Needless to say, ads are made to capture the market and attract buyers. There are many ads that impress and inspire. Catchy phrases and captions do the magic. Do you know there are ads that went weird when translated into other languages from its origin? Here are the 10 most bizarre ad campaigns that were translated badly!
Parker is a dominant brand of pens across the world. The brand’s famous slogan ‘it won’t leak in your pockets and embarrass you’ stands to endorse about its quality in every sense. But when the statement was translated into Spanish, it meant ‘it won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant’. Where in the brand of pens can a word stand to mean contraceptives? Then the change was made to make it sound in the right sense.
Ford launched a new brand of affordable cars named Pinto in 1971 so the majority of the people could buy it. It was successful in the United States but the sales scaled down in Brazil. The reason is, the word Pinto meant ‘small male genitals’ in Brazil. Why would Brazilians go for a thing like that when the ad says ‘Ford, the renowned automobile company introduces Pinto’?
Puff is a huge favourite tissues brand in the United States of America. Since it was doing well in the country, the company decided to export it to other countries. The brilliant process took an adverse turn when the product hit Germany. The word ‘puff’ was a synonym for the word ‘brothel’ in German. And in England, the word was close to the pronunciation of the word ‘pouf’ a slang for ‘homosexual’. Would the people ask for such a thing in a store?
Pepsi’s slogan went scary in Chinese. The brand is another giant in the beverage fraternity and a stiff competition to Coca-cola. The translation of their slogan ‘we bring you back to life’ meant ‘we bring your ancestors back from the grave’ in Chinese. How do the consumers take it when they think of a soft drink?
American Dairy Association came up with an ad campaign for their milk brand with a slogan ‘Got Milk?’ It went viral and the company decided to export their campaign to countries all over the world. When the slogan was translated into Spanish, it had a bump as it read ‘Are you lactating?’ This sounded a little more personal and left the women rather offended.
The ‘Fast Food Kings’, with their slogan ‘Finger Licking Good’ are making it big, of course. But when KFC had inaugurated its first store in China in 1987, the translated caption meant ‘We’ll Eat Your Fingers Off’ in Chinese. Who’d want to lose their fingers for the sake of a variety of fast food? Then, a tactical change made it good for the people to enter in.
Clairol introduced a curling iron in 2006 and named it the ‘Mist Stick’ which was highly successful in the United States. When the company launched it in Germany, the phrase meant ‘Manure Stick’ and it went hilariously. Why would one want to go for a ‘manure stick’ in a cosmetic shop?
When Coca-cola was launched in China, the campaign turned ridiculous with the name of the brand. It was pronounced as ‘ke-kou-ke-la’ which means ‘bite the wax tadpole’. This made no sense and had no connection to the drink. In another dialect, it read as ‘female horse stuffed with wax’. Since the very purpose of the brand didn’t get through, the decision was taken to change the phonetic to ‘ko-kou-ko-le’ which sounded better and closer the meaning ‘happiness in the mouth’ but didn’t change the hilarity of the situation.
‘Turn it loose’ was the slogan that took beer products of the company to heights. But when it meant ‘Suffer from diarrhoea’ in Spanish. The waves of mockery went on when some people said that the Spanish translation slightly meant what they get when they drink Coors. Then the change was made.
Again it was a phrase in Spanish. Braniff Airlines installed one of a kind leather seats for the first class flyers only. The slogan said ‘Fly in leather’ that made sense and went appealing. When the slogan was translated into Spanish, it read as ‘Vuela en Cuero’ which meant ‘Fly naked’. Being one of the best airlines in the world, it came up with another slogan that set things right.