MARKETING TRANSLATION SCREWUPS!

Back to Fun page

These marketing misses are worth a read.

  1. Coors put its slogan "Turn it loose" into Spanish where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea"

  2. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.

  3. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not many people had use for the "Manure Stick".

  4. Baby food from America was marketed in Africa with the same packaging as in the US, a picture of a beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they learnt that in Africa companies put a picture of the contents on the label since most people can't read.

  5. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.

  6. An American T-shirt maker in Florida printed T-shirts for the Spanish market to promote the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa) the shirts read "I saw the potato" (la papa).

  7. In Taiwan, Pepsi's "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave" in Chinese.

  8. An advert for chicken "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate".

  9. The name for Coca-Cola in China was first read as "Ke-kou-ke-la" meaning "Bite the wax tadpole" or "Female horse stuffed with wax" depending on the diallect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find the phonetic equivalent "ko-kou-ko-le" which translated into "Happiness in the mouth".

  10. When Parker pen marketed a ball-point pen in mexico, its ads were supposed to have read "it won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you". Instead the company thought the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) means embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant".

  11. The Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" in Chinese came out as "eat your fingers off".

  12. The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem - Feeling Free" became "When smoking Salem, you feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty" when translated for the Japanese market.

  13. When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, they apparently didn't realise that "no va" means "it won't go". They renamed it Caribe for the Spanish market.

  14. Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped. They found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals". They changed the name to Corcel, which means horse.

  15. In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name to Scheppes Toilet Water.

  16. Japan's second largest tourist agency wondered why they received lots of requests for unusual sex tours. When they found out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company changed its name.


Back to Menu page