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International Business Marketing Fails

Some funny mistakes in international branding

For business to succeed overseas and in other language markets it is important that translation of communications to be precise and the concepts the same. Business News Daily had an interesting article and here are some of the examples:

HSBC Bank had a tagline "Assume nothing" It was translated in many countries to "Do nothing". This does not look very useful.

KFC's famous Finger-Lickin Good was translated in Chinese marketing to "Eat your fingers off". Not very good for the brand either.

Coors beers tagline "Turn it loose" became a Spanish expression that could be interpreted as "Suffer from diarrhea"". Also a bit harmful.

Swedish vacuum maker Electrolux entered the US market with the tagline: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux" Very funny.

"Ford cars have a high quality body". This was translated into Dutch in Belgium to "Ford cars have a high quality corps". Lost in translation!

Braniff airlines translated it's tagline in advertisement from Fly in Leather" (referring to the seats) to "Fly naked" in Spanish. Not everybody was interested.

Pampers used images of storks delivering babies in Japan, just like in Europe and the USA. Japanese do not have the storks and baby story, so the did not understand the Pampers images.

The learning is very simple: use the help of local people with a critical view to localize advertisement communication.