According to INC. Magazine, marketers around the world have a problem with translations. Here are some of the funniest marketing mistakes ever made.
When you are selling a product internationally, it’s always a good idea to check whether your name, logo, or tag line means something different in the regions where you’re expanding. Here are the 15 worst examples that neglected this crucial marketing step:
- KFC made Chinese consumers a bit apprehensive when “finger licking good” was translated as “eat your fingers off.”
- Pepsi’s slogan “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life” was debuted in China as “Pepsi Brings You Back from the Grave.”
- Braniff International translated a slogan touting its finely upholstered seats “Fly in Leather” into Spanish as “Fly Naked.”
- Clairol launched a curling iron called “Mist Stick” in Germany even though “mist” is German slang for manure.
- Coca-Cola‘s brand name, when first marketed in China, was sometimes translated as “Bite The Wax Tadpole.”
- Colgate launched toothpaste in France named “Cue” without realizing that it’s also the name of a French pornographic magazine.
- Coors translated its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, where it is a colloquial term for having diarrhea.
- Gerber marketed baby food in Africa with a cute baby on the label without knowing that, in Ethiopia, for example, products usually have pictures on the label of what’s inside since many consumers can’t read.
- Ikea products were marketed in Thailand with Swedish names that in the Thai language mean “sex” and “getting to third base.”
- Mercedes-Benz entered the Chinese market under the brand name “Bensi,” which means “rush to die.”
- Nike had to recall thousands of products when a decoration intended to resemble fire on the back of the shoes resembled the Arabic word for Allah.
- Paxam, an Iranian consumer goods company, markets laundry soap using the Farsi word for “snow,” resulting in packages labeled “Barf Soap.”
- Puffs marketed its tissues under that brand name in Germany even though “puff” is German slang for a brothel.
- The American Dairy Association replicated its “Got Milk?” campaign in Spanish-speaking countries where it was translated into “Are You Lactating?”