- Coors put its
slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it
was read as "Suffer from diarrhea".
- Clairol introduced
the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into German
only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure.
Not too many people had use for the "manure stick".
vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following
in an American campaign: Nothing sucks like an
- In Chinese, the
Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin'
good" came out as "eat your fingers off".
- The American
slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem -- Feeling
Free", was translated into the Japanese market
as "When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed
that your mind seems to be free and empty".
- When Gerber started
selling baby food in Africa, they used the same
packaging as in the US, with the beautiful Caucasian
baby on the label. Later they learned that in
Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the
label of what's inside, since most people can't
- Colgate introduced
a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of
a notorious porno magazine.
- An American T-shirt
maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish
market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead
of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read
"I saw the potato" (la papa).
- In Italy, a campaign
for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name
into "Schweppes Toilet Water".
- Pepsi's "Come
alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into
"Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave",
- We all know about
GM's Chevy Nova meaning "it won't go" in Spanish
markets, but did you know that Ford had a similar
problem in Brazil with the Pinto? Pinto was Brazilian
slang for "tiny male genitals". Ford renamed the
automobile Corcel, meaning "horse".
- Hunt-Wesson introduced
Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos.
Later they found out that in slang it means "big
- Frank Perdue's
chicken slogan, "it takes a strong man to make
a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish
as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken
- 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 that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate)
meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't
leak in your pocket and make you pregnant".
- The Coca-Cola
name in China was first read as "Ke-kou-ke-la",
meaning "Bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse
stuffed with wax", depending on the dialect. Coke
then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic
equivalent "ko-ou- ko-le", translating into "happiness
in the mouth".
- A few years ago,
in the American Midwest, some people decided to
show off their new "real" Mexican restaurant,
named Chi-chi's to some visiting Californians.
Upon seeing the name on the marquis, the Californians
started to laugh. When asked why they were laughing,
they explained that in Mexican Spanish, "chi-chi's"
literally means "titties."