List o’ 10 Marketing Boo-Boos Part III

see Part I here; see Part II here

There is no shortage of examples of very questionable marketing decisions that have apparently received board room approval. Or maybe someone was just asleep at the wheel when some of these campaigns were approved. No matter, feedback says that this is a popular list, and so, with no further ado, this is part III of marketing mishaps. LOP fans – enjoy!

10. Aussie Nads In North America

Aussie Nads is a hair removal product introduced for the North America markets with various brands, including Nads for Men. I am not sure whether or not there is an Aussie definition for “nads”, but this certainly falls into the category of “make sure that you understand the language in the country” when expanding business. Just because they both speak English doesn’t meant that they speak the same English. Cambridge dictionary provides a simple definition of this word, at least as it is understood by Canadians and Americans: “testicles”, or “the testicles. (From gonads. See also nads.” Apparently there is also a well-known greyhound named nads in Australia, frequently spurred on by the crowd yelling Go Nads. Better check your American slang there mate, cause there arent too many Yankees gonna for your hair-free nads.

9. Intimidate Dating Service

Ever feel intimidated by dating services? Like to be told exactly what to do? If so, then this one was tailor made for you! The perfect date for anyone who doesn’t want to make a single decision or feel ignored, and if you want a little kinky stuff on the side, the name implies that you can probably find some of that too. Now this may sound strange on the face of it (no pun intended!), however, Intimi is the Hebrew word for intimate. Hmmm…better hope your date speaks Hebrew or you are in for a rough night…

8.Wank Yer Wang

wang cares t-shirt

Once again, you just gotta listen to what your slogan is saying, but really listen to what it might sound like. Some things just roll off the tongue, and perhaps more so in the everyday use than in the marketing strategy war rooms. Sure they may really, sincerely care about their customers, but in the late 70s, the American computer company Wang was puzzled why its British branch refused to use its latest motto Wang Cares. say it five times fast…what does it sound like to your ears? Well, to British ears – the target market for this campaign – the motto sounds too close to wankers”, and this is just not a term that you want your products to be associated with, especially in the UK. Not sure of the meaning? *click here*

7. Burn in the Inferno


Newsflash: When marketing or creating a business name, literary references matter! The 1990′s saw the re-introduction of cremation under the emergence of private-owned companies in Estonia, and some entrepreneurs thought that this would be a good opportunity to come up with some creative names to attract business. During that period an undertaker in Tallinn, Estonia named itself Inferno, causing several raised eyebrows. Sure, inferno’s meaning can be a very intense fire. However, although that is one sense for the word, inferno’s major usage is “hell”, “purgatory” or “perdition”, as in the book by Dante. You can almost imagine the advertisement for Inferno: “I am sorry about the loss of your loved one. Where is the funeral, so I can say goodbye to him?” “He’s going to burn in the Inferno!”

6. Dung Mist Doesn’t Sell

irish mist bottles

This was not the first product to suffer from the mis-translation of the German word. Clairol introduced a hair curler called the “Mist Stick”, which suffered from lots of laugh-ability at the blatant problem. I mean, you would think that at the very least, the marketing department or the ad agency would have somebody who speaks the language of the country where the product is being launched! Too funny…well, Irish Mist didnt do well in Germany. It was marketed with the semi-Germanized Irischer Mist, which would translate back to English as Irish Dung – goes so well with fresh lime and a splash of Coke. Yummy. Don’t believe it? *check here

5. All Your Bases Are Belong to Us

all_your_base are belong to us In the early days of Internet gaming, Sega translated games for sale in the English market, many of which were made by third party companies for the Sega platform. Toaplan was a video game maker that had a terrible Japanese-to-English translation of the intro to the Zero Wing game, which featured great lines like: Somebody set up us the bomb, and others which have since actually become underground cult favorites among Internet surfers and gamers. Although the company went out of business, the translation and in particular the line All your base are belong to us became a phenomenon crossing from the net into popular culture as one of the first “memes”. The term Internet meme is a phrase used to describe a catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the Internet, much like an esoteric inside joke. Hey, if you are gonna blow it, blow it big! A web search will find plenty of hilarious web pages featuring the line.

4. Water not Dope, please

Traficante Sorgente

Traficante is an Italian brand of mineral water. In Spanish, it means drug dealer.

3. The Business of News

bag over head

If you are in the business of keeping people informed, bringing the latest information and being on the cutting edge of events, it would stand to reason that you not only ensure that you are the first to know about what happens, but that you let your audience know this too. It just might inspire confidence in the fact that you would be the definitive source for news and current events. However, this reasoning sometimes escapes those who promote their news stations. A few years back Reed Business News relaunched itself with the branding: If its news to you, its news to us. Hmmm..doesn’t exactly inspire thelevel of assurance that viewers need in their news supplier…It was replaced after a couple of days.

2.Ring of Fire, Really!

easter bunny arse hurts

This one is just wrong. Particularly in the UK, where you would think that they have a couple of Asian translators on staff at any agency! These sauces may be authentic, spicy and very tasty. But talk about a ring of fire after effect – they actually come right out with it! The 2003 Sharwoods 6m campaign to launch its new Bundh sauces just used the wrong word to title the recipes. The company received calls from numerous Punjabi speakers informing them that “bundh” sounds an awful lot like the Punjabi word for “arse”.

1. Fitta Gives Them a Fit

One of the important things about marketing a new car – better make sure that people actually want to get in it. And feel ok about that. Well, Honda introduced their new car “Fitta” in the Nordic countries during 2001, only to find out that “fitta” is an old word, currently used in vulgar language to refer to a woman’s genitals in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. It was renamed to “Honda Jazz” for the Nordic market. According to newspaper articles, Japanese ads said that “[Fitta] is small on the outside, but large on the inside”. It’s now called the Honda Fit in Japanese markets.

one more marketing myth debunked


Myth: In Mexico, Fresca sales are bad because the term is a slang for Lesbian.

Fact: OK, jokes abound but sales are just fine. There are many fruit drinks named Agua Fresca (fresh water).

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Back hair remover
February 26, 2010 at 19:18
List o’ 10 More Marketing Boo-Boo’s: Part II |
April 1, 2010 at 19:56

8 Responses to "List o’ 10 Marketing Boo-Boos Part III":

  1. erika September 15, 2011 at 08:09

    Thanks, this is great, especially since I just started working in marketing! I just graduated and I cant believe some of this stuff that the “experienced professionals” let slip by :-)

  2. chidl May 9, 2011 at 01:11

    Hmmm thanks for yet another funny and interesting post. Where do you receive your inspiration for all this :|

  3. mbt shoes May 10, 2010 at 21:24

    great experience, dude! thanks for this great post wow… it’s very wonderful report.

  4. Hebag May 9, 2010 at 13:04

    Thank for this great post, i like what you have to say

  5. Gunther Erman March 5, 2010 at 02:13

    “Mist” is also a very well-known vulgar swearing word meaning “crap” or “rubbish”.

    Of course “Irish Mist” is an absurd and ridiculous name for a product sold in Germany.

  6. qew December 28, 2009 at 17:43

    much better, i think that you should make all your lists like this. it’s always fun to read the posts like this. :-)

  7. listmaster December 28, 2009 at 17:08

    ok, thanks for the feedback…i have revised the post to more like the first one, and honestly, it does look and read better. thanks for that honest comment, and please keep coming back!

  8. qew December 28, 2009 at 14:24

    horeible. first 1 beter.