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Botched ad campaigns

Hans Maurer - Fri May 14 00:37:10 1999

Botched ad campaigns

Sometimes advertisers get it all wrong. Here are some funny examples of
advertising campaigns that ended up being entirely inappropriate!

1. Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as
   "Suffer from diarrhea".

2. 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 a use
   for the "manure stick".
   [ die Leute in Southpark vielleicht schon ;-) ]

3. 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).

4. Pepsi's "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi
   brings your ancestors back from the grave", in Chinese.

5. 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.

6. 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 affectionate".

7. 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".

8. 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". OOPS!

Hans Maurer                                                hans@red.roses.de

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