Nova Award Nominees
These are the nominees for the Chevy Nova Award. This is given
out in honor of the GM's fiasco in trying to market its car in
Central and South America. No va means, of course, in Spanish,
"it doesn't go."
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?"
Coors put its slogan, "Turn it Loose," into Spanish, where
it was read as "Suffer from Diarrhea."
Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the
following in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an
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."
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.
Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the
name of a notorious porno magazine.
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).
Pepsi's "Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated
into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in
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."
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."
When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint 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 pregnant!"
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.
When Vicks first introduced its cough drops on the German
market, they were chagrined to learn that the German
pronunciation of "v" is f - which in German is the guttural
equivalent of "sexual penetration."
Not to be outdone, Puffs tissues tried later to introduce
its product, only to learn that "Puff" in German is a
colloquial term for a whorehouse.
'Oh, no. Not another learning experience.'