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Audi Marketing Miscues

Audi has certainly taken a pasting on this list for inept marketing.
Clearly, however, they are not alone in their misreading of the diverse
needs of a market foreign to them.  The following marketing miscues
should demonstrate the difficulty of doing this well:

The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem-Feeling Free", was
translated into the Japanese market as "When smoking Salem, you will
feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty."

Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read
as "Suffer from diarrhea."

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".

Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an
American campaign: Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.

When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same
packaging as in the US, with the beautiful baby on the label. Later they
learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of
what's inside, since most people can't read English.

Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a
notorious porno magazine.

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).

In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into
"Schweppes Toilet Water."

Pepsi's "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi
brings your ancestors back from the grave," in Chinese.

Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "it takes a strong man to make a tender
chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make
a chicken affectionate."

When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were
supposed to have read, "it won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you".
Instead, the company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate)
meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and
make you pregnant".

~courtesy of Rob Schiller
Cambridge, MA