Funny Marketing Screw Ups: A precursor to my next post…

Brought to you by Supplier-Connection

I was in the midst of writing my next blog on the importance of developing a Marketing Plan BEFORE jumping into the world of Social Media, when into my inbox popped this old gem from Bob Smith (a fellow consultant @ The Allasso Group & long-time colleague).

Bob sent me “Great Marketing Screw Ups”, a list of 10 colossal, mind-bending, classic marketing flubs.  It was originally published in 1997 by J.K. Davis, for which he/she claims a copyright.  (BTW, imagine someone getting a copyright on your screw-ups? How weird would that be? Mine would require a bit more space to enumerate…)

So.  All credit for the following laughs go to J.K., wherever he/she may be.  Enjoy!

BTW, the working title for my next entry to The SBE Lifer is “Develop a Marketing Plan Before Blogging, Tweeting, Facebook-Fan-Paging, Google +’ing, eMailing, Webinaring, LinkedInning, Podcasting, YouTubing, Webcasting & Shouting From The Rooftop.”  It should get posted by the middle of next week.

GREAT MARKETING SCREW UPs Submitted by   J.K. Davis

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

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

3. Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for “manure.” Not too many people had use for the “manure stick.”

4. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the U.S., with the beautiful Caucasian 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.

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

6. 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).

7. Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated into “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave,” in Chinese.

8. 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.”

9. The Coca-Cola name in Chinese was first read as “Ke-kou-ke-la,” meaning “Bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax,” depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent “ko-kou-ko-le,” translating into “happiness in the mouth.”

10. 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.”

© 1997 J.K. Davis. Last update: Saturday, November 02, 2002

SBEs are a journey… Be safe!

Dan Gallo
Social Media Director & Small Business Advocate, Supplier-Connection
Managing Director, The Allasso Group


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