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Since I’ve been talking about mistake made in cross-cultural advertising, in this post, I will provide few examples of errors made by multinational corporations when advertising their brand abroad. Should be pretty interesting to read.

– When Kentucky Fried Chicken opened its store in China, they’re famous slogan of “finger lickin’ good” was translated into “eat your fingers off”

– In Italy, the name “Schweppes Tonic Water” was translated into “Schweppes Toilet Water”

– People in China took Pepsi’s slogan “Pepsi Brings you Back to Life” more literally than they intended, which translated into “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave”

– When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in Spain, “nova” apparently meant “it won’t go” which resulted in the low sales outcome

– Ford made a similar mistake when they launched Pinto in Brazil. “Pinto” is Brazilian slang for “tiny male genitals”

– In an advertisement for a pen by Parker Pen a pen, the tagline was supposed to say “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” However, the company mistakenly thought the Spanish word “embarazar” meant embarrass, so instead the ads said “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

– 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 it was read as “Suffer From Diarrhea”

– 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)

These examples were taken from ‘Some Humorous Cross-Cultural Advertising Gaffes‘. If you want to see more, just click this link and it will bring you directly to the website.


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