• From misleading people into thinking you’re
selling baby meat to resurrecting your great grandmother, we look at 12 Dumbest Advertising
Translations. 12 – Bensi,
• There’s not many ways to go wrong when naming a car company, just pick something
that sounds sexy and fast but doesn’t translate to death on wheels.
• Mercedes Benz didn’t get the memo on that though and started releasing cars under
a name that translated to “Rush to your death” in China. ‘Bensi’
• Of course ads for a car that will get you to death’s door in record speed didn’t
go too well and eventually they changed the name to ‘Ben Chi’.
11 – Fly in Leather, • Well with poor ads like this it’s no
surprise Braniff were the first major airline to go bankrupt.
• Braniff had been using the slogan “Fly in Leather” in English speaking countries
to advertise their comfortable, rich leather seats. But in Spanish Braniff accidentally
told customers to “Fly Naked”. • That’s just the way to get customers,
offer them the chance to see the sweaty balls of the guy sitting next to them.
10 – The Jolly Green Giant, • If your branding totally relies on a friendly
mascot, you should probably but in a bit more effort than running it through google translate.
• At least that’s what I’m assuming happened here. General Mills made an icon
out of the canned vegetable selling Jolly Green Giant, but in Arabic the name translated
to “Intimidating Green Monster”. • That’s right you better buy that God-damn
can of peas, or he’s going to get you and shove them down your stupid throat.
9 – Every Car has a High Quality Body, • Car companies always seem to be trying
to sell you some novelty feature, but I don’t think anyone would want the one Ford were
offering. • Attempting to bring the slogan “Every
car has a high quality body” to Belgium, they inadvertently translated “body” to
mean “Corpse”. • Come down and get your new hatchback,
complete with that new corpse smell. Then again maybe they were just trying to tap into
the necrophilia market. 8 – Mist Stick,
• This one seems to have a pretty lazy name in English so it’s no surprise that no one
double checked the translation. • Clairol released a curling iron called
“Mist Stick”, which sounds barely appealing as it is. But in Germany it takes on a whole
different meaning. See over there “Mist” means “Manure”.
• “Manure Stick” didn’t exactly fly of shelves. Leaving Clairol to discover that
people don’t want to put something essentially called “shit stick” in their hair.
7 – Gerber Baby Food, • Turns out words aren’t the only thing
that can fail the translation process, images can too.
• When Gerber released their baby food in Ethiopia they made the mistake of not changing
their iconic packaging. Why does that matter? Because in Ethiopia food products normally
display the contents on the packaging because of low literacy rates.
• So yeah putting a smiling baby on the label pretty much translates to “pureed
baby meat inside”. 6 – It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass
you, • Parker pens apparently have an unknown
edge on their competition, they won’t knock you up.
• The popular pen maker made a fundamental mistake that turned the line in their Mexican
ads from “it won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” into “it won’t leak
in your pocket and get you pregnant.” • But hey it’s a fair concern, leaks cause
unwanted pregnancies all the time. You can be safe in the knowledge that Parker’s pen
is shooting blanks. 5 – Ford Pinto,
• Long before Ford tried to sell you a car containing a dead body, they insulting your
penis size. • The Pinto was named after a colour pattern
found in horses…but in Brazil, pinto had become slang for something else – a tiny penis.
• Considering that “small cock” has more in common with the actual car than “patterns
on a horse”, maybe this wasn’t a translation fail at all.
4 – Schweppes Tonic Water, • Who would have thought that one slight
error would make your product 200% more appealing to dogs…too bad they can’t read.
• Schweppes had the bad luck to translate their famous tonic water into toilet water
in Italy. Considering tonic water is such a basic thing it’s hard to understand how
that even happened. • This probably had a bigger impact on bars
than anywhere else. “I’ll have a gin & toilet water thanks…wait no, that sounds gross.
Make it whiskey, not gin”. 3 – Brings you Back to Life!,
• Yeah in English this ad campaign is non-sense so it’s not a surprise that it failed to
pass the language barrier. • Pepsi was trying to run the slogan “Brings
you back to life!” in China. But instead of hyping up Pepsi’s energising powers they
told people the soda will “Bring your ancestors back from the dead!”
• You can imagine the disappointment on people’s faces as they poured cola on Grandpa
Chen’s grave only to see it drain away. 2 – It Takes a Tough Man to Make a Tender
Chicken, • Nothing like some good ol’ fashioned
bestiality to get people to buy your tender meat.
• Well whoever translated Perdue’s chicken adverts into Spanish certainly thinks that.
Turning the line “it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” into “It takes
a virile man to make a chicken pregnant”. • Yeeah I’m pretty sure that’s not what
they wanted to say. Unless Perdue actually cracked the secret to human-avian breeding
and have actually been creating a secret army of virile chicken men and this lone heroic
translator is trying to warn us all! OH GOD they are gonna peck our eyes out!
1 – Finger Lick’n Good, • Hell if the chicken men don’t get you
then colonel Sanders is gonna bite your fucking fingers off.
• People in China got a rude awakening when KFC mistakenly translated “Finger Lick’n
Good” into “We’ll eat your fingers off”. MmMmm Kentucky fried corpses.
• Well that’s kinda close I guess, I’d eat someone’s fingers off if they were coated
in KFC Gravy.