Famous Marketing Screw Ups
1. Coors put its slogan "Turn it loose" into Spanish where it was read as "Suffer
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 stick.
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
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" (Spanish “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" [Danish = haletudse] or "female horse stuffed with wax",
depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a
phonetic equivalent to "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".