6 Ads That Lost In Translation

  1. 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?”
  2. Coors put its slogan, “Turn it loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as “Suffer from diarrhea.”
  3. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”
  4. 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.”
  5. 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).
  6. 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.”

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