Top Ten Marketing Screw Ups

1. Coors put its slogan, “Turn it loose,” into Spanish, where it
was read as “Suffer from diarrhea.”

2. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the
following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an

3. 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.”

4. 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.

5. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the
name of a notorious porno magazine.

6. 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

7. Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated
into “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”, in

8. 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 affectionate.”

9. 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.”

10. 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.”

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