funny-french-commercials

Laughter is the Best Teaching Assistant: 10 Funny French Commercials for the Classroom

Humor can be hard to teach.

What one culture finds hilarious might seem totally baffling to foreigners.

French humor is certainly no exception. It can be quite sarcastic, broad and of course draws on cultural references that non-native speakers might miss.

So how can you pass on this essential cultural knowledge to your students without running way over your class time?

Funny French commercials are the perfect tool.

Short and sweet, these videos are easy to incorporate into your lesson plan. Since they’re usually intended to reach a wide audience within France, they’re excellent distillations of everyday culture and often use digestible but memorable language.

In this post, we’ll show you 10 of the funniest French commercials that you can use to teach French humor, culture and language.
 


 

10 Funny French Commercials to Help You Teach Culture and Language

As you’ll see below, this list includes a range of ads that are useful for beginner to intermediate students. Some come with English subtitles as well.

Just be aware that French humor can tend towards the raunchy! We’ve added indications when certain ads may be more appropriate for your emotionally mature adult students, as opposed to the younger ones.

If you want a surefire source of videos that work for your classroom, FluentU is a helpful tool. FluentU provides authentic French videos, like commercials as well as TV clips, movie trailers, news broadcasts and more, that’ve been transformed into language learning experiences for your students.

The videos are organized by genre and learning level so it’s easy to find something that works for your classroom. As students watch, they can click through the interactive captions for an instant definition, visual learning aid and native pronunciation of any unfamiliar word. You’ll be able to track their progress, assign videos and more all from the FluentU platform.

If you enjoy the commercials below, keep the fun French lessons going for free with a FluentU trial.

Learn a foreign language with videos

Oreo

Perfect for… beginner and intermediate students of any age

This heartwarming ad features a little girl teaching her father the proper way to eat an Oreo. It’s a great way to start a lesson about giving instructions and the imperative mood.

Start your class with this video and use it as a jumping off point to launch into one of these interactive activities using the imperative. (They’re designed for independent learners but can easily be adapted for in-class work or homework.)

Maurice A Encore Bouffé Tous les ChocoSui’s (Maurice Ate All the ChocoSui’s Again)

Perfect for… intermediate students of any age

This ad is one of a series where a little boy blames the goldfish, Maurice, for his poor behavior. It’s quite visual and easy to understand, especially if you use it as a jumping-off point for a discussion of slang and register. Bouffer, for example, is the slang term for manger (to eat).

Je Veux Les Bonbons (I Want Those Sweets)

Perfect for… adult students who are French language beginners

This ad relies on a chute, a typical tool used for surprise endings in short stories. The ad begins with a father and son standing off in a supermarket over the purchase of a bag of candy.

When the father takes the bag out of the supermarket caddy for what feels like the millionth time, the child throws an explosive temper tantrum. The ending fades to a simple ad for condoms.

This ad is the perfect way to explore the idea of French “second degree” humor. French people are famous for their use of sarcasm to get a laugh out of someone, and this ad does just that (with relatively few words).

Ma Maman M’a Dit Que Je Peux (My Mom Said I Could)

Perfect for… adult students who are French language beginners

This ad, similar to the above, follows a young child as he does a series of increasingly preposterous things, justifying his actions by saying, “Ma maman m’a dit que je peux.” (“My mom said I could.”)

In the chute, it’s revealed that the mother in question has been calling out, “Oui!” (“Yes!”) for an entirely different reason (the ad is for ribbed condoms).

While this ad is as excellent as the one above for exploring second degree humor, we actually like it for another reason: it’s a great way to delve into the natural rhythm of spoken French, specifically the way that the child elides que je peux into a single word, with the “e” sounds in que and je being reduced to schwas.

L’Amour (Love)

Perfect for… all students

This beautiful ad from Intermarché supermarket actually doesn’t feature any spoken words… which makes it one of our favorite ads to use in any level of French class. Instead of language, this ad is the perfect way to talk about culture: namely, the culture of food.

In France, food is an essential element of culture, and this ad can be a great way to introduce that importance to your students to start off a lesson featuring any of the following:

  • Food-related vocabulary
  • A writing exercise about the importance of food and culture
  • A dialogue exercise where students imagine “what happens next,” namely, how the two protagonists of the ad spend their first date (cooking, perhaps?).

Monoprix Film

Perfect for… advanced students of any age

This ad is for the store Monoprix, but it goes to a whole different level when it comes to language. This cute romance between two students is told entirely via the jeux de mots (play on words — literally “word games”) that are printed on the front of Monoprix store brand items’ packaging.

Since jeux de mots are an extremely common element of French humor, this video is sure to be useful for your advanced students.

You can use the ad as a way to introduce jeux de mots, following it with a comprehensive lesson on French wordplay (here are some worksheets and other lesson ideas you can use as a jumping off point.)

As an added bonus, this version of the ad has English subtitles, which have endeavored to translate the word games. This could be a great conversation starter with your class, to see if they feel the translations are accurate or successful!

Café Grand’Mère (Grandmother Coffee)

Perfect for… all students

This ad delves into the French concept of an afternoon coffee and could be a great way to broach certain French culture topics. In the ad, a son goes to his mother’s house for afternoon coffee. She’s serving the Grand’Mère (or grand-mère — grandmother) brand, so the son uses this as a way to let her know she’s going to be a grandmother.

This could also be a great tool in discussing French meal times or French daily life.

C’est Ta Mère (It’s Your Mom)

Perfect for… all students

This funny ad offers an interesting glimpse at how the French view American movies and culture.

The commercial, which is advertising cough medicine, plays on the typical scary movie stunt where the serial killer calls the main character with a creepy voice. However, in this ad, the hoarse voice on the phone turns out to be main character’s mother, who has a cold.

Camembert

Perfect for… all students

This ad for one of France’s favorite cheeses is the perfect way to teach idioms, such as Je mange mon chapeau (I [will] eat my hat). Use this video as an introduction to a more complete lesson on idiomatic expressions in French.

C’est bon mais c’est chaud (It’s Good but It’s Hot)

Perfect for… all students

This ad, like Ma maman m’a dit que je peux, offers an interesting demonstration of the linguistic rhythm in French. But it’s also a great way to look into what ads have become emblematic in French culture.

Like the “wazzaaaaaaap” clip that became part of the American lexicon in the early 2000s, “C’est bon mais c’est chaud” (“It’s good but it’s hot”) has become an oddly endearing catchphrase among the French.

 

Showing students ads on their own is certainly fun, but the lesson doesn’t stop there! Using these quick, funny videos to launch a deeper, more extensive lesson is the ideal way to combine fun and learning. Your students will thank you for it!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to teach French with real-world videos.

Bring French immersion to your classroom!

Comments are closed.