Allegro, the most popular online marketplace in Poland, gives us “English,” a holiday story about an elderly Pole who orders a complete “English for Beginners” set through the auction service.
Our elderly friend’s painstaking progress is both steadfast and touching. He places Post-its on everything—even his dog—and practices his English at every opportunity, an act that feels all the more courageous because of his solitude. This is someone who’s been alone a long time.
The funniest scenes highlight this fact, like the moment he stiltedly intones, “Can you show me the way to the beach?” while giggling kids poke their heads through the window. He shouts “I love you! You are perfect!” on the bus, and repeats a phrase from a particularly violent movie to his rubber duckie.
What’s he doing all this for?
At story’s end, he makes another online order—for a “suitcase” (gleefully expressed). Leg trembling, he runs his last practice rounds while in transit, like a student counting the last minutes before a life-defining test. Then he lands in Argentina, where we meet his son, daughter-in-law and—the reason for all this—a granddaughter who’s never met him.
Created by agency Bardzo in Warsaw, “English” isn’t just a holiday story. It’s about young people leaving home for faraway lands, and the world growing smaller and more intimate, the fruit of diverse families. It’s about the role English plays in unifying cultures whose differences in language may feel insurmountable.
It’s also about how difficult it can be for older generations, cozy and secure in their bubbles, to breach that divide—how much work and quiet dedication it takes, and how rewarding it is when they make it.
The ad concludes, in Polish, “And you? What are you looking for?”
This question resonates because of its scope. It can scale from the immediate and material, like a kit for learning English, to the profound: To connect with my granddaughter. To spend the holidays with people I love, without losing too much in translation.
We often mistake the material for the end goal. Here we see that the many orders that zip through Allegro (or any marketplace, really) are mostly just means to something more potent. Usually, it’s the hope of forging connections, creating constellations of warmth and familiarity in space that once seemed strange and distant.
It’s an endgame that’s perhaps more fulfilling than using the internet’s many powers to reinforce our own strongholds.
Agency: Bardzo, Warsaw, Poland
Creative Director: Hubert Stadnicki
Art Director: Wiktor Pietrzak
Copywriters: Ania Kowalczyk-Nowak, Hubert Stadnicki
Director: Jesper Ericstam
Director of Photography: Henrik Stenberg