Top Ten Biggest International Marketing Mistakes of All Time
1. When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint 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
2. In Spain, when Coors Brewing Company put its slogan, “Turn it loose” into Spanish; it was read as “Suffer from diarrhea”.
3. When Braniff International Airways translated a slogan touting its upholstery, “Fly in leather”, it came out in Spanish as “Fly naked”.
4. When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life” pretty literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave.”
5. Chicken magnate Frank Perdue’s line, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” sounds much more interesting in Spanish: “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate.”
6. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”.
7. A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the “Mist Stick”, a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that mist is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.
8. The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, “Salem-Feeling Free”, was translated into the Japanese market as “When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty.”
9. PepsiCola lost it dominant market share to Coke in South East Asia when Pepsi changed the color of its vending machines and coolers from deep “Regal” blue to light “Ice” blue as Light blue is associated with death and mourning in SE Asia.
10. We can’t forget Chevrolet’s attempt to launch the Nova — Spanish translation, “Doesn’t Go” — in Mexico (turns out this one appears to be an urban legend and cannot be verified). Many sources on the internet allege this is untrue.