It’s that time of year again when the tabloid press try to outdo each other with almost-believable stories to fool the now-suspecting audience.
2015 was no exception to the levels of foolery and investment made by some companies to have a laugh at the general public’s expense.
From a new clear Marmite…
To Sony’s “Immersive” new Playstation Swimming Experience – the bar has been raised this year as companies all try to go viral.
However, not all marketing mishaps are intentional!
We’ve put together a few great (or terrible) examples of where translation goes wrong and the marketers are left looking like April Fools!
Parker Pen’s Pregnant Problem
Parker Pen tried to advertise a ball-point pen in Mexico with the reassuring warning – “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.”
However, due to a muddle with the word “embarazar”, the message read: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”
It’s not ‘Got Milk…?’
It’s ‘Are You Lactating?’, or so the Mexicans were told when the Dairy Association tried to translate its ‘Got Milk?’ campaign.
Colgate’s explicit toothpaste
Colgate launched “Cue” toothpaste in France, unaware it was the name of an infamous porn magazine.
HSBC Bank was forced to rebrand its entire global private banking operations after bringing a U.S. campaign overseas.
In 2009, the worldwide bank spent millions of dollars to scrap its 5-year-old “Assume Nothing” campaign.
Problems arose when the message was brought overseas, where it was translated in many countries as “Do Nothing.” In the end, the bank spent $10 million to change its tagline to “The world’s private bank,” which has a much more friendly translation.
Clairol’s new ‘Manure Stick’
Clairol tried to sell a curling iron in Germany, named a “Mist Stick”, forgetting that “mist” is slang for manure.
The condom of the future?
Technical translations are a difficult task, we often employ translators with degree qualifications in the subject matter, such as engineering, to make sure our translation services are accurate.
The translation below just beggars belief, we’re not even sure what they were aiming for.
With the upcoming election in May, we’re constantly hearing of how different parties would approach the budget. We’re just hoping that the department of Soybean Ketchup still receives its funding!
And finally, a classic Chinese translation fail that never fails to make us laugh. It may not be an April Fool, but we can’t imagine any marketing department ever wanting to condone this as a beauty regime!