13 June 2003

Who are the Ad Wizards who came up with this one?


This is taken from a weekly email I received from Graeme Newell. It usually contains the latest television job postings, tips for better promo writing, and whatnot. This section that I always gravitate toward are the humorous anecdotes/submissions sent in by fellow readers.

The following is no exception.
Poorly Translated Slogans
From "American Demographics" magazine:

Here's a look at how shrewd American business people translate their slogans into foreign languages:

-When Braniff translated a slogan touting its upholstery, "Fly in leather," it came out in Spanish as "Fly naked."

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

-Chicken magnate Frank Perdue's line, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," sounds much more interesting in Spanish: "It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate."

-When Vicks first introduced its cough drops on the German market, they were chagrined to learn that the German pronunciation of "v" is f - which in German is the guttural equivalent of "sexual penetration."

-Not to be outdone, Puffs tissues tried later to introduce its product, only to learn that "Puff" in German is a colloquial term for a whorehouse. The English weren't too fond of the name either, as it's a highly derogatory term for a non-heterosexual.

-The Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish speaking countries. "No va" means "it doesn't go" in Spanish.

-When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life" pretty literally.

-The slogan in Chinese really meant, "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back form the Grave."

-When Coca-Cola first shipped to China, they named the product something that when pronounced sounded like "Coca-Cola." The only problem was that the characters used meant "Bite the wax tadpole." They later changed to a set of characters that mean "Happiness in the mouth."

-A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that mist is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.

-When Gerber first started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as here in the U.S.A. - with the cute baby on the label. Later they found out that in Africa companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside since most people can't read.
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