Once in a while, an international company will come out with a new product, brand name or slogan that gets somewhat lost in translation.
This is an advertisement by a Dutch company that sells all kinds of products, including this oral irrigator called WaterPik. While this may not seem too odd to English speaking consumers, for Dutch consumers the brand translates into ”Water Schlong”.
The Spanish word “puta” means prostitute, which didn’t stop Mazda launching the Laputa minivan in 1991. The ads claimed that “Laputa is designed to deliver maximum utility in a minimum space while providing a smooth, comfortable ride” and “a lightweight, impact-absorbing body.”
The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as “Kekoukela,” which means “Bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax” depending on the dialect. Coke then settled on “kokou kole,” which translates as “happiness in the mouth.”
Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure.
In Chinese, Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” slogan translated into “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”.
Tesco’s launch of its Fresh & Easy chain of supermarkets in the US was a miserable failure, possibly because its name made it sound like it was a feminine hygiene product.
Pee Cola is an extremely popular soda, bottled in Ghana. The name means “very good Cola”, but that’s not most consumers’ first impression.