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The Strategic Marketing Blog



July 12, 2010 by Strategic Marketing

Globalization pushes American brands into virtually every corner of the globe – McDonalds, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Nike, Starbucks, Disney, and Ford to name a few. Here at home, all of us can identify with these brands and as they are part of our culture. Advertising slogans and jingles used to promote these brands inevitably become ingrained inside of our heads and as much a part of our culture as the brands themselves. We all know the exact connotations of Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, I Wish I Were an Oscar Meyer Weiner, and the Energizer Bunny. But what happens when a brand is shipped across the seas to a foreign land and the advertising message gets lost in the translation? The following is a very funny list of blunders whose messages literally didn’t make it to their intended markets. Read on and enjoy:

1. Pepsi’s slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” translated in Taiwan to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.”

2. The Coca Cola company used Chinese characters to spell out the sounds Co Ca Co La. The characters in Chinese translated to “Bite the wax tadpole.”

3. Perdue’s chicken slogan, “it takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” appeared on billboards across Mexico in Spanish as “it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”

4. Parker Pen’s slogan “it won’t stain your pocket and embarrass you” came out as “it won’t stain your pocket and get you pregnant” in Spanish.

Bill Cosby Coke

Courtesy of Wikipedia

5. Chevrolet launched its Nova brand in Latin America but sadly the name in Spanish translates to “it won’t go.”

6. Clairol introduced a curling iron into Germany they named “Mist Stick,” to find that “mist” is slang for manure.

7. Coors used its slogan, “Turn it loose” in Spain, where it translated into “Suffer from diarrhea.”