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Great 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 Electrolux.
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
4. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the
same packaging as in the US, 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 papa).
7. Pepsi's "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation"
translated into "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the
grave", in Chinese.
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
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
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