Lost in translation….
Working on an article around the perils of facebook and stumbled across these. Whether they are true or not, they made me smile!
To illustrate just how incredibly bad copy can go when meaning is ignored, here are some astonishing examples from the world of advertising:
Coors decided to use its slogan, “Turn it loose,” in Spanish advertisements. Unfortunately, it translated as “Suffer from diarrhea.” Beer sales went down the crapper.
Clairol introduced a new curling iron called the “Mist Stick.” But when they brought the product to the German market, they discovered that “mist” is slang for manure. Apparently, few German consumers had use for a “manure stick.”
When the Pope announced a visit to the U.S., an American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for Spanish-speaking residents. The shirt was supposed to read “Vi al Papa” (I saw the Pope) but instead read “Vi la papa” (I saw the potato). I like potatoes as much as the next guy, but I don’t wear shirts bragging about it.
Pepsi’s slogan used to be “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation.” It proved successful right up to the time when it entered the Chinese market, where it took a nasty left turn. In Chinese, the slogan meant, “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.” Yikes!
When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they decided to use the same packaging as they used in the US, with a beautiful, smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa illiteracy is high, so companies put pictures on the product labels to show what’s inside. “Baby food” took on a startling new meaning.
Frank Perdue revolutionized the chicken industry. However, his slogan, “It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken,” proved even more revolutionary when translated into Spanish as, “It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.” Uh. I have no further comment on that.
In China, Coca-Cola mystified the entire population when it announced “Ke-kou-ke-la,” meaning, “Bite the wax tadpole” or, depending on the dialect, “female horse stuffed with wax.” Perhaps that makes sense if you’re high.
When Parker Pen began selling ballpoint pens in Mexico, the ads were supposed to read, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” But a poor choice of words resulted in a benefit statement that proudly proclaimed, “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.” So that’s why people use pocket protectors!