1. 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
2. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany
only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure.
3. 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.
4. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name
of a notorious porno magazine.
5. 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).
6. Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into
"Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.
7. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following
in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
8. 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