Ford was not able to market its popular Pinto in Brazil in the late '70s when it learnt that pinto is Portuguese slang for "tiny penis." It sold the Corcel instead, the Portuguese word for "horse."
In China, Coca-Cola was initially rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. In different dialects the phrase translated as "female horse stuffed with wax" or "bite the wax tadpole." Coke replaced it with the much better Ko-kou-ko-le or “happiness in the mouth".
Pepsi's late '60s slogan, COME ALIVE WITH THE PEPSI GENERATION was mangled in a Mandarin translation as PEPSI WILL BRING BACK YOUR ANCESTORS FROM THE DEAD.
Parker marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico with ads that were supposed to say, IT WON'T LEAK IN YOUR POCKET AND EMBARRASS YOU. But because of a bad verb choice (they thought embarazar meant "embarrass"), the ads instead said, IT WON'T LEAK IN YOUR POCKET AND MAKE YOU PREGNANT.
In China, KFC's slogan IT'S FINGERLICKIN' GOOD somehow got mistranslated as EAT YOUR FINGERS OFF. (Not that this slogan was ever really that great anywhere).
Gerber's sweet, smiling baby-food-jar baby backfired horribly in Africa: Because of high illiteracy, Africa's consumers are used to seeing a product’s contents pictured on the packaging.
|See, you can hardly see the new slanted top design that works so well.|