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Lost in Translation- Cultural Awareness and Ad Fails

  1. Cultural awareness is very important when marketers attempt to promote products in different cultural environments.
  2. Let’s look at some instances that have gone wrong.
  3. Kentucky Fried Chicken's slogan “Finger lickin good." translated into Chinese came out as “Eat your fingers off.”
  4. "Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux,” In the 1960s Electrolux used this slogan to market the Scandinavian Vacuums in the UK. Some say they tried the same slogan in American ads.
  5. Image source: international-expansion-blunders-list In Chinese, Pepsi's 'Come alive with the Pepsi generation' translated into 'Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.’
  6. Parker Pen marketed a pen in Mexico. The ads were supposed to have read, 'It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you.' Instead, they read, 'It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.’
  7. Frank Perdue’s 'It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken’ translated into Spanish 'it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.” “It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate?”
  8. The slogan for Salem cigarettes, 'Salem-Feeling Free', was translated into Japanese as 'When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty.' Could they have included some additional mind-bending ingredients?
  9. Braniff Airlines promoted its First Class airline seats to the Latin American audience. The translation of “Fly In Leather” was interpreted as “Fly Naked!” The company later contended that they did it intentionally.
  10. In conclusion, Culture, words and translation matter!