Nothing Sucks Like An Electrolux
|The following are nominees for the Chevy Nova
Award, named in honor of the GM's fiasco in trying to market this car in Central and South
America "no va" means, of course, in Spanish, "it doesn't go!"
- The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign
"Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought
to their attention the Spanish translation read "Are you lactating?"
- 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
with a name that translated into "manure."
- When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used
the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned
that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since
many 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
"Kekoukela",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 "kokou kole", translating into "happiness in
- Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to
make tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to
make a chicken affectionate."
- 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."
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."
- When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather
first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its "Fly In Leather"
campaign literally, which meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.
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