Bad Marketing Translations
The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign
"Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico.
It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish
translation read "Are you lactating?"
From Joke of the Day
Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish,
where it was read as "Suffer From Diarrhea."
Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the
following in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks
like an Electrolux."
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
When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they
used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling
baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa,
companies routinely put pictures on the labels of
what's inside, since many people can't read.
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).
Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated
into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave"
The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela,"
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 "kokou kole,"
translating into "happiness in the mouth."
When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather
first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its
"Fly In Leather" campaign literally, which meant "Fly Naked"
(vuela en cuero) in Spanish.
Lighter Side Archive