13 Slogans That Got Hilarious When They Were Lost In Translation

Corporations do a ton of research before entering new markets. This leads chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks to completely revamp their menus for consumers across Europe and Asia. Even so, sometimes things slip through the cracks – like making sure the company’s current slogan translates well abroad. We came across a fantastic list in Brand Failures: The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time, and decided to do some further research. Here’s our list of 13 now-rectified slogans that got completely lost in translation. Pepsi spooked Chinese consumers when it didn’t realize its “Come alive with Pepsi” slogan translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead” 0001

When McDonald’s brought its Big Mac to France, it translated to the name “Gros Mec,” which actually means “big pimp”


Source: Bizcovering

When Frank Perdue’s chicken hit Spanish markets, its tagline got terribly mangled from “It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” to “It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate”


Coors’ “Turn it loose!” tagline took on a whole new meaning in Spain, where it translated to “You will suffer from diarrhea”


Source: Brand Failures: The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time When Clairol brought its “Mist Stick” curing iron to Germany, it failed to realize “Mist” is German slang for manure, resulting in crappy sales numbers for the product.


A Schweppes campaign went down the tubes when the company tried to sell Italian consumers “toilet water” instead of tonic water


This one reportedly didn’t hurt sales: Hunt-Wesson introduced its baked beans in French Canada as “Gros Jos” without realizing that’s slang for “big breasts”


Source: Anvari

An oldie but a goodie: In 1987, Braniff Airlines touted its new leather seats with a “Fly in leather” slogan that sounded a lot like the Spanish slang for “Fly naked” when translated


Source: Deseret News

KFC mistakenly translated its “finger-lickin’ good” tagline to “eat your fingers off” in Chinese


Source: TIME

Parker Pens wanted Spanish-speaking consumers to know its product wouldn’t cause embarrassing pocket ink stains, but instead it reassured them that the pens would not get them pregnant


Source: Blunders in International Business When Vick’s brought its Vapo-Rub to Germany, it should have known that ‘V’ is pronounced with an ‘F’ sound in German, and that “Fick’s” sounds a lot like the German equivalent of the English ‘F’-word


Source: Brand Failures: The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time Though the “Got Milk?” campaign was immensely successful among English-speakers in the U.S., Latinos wondered why the American Dairy Association would translate their winning slogan literally to “Are you lactating?”


When Coca Cola tried to bring its product to China in the 1920s, it wanted a name that sounded similar to how it sounds in English; when it settled on a phonetic translation, though, the phrase actually meant “bite the wax tadpole”