10 brand names that failed to translate

Afy Nou
7 October 2016

Okay folks, it’s time for some brand name translation fails. So hinsetzen, relájate and amusez-vous bien.

TL;DR: genitals.



Let’s start in Germany, where Clairol launched their Mist Stick curling iron. Unfortunately, in Germany, ‘mist’ doesn’t mean mist. Introducing the new Clairol Shit Stick.



(Liqueur Irish Mist didn’t do so well in Germany, either.)



Distracted by a blocked nose or something Vicks blithely wandered into Germany without realising they say ‘v’ as ‘f’ and ‘vicks’ as ‘ficks’. Which means…? That’s right, sexual penetration.

Sexual Penetration: stop a cold in its tracks.



In Italy Schweppes enthusiastically advertised its Toilet Water.



Peaceable pea-eater, the Jolly Green Giant, arrived in Saudi Arabia as the Intimidating Green Ogre.



Mercedes-Benz launched in China as Bensi. ‘Rush to die.’



Kiri is a brand of cheese. Kiri also means ‘penis’ in Farsi. You’ll never guess who launched in Iran without checking their translations first.



More genitals, this time for gender equality. In Sweden, Honda launched the Honda Fitta. The English translation is… crude. And starts with the same letter as ‘crude’. And has the same number of letters as ‘crude’ (minus one).

(It’s the ‘Jazz’ now.)



A short break from genitals with Chat Box, a new phone system that didn’t quite connect in France. What is this box of cats, they said.

Okay, back to genitals.

And our last blunder.



The Ford Pinto wasn’t selling in Brazil. At all. WTF, thought Ford. Then they discovered what ‘pinto’ means in Portuguese. ‘Tiny male genitals’.

Quick as a galloping horse, Ford changed the car’s name to ‘Corcel,’ which means ‘horse’.

Yes. ‘The Horse’ is probably a better name for a car than ‘Tiny Male Genitals’.

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