Worst marketing slogan translation of all time
Language is an amazing thing, especially in company slogan. It helps you with strong communication, binding you together with others and standing for your unique culture. Thus, it is hard for people to fully express their idea in other language since it is not their mother tongue. Company slogan, as a combination of words to illustrate entirely one company’s mission and vision, is always a target of language difficulties. Many firms have suffered because of the inability to transfer and translate all the meanings, vision and code of their slogan to another language. Here are some of the top companies mistakes in slogan translation that I think, every company should be aware of before thinking of expanding to the global world.
Top company with worse company slogan translation
1. Can you believe that Pepsi, a global company with more than 1000 branches and thousand of employees from all over the world, actually make a mistake in translating company slogan? And it’s the truth! The original was “Come alive with Pepsi generation” and this is its meaning when it was translated to Chinese “Pepsi brings your ancestor back from the grave”.
2. KFC, famous for its crispy recipe of fried chicken, is also suffered when they entered China for the first time. “Finger-licking’ good” has turned to “We’ll bite your finger off”. Ouch, that sounds hurt a lot!
3. Parker Pen is famous for its elegant and exquisite design for fountain pen, has done a bad job in trying to enter Mexico environment when they tried to change their company slogan. While it should be “It wont leak in your pocket and embarrass you”, the Mexican version is “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”.
4. The name Cocacola, the billion-worth corporation that is so famous around us has problem with Chinese as well. The name “Cocacola” was first read as “Ke-kou-ke-la”, depends on the spelling and dialect; can also has the meaning of “a female horse stuffed with wax” or “Bite the wax tadpole”.
5. Drinking beer and “suffer from diarrhea”? That’s the Spanish version of American Coor Light beer, though the original was quite nice “Turn it loose”
6. Worst case scenario: your product is changed too. That’s what’s happen with Schweppes product, when it has changed from “Tonic water” to Italian version “Toilet paper”
7. Bratiff Airline made an outstanding joke in translating their company slogan with their Spanish version in 1977 when they tried to enter Spain market. From the chair with “Flying in leather” to Spanish style “Fly naked”.
8. “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux” was the American version of Electrolux Scandinavian Campaign. Seriously, what were they thinking?
9. When Colgate introduced Cue product to France, they had no idea. Cue stood for a notorious porno magazine in France, which made Colgate typically…. the same.
10. The famous Dairy product campaign has turned to a huge mess when they tried to expand the advertising project to Mexico. Around a week or so, Dairy found out that the Mexican company slogan was “Are you lactating?” while the original version was “Got Milk?”
11. Clairol was so surprised when their campaign did not work well in German since their product with the company slogan of “Mist stick” turned to “Manure stick” in Germany.
Each language has its own style, value and meaning that can alter the whole company slogan concept. It is necessary that business owners take a careful and detailed research in other language in order not to mix the wrong meaning into the slogan. Such mistakes can avoid easily if the firm takes more cautious approach in translating slogan.