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The Chevy Nova Award is named in Honor of the GM's fiasco in trying to
market this car in Central and South America where "no va" means, of
course, in Spanish, "it doesn't go." The nominees are:
1. The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?"
prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to
their attention the Spanish translation read, "Are you lactating?"
2. Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was read
as "Suffer From Diarrhea."
3. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an
American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
4. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany only
to find out that "mist" is slang for manure.
5. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same
packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they
learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of
what's inside since many people can't read.
6. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a
notorious porno magazine.
7. 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).
8. Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi|
Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.
9. The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", 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 "kokou kole" translating into "happiness in the mouth."
10. 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
11. 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."
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
12. When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class
seats in the Mexican market, it translated its "Fly In Leather" campaign
literally, which meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.