Comical Global Branding Fails

Even the biggest brands can make mistakes when bringing their brand to new markets. A company should always carefully research and identify any cultural differences, or language translations, when expanding their business. You want to catch any possible missteps before they happen. Here are some epic fails for a good laugh.

Coca-Cola
When first launched in China, the brand name was translated as “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax,” depending on dialect. We’re pretty sure that’s not what Mr. Miyagi was talking about when he said, “Wax on…”

Ford
While marketing the Ford Pinto in Brazil, they discovered “Pinto” means “tiny male genitals.” In Belgium, their slogan “Every Car Has a High-Quality Body” was translated to “Every car has a high-quality corpse.” Redefining the acronym: Found On the Road Dead”!

Pepsi
Their slogan “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life” was translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave,” in China. Not only did it not make any sense, it was considered disrespectful. Clearly, they were able to resuscitate their brand after such an epic mistake.

Mitsubishi
The Mitsubishi Montero was originally called the “Pajero.” “Pajero” means “jerk” in Spanish, and they did not do well in Spanish speaking markets. No bueno.

Vicks
In German, the letter “v” is pronounced as an “f”. When expanding to the German market, their brand name was suddenly German slang for sexual intercourse. We hope Vicks Vaporub didn’t end up in any odd places.

Coors
Their slogan “Turn it Loose” is slang for having diarrhea in Spanish. That’s not exactly what you want, after consuming a beverage. After all, you’re supposed to be able to drink the beer, not the water, right?

KFC
In Beijing, their slogan “Finger-Lickin’ Good” was originally translated to “eat your fingers off.” What!?! Is that why we have chicken fingers?

Pampers
When expanding their advertising to Japan, they used the stork-bringing-babies image that is practically ubiquitous in western countries. However, this had no value to Japanese audiences. As a result, a lot of marketing dollars were wasted on a culturally irrelevant ad campaign.

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The Difference Between Graphic Art and Graphic Design

Graphic Art – the fine and applied art of representation, decoration, and writing or printing on flat surfaces together with the techniques and crafts associated with them. Essentially, a graphic artist may create art for the sake of art. They may want to convey a certain idea or story, or they may not. Graphic artists…

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6 Benefits of Choosing a Local Agency

A local agency will understand the local market. Remember those global branding fails? The large corporations launching those campaigns did not understand the market they were advertising to. When working with a local agency, you won’t have any time zone differences to worry about. Everyone is on the same page, the same schedule! A local…

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Avoid These 6 Branding Mistakes

Not getting the logo right. Designing a logo yourself (just for now) may seem like a good idea, at first. But, changing a logo mid-stream can be complicated. If you aren’t widely recognized, you could lose what brand equity you may have already established. If you are, you could confuse, alienate and ultimately lose your…

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How Decades of Solid Branding Saved Coca-Cola from the Pepsi Challenge

The Pepsi Challenge was a marketing campaign started in 1975. It was simply a blind taste test between Pepsi and Coca-Cola, touting that even Coca-Cola fans choose Pepsi. It was a wildly successful marketing strategy that they revisited for decades. Coca-Cola even ran their own private tastes test, through which they found Pepsi was indeed…

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Why Colors Matter

When choosing colors for your brand, there is a lot to consider. Certain colors are often associated with certain traits or even expectations the public may have as it relates to what your organization offers. These associations can bridge the gap between your branding materials and target audiences. Just because your favorite color is fluorescent…

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How Dunkin’ Successfully Rebranded in 2019

The history of Dunkin’ began with a restaurant called “Open Kettle” in Massachusetts, in 1948. Founder William Rosenberg served donuts for five cents and premium cups of coffee for ten cents. Rosenberg renamed his restaurant “Dunkin’ Donuts” in 1950, and franchised his brand in 1955. Since 1950, the number of Dunkin’ restaurants has increased to…

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Typefaces & Fonts Do More Than Transmit Words

Do the typefaces and fonts you choose for your brand materials matter? As long as it’s in a language the audience understands, they’ll get the intended message, right? Wrong. Typefaces and fonts are essentially the shapes of the letters. Shapes are multi-sensory, meaning they affect more than one of your senses and can easily elicit…

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Color Psychology

Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Colors can cause certain emotional reactions, and even influence perceptions that are not necessarily conscious. Color psychology is used all around us, taking its cues from nature, and should be considered in marketing and branding. The following are just some common color…