thought we were just making videos for marking later–turned out we were marking on the ground as well). Take a look at the portion of the article that’s about us here and the whole thing here. We’re really happy to have been included with such good company in such a good story.

Guerrilla Marketing in China

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

America is tired of marketing. It’s hard to get people to take free things or fliers because they’re tired of all the clutter. Not so in China.

While in Beijing, we were giving away little rubber wrist bands with the company logo, and instead of being annoyed like they are in the US, people were grateful, and a crowd gathered to take them from us. When we begin to run out, people actually offered to buy them from us.

The English, baby! team went to Beijing to make videos for our site. But we inadvertently learned that China is a guerrilla marketer’s dream.

In addition to the wrist band incident, any time we began filming, a huge crowd would gather, even if we were just interviewing people with a microphone. I was constantly stopped and asked for photos just because I had a blue bike and blue t-shirt and blue eyes. The beginning of one of these clusters is documented above.

The strangest thing was that we didn’t see anyone else doing any guerrilla marketing, yet we weren’t even trying and people were being so receptive. It was and interesting surprise and very fun and refreshing. Although I admit that I had a strange feeling that I was a sham and had simply been mistaken for someone else–that someone would run up and shout, “He’s not Phelps!” and the crowd would turn on me. But that never happened. If you see a photo of me with a Chinese person on a random MySpace or hi5 page, let me know!

Olympic Recap

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Well, the Olympics are over and the Ebaby! team is back in the USA. But what a trip they had! Take a look at the English, baby! Olympics page for the videos.

While he was over in China, Jason Simms sent emails about his adventures to our friends at Willamette Week, a Portland newspaper. The posts are behind the scenes and totally honest, since they’re for our hometown audience instead of our users. They make a good compliment to the official Ebaby! Olympic material. Here’s a quick breakdown of the six entries.

Opening Ceremony: “Everything is closed off for miles around the stadium. So we got as close as we could in a huge group of people up against a barricade in a park. It reminded me a scene in a zombie movie.”

Photo Ops: “I didn’t really know what was going on when the first person asked to take a photo with me—I thought vainly that I had been recognized from the website—but when a crowd gathered and we had to flee, I realized there had been a mistake.”

Ping Pong: “After being thwarted several times by the ubiquitous Olympic volunteers, we managed to reach the front row. There we discovered that we were sitting among the tennis coaching squad, who explained how the game works.”

Scalping: “He told me he’d rather just eat the ticket than give me a deal like that because it drives up the prices. He also wouldn’t let me film him. I wonder what the penalty for scalping in China is.”

Behind the Balls: “I talked to Superman of the Metal Balls and found out that he doesn’t even take tips—this is just his way of being a part of the Olympic spirit. It’s his dream to challenge an official Olympic athlete. The gold we awarded him was his first.”

Closing Thoughts: “I felt much more comfortable filming impromptu sports and interviews in Beijing than I do in Portland. Many people in the US seem to have a strange bias against cameras. They see a video camera and assume you’re doing something sinister. In Beijing, people pretty much always had a positive reaction to seeing a camera in a restaurant or on the street or in a market.”

The Biggest Day for Beijing

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

I’ve never been at the center of the world like this before. Today is the day. The date on this post reads August 7th, but here in Bejing, it’s already August 8, the biggest day of the century for Beijing. The opening ceremony of the Olympic games begins in a few hours and two-thirds of the world will be watching.

But here in Qianmao hutong, it feels like any other day. The locals are cooking food and walking down the street. But a few miles away there are thousands of people standing on the street where the Chinese Olympic team will drive later today. They don’t know when it will come by, but they are willing to wait as long as it takes.

Captain Jeff and I have posted blogs about our arrival on the official Olympic page. Here are a few photos of our trip so far. John and Jeff enjoying the first beers of the trip:

Captain Jeff with some other Captains:

Captain Jeff cooling down:

Our Hutong:

Olympic Bloggings

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

In case you haven’t heard, English, baby! is fielding an Olympic team this year. We’re a band of rag tag underdogs that’s sure to win some hearts, if not any metals.

We’ve begun to order stuff for our trip like the special Ebaby! stop watch and sweatbands pictured to your left. I’ll be modeling shorts for you here by the end of the week.

Check out our official Olympics page or the press release about our trip. Also, each member of the Ebaby! team is keeping a profile blog about the upcoming competition. So take a look at Captain Jeff’s, John’s or mine.

English, baby! in Portland Tribune

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Coverage of the Olympics this year seems to be divided into two categories. There’s news about the athletes, which is, of course, generally up beat. And then there’s news about the Olympics overall and China, which has been largely skeptical and often negative.

But, as we’ve been planning our trip to the Olympics, I keep thinking about the games are still an international gathering representative of a lot of what English, baby! stands for. Luckily, Mariah Summers at the Portland Tribune agrees. She wrote an article that came out today about our trip. She did a great job of capturing the spirit of the trip and the nature of the website.

When she was interviewing John, she mentioned trying to find other Portland-based companies sending people to Beijing. I wonder how many American companies that aren’t traditional media outlets are going to the games. I’m sure our team would love to compare notes with them.