Marketing Screw Ups

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 German 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 U.S., 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 read.
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).
Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated into “Pepsi brings
your ancestors back from the grave” in Chinese.
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-kou-ko-le”
translating into “happiness in the mouth.”
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.”

Leave a Reply