In making reference earlier in the week to marketing disasters, I came across some famous campaign slogans and names that didn’t translate all that well to foreign markets. Check these out.
Chevy Nova did not sell well in South and Central America. “No va” means “it doesn’t go” in Spanish.
Coors had a translation problem with their “Turn It Loose” campaign. In Spanish it means “Suffer From Diarrhea”. Although that could just be truth in advertising.
The Spanish language was no friend to chicken czar Frank Perdue. His slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" translated to "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate."
More Spanish: When Parker Pen introduced a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." The ads really read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant!"
“Mist” is slang for “manure” in German. So Clairol’s “Mist Stick” didn’t have the desired effect.
In China, Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave”. And it’s refreshing!
Finally, this was my favorite: When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with that cute baby on the label. Trouble is, in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since many people can't read. Yum!!