The ten biggest international marketing mistakes of all time

1. When Parker Pen marketed a pen in Mexico, their ads were supposed to say, “It won’t leak into your pocket or embarrass you.” Instead, the company thought the word “pregnant” meant to embarrass, so the ad read, “It won’t leak into your pocket and it won’t make you pregnant.

2. In Spain, when Coors Brewing Company put its motto “Let it loose” into Spanish; it read as “Suffers from diarrhea.”

3. When Braniff International Airways translated a slogan promoting its upholstery, “Fly in leather,” it came out in Spanish as “Fly naked.”

4. When Pepsi started marketing their products in China a few years ago, they translated their slogan, “Pepsi brings you back to life” quite literally. The motto in Chinese really meant: “Pepsi brings your ancestors from the grave.”

5. Chicken magnate Frank Perdue’s phrase, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” sounds much more interesting in Spanish: “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a loving chicken.”

6. Scandinavian vacuum cleaner manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing stinks like an Electrolux.”

7. A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the “Mist Stick”, a curling iron, in Germany only to discover that mist is manure jargon. Not many people used the manure bar.

8. The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, “Salem-Feeling Free”, was translated to the Japanese market as “When Salem smokes, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems free and empty.”

9. PepsiCola lost its dominant market share to Coca-Cola in Southeast Asia when Pepsi changed the color of its vending machines and refrigerators from a deep “Regal” blue to a light “ice” blue, as light blue associated with death and grief in Southeast Asia.

10. We cannot forget Chevrolet’s attempt to launch the Nova – Spanish translation, “Doesn’t Go” – in Mexico (it turns out that this seems to be an urban legend and cannot be verified). Many sources on the Internet claim that this is not true.

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