We all love a good laugh and branding cockups don’t ever fail to deliver. I bet the new brand decision makers for these well-known brand names most certainly weren’t too happy – but it’s great entertainment for us. Who in their right mind would name their company ‘F***ing Hell’ – I kid you not. Read on to find out about that and many other hilarious branding cock-ups.
Baniff translated a slogan claiming finely upholstered seats “Fly in Leather”. When this was translated into Spanish it comes out as “Fly Naked.”Clairol
Clairol marketed a curling iron as “Mist Stick”. Unfortunately “mist” in German is a slang word for manure.
When Colgate launched a product in France it decided upon the name brand name “Cue”. Unfortunately if they had done their market research they would have realised that “Cue” is also the name of a French pornographic magazine. This must have caused confusion for customers shopping in the supermarket when asking for Cue to brush their teeth with.
The well known American beer brand Coors suffered an unfortunate mishap when it launched it’s product in Spain. Their marketing team chose the slogan “turn it loose” which in Spain is a colloquial term for diarrhoea.
World famous vacuum cleaner manufacturer Electrolux chose the slogan “Nothing suck like an Electrolux” when they launched their product in America. Of course sucks is a reference in American slang that means bad or poor. Of course this is also considered and urban legend of translation but would still be funny if it were true!
Ford launched a car in Brazil called the Ford Pinto. Unfortunately in Brazillian Portuguese Pinto also means “tiny male genitals”
American meat processing and poultry farming company Perdue Farms used the slogan “it takes a tough man to make tender chicken” to try and appeal to some of the masculine male customers in Spain. However when this slogan is translated into Spanish it comes through as “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate”.
Everyone knows Ikea right? Ikea is a world recognised furniture store that began in Sweden. However when they launched in Thailand they didn’t realise that some of their Swedish names mean “sex” or “third base” in Thai. Also in China Ikea’s Chinese website advertised a stuffed wolf toy called Lufsig, or Lo Mo Sai (路姆西). This unfortunately contained a homophobe of Hai (閪), a profane Cantonese word meaning “vagina”. The name itself could be written as Lo Mo Hai (老母閪) which means “mothers Vagina”.
Fast food restaurant chain KFC made some Chinese customers feel uncomfortable or just confused with their slogan “finger licking good”. When the restaurant chain launched in China their slogan translated to “eat your fingers off”.
Mercedes Benz launched in China under the brand name “Bensi”. Which in China means “rush to die”.
Sportswear manufacturer Nike was forced to recall thousands of it’s products when the design on some of it’s products was deemed too similar to the Arabic word for Allah.
Electrical giant Panasonic launched a new web ready PC using a Woody Woodpecker theme. Not too bad in itself except the slogan they used was “Touch Woody : The Internet Ready Pecker”.
The makers of premium pens Parker Pens launched in Mexico using it’s slogan “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. Unfortunately this was mistranslated as “It won’t leak in your product and make you pregnant.
Iranian consumer goods company Paxam marketed it laundry soap using the Farsi word for “snow”. This resulted in packaging been labelled as “Barf Soap”.
American branded Puffs Facial Tissues, from Procter and Gamble, entered into the German market. Unfortunately they didn’t realise that “Puff” is a German slang word for brothel.
The American Dairy Association used it’s slogan “Got Milk?” as it’s slogan in Spanish speaking markets. This was translated as “Are you lactating?”. Bit of a personal question don’t you think?
Procter and Gamble brand Vicks moved into the German market with it’s cough drops. In German the pronunciation of “V” is actually “F” which made “Vick” slang for sexual intercourse in Germany.
When the name of the Toyota MR2 is pronounced in French it is phonetically similar to “mede” in French, which is their word for “shit”.
Motoring manufacturer Mitsubishi found that their Pajero product name as the same as the Spanish word for “wanker” when they launched in Spain.
Japanese motor company Honda initially launched their Honda Jazz as the Honda Fitta. However when their marketing team contacted their Swedish office with the name they found out that Fitta is a slang word for “vagina” in Swedish and Norwegian. They promptly decided on the Jazz although Japan kept the “Fit” brand for it’s home market.
I know what your thinking. How rude. How profane. However Fucking Hell is the name of a German Pilsner beer brewed in Germany. When they launched the brand in 2010 they upset the European Union due to the nature of the word and it’s expletive nature in the English language. However the brand name refers to an actual town in Austria which is in fact called Fucking whereas as Hell in Germany refers to pale lager. They launched an appeal against the original EU decision to disallow this name and they won.
Below is a short list of some actual products that are available on sale in various countries. Are they marketing mistakes or are they genius in advertising? Decide for yourselves!
- Crapsy Fruit, a French breakfast cereal
Alu-Fanny, a French aluminium foil
Pschitt, a French fizzy soft drink
Atum Bom, a Portuguese brand of tinned tuna
Kack, Danish confectionery
Plopp, a Swedish chocolate bar
Mukk, an Italian yogurt
Bimbo, a brand of bread in Spain and the Americas
Slag, a Belgian lager
Kum Onit, a German make of pencil sharpeners
How much do you think the ‘cock-ups’ cost each company? Get in touch with us for professional translations, that are localised and right on the mark – every time!
It’s no secret that Ed Sheeran wrote his latest album while travelling the world and soaking up different cultures and styles of music. But he went further than that. He also isn’t afraid to delve into the world of languages either. What’s most impressive is his commitment to getting the foreign lyrics and their pronunciation spot on, and he has previously said he would only sing in other languages if he could do it properly.
However, it’s not just on his latest album that he tries his hand at other languages, but in songs recorded before and after too. Take a look below!
Twi – “Boa Me” & “Bibia Be Ye Ye”
Last year Ed teamed up with Highlife and Afrobeats artist Fuse ODG to create a new track called “Boa Me”, where Sheeran sings the entire chorus in flawless Twi – a dialect from Ghana. The song was actually written at Fuse ODG’s house in Ghana with his friends, and Ed has described it as “probably the most fun I’ve had writing a song”. The song peaked at #52 in the UK charts. While it didn’t reach the top 40, this upbeat track is definitely worth a listen!
This actually isn’t even the first time that the Twi language has featured on an Ed Sheeran track! The song/lyrics “Bibia be ye ye” from the Deluxe version of his latest album ÷ (Divide), is also Twi, and means “all will be well”. Fuse ODG was also involved in the writing of this song which peaked at #18 on the UK chart.
Spanish – “Barcelona”
“Barcelona” is another song which appears on the Deluxe version of ÷ (Divide), and this time Ed takes on Spanish at the end of the song which includes the following lyrics:
Mi niña, te amo mi cariño
Sí tú, te adoro, señorita
Los otros, viva la vida
Siempre vida, Barcelona
In case you’re wondering, “Mamacita” roughly translates as “hot mama”!
This is another feel-good song which tries to incorporate the atmosphere in this amazing city. It charted at #12 in the UK charts.
Italian – Perfect Symphony
Spanish isn’t the only language from mainland Europe that Ed sings in! After the incredible success of “Perfect” (initially debuting at #4, before climbing to #3), and then “Perfect Duet” with Beyoncé which propelled the song to #1 in the charts, Sheeran collaborated with Italian legend Andrea Bocelli to create a more operatic version, known as “Perfect Symphony”. Bocelli translated part of the song into Italian but it’s not just him who sings the Italian, with Ed also joining in. Incidentally this is also the first song in which Ed collaborated with his brother Matthew, himself a classical composer, and whose string section appears on both this and the original version.
Gaelic – Thinking Out Loud
Ed is clearly in touch with his Irish roots, spending plenty of time across the Irish sea with his family, having some tattoos in Gaelic, and also musically with two Irish-influenced songs “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” appearing on ÷. But he went even further back in 2015 by recording a Gaelic translation of one of his biggest hits “Thinking Out Loud”. It was recorded especially to be included on the album CEOL 2016, which was that year’s album from Conradh na Gaeilge (an organisation promoting the Irish language) and their Irish-language radio station Raidió Rí Rá, produced for “Irish week” (Seachtain na Gaeilge), featuring Gaelic tracks from the best Ireland has to offer.
The whole song is translated into, and sung in Gaelic, which I think we’ll all agree is pretty impressive! I’ll leave it up to native Gaelic speakers to let us know how good his pronunciation is, but I’m sure, as with the other songs, he wouldn’t have released it if he wasn’t able to get it right, as is his great professionalism and his respect for other languages and cultures.
Keep up the great work Ed!
Today is one of the best day of the year: the international French Fries Day. But let’s find out something about most people’s favourite guilty pleasure.
Apparently, French fries are not French at all. Their origin can be tracked back to Belgium, where potatoes were allegedly being fried in the late-1600s. The legend says that poor villagers in Meuse Valley used to eat small fried fish they caught in the river but, as the river would freeze during winter, they had to find an alternative source of food. When the potato was introduced in the continent, the villagers began preparing the root plant in the same way they used to treat the fish: slicing and frying it. And this is how the earliest “French” fries were born.
So, how come they’re called FRENCH fries? It seems that it’s Americans’ fault. When American soldiers were stationed in Belgium during World War I they were introduced to the fried goodness and, as the official language spoken by the Belgian army was French, they started calling it “French fries”. As most misunderstandings in history, once the name was spread there was no way to correct it. And we still call them “French” after centuries, and will probably keep on doing so for quite a while.
But is this a mistake that only English speakers make? Let’s have a look on how everybody’s favourite side dish is called in different countries.
France/Belgium (French): les pommes frites / les frites
Belgium (Dutch): friet/fritten
China: 薯条 shu tiao (potato stripe or stick)
Czech Republic: hranolky (little prisms)
Finland: ranskalaiset perunat (French potatoes) or ranskalaiset (French)
Germany: Pommes / pommesfrites
Greece: τηγανιτές πατάτες tiganites patates
Italy: patatine fritte
Japan: フライドポテト furaido poteto (Fried potatoes)
Korea: 감자 튀김 Gamja twigim
Latin America: papas fritas
Columbia/Mexico: papas a la francesa
Portugal: batatas fritas
Romania: (Belgian) cartofi prajiti
Russia: картофелем фри kartofel’ fri
Sweden: franske kartofler (French potatoes)
The Netherlands (Dutch): patat frites / Vlaamse friet (Flemish fries)
Iceland, the land of ice and fire, counted 350,710 inhabitants in 2016. The crazy thing is that, last summer, Iceland hosted 2 million tourists. Why are there so many people willing to visit this Nordic island? Here are some pieces of information that might interest you.
Iceland has a very rich culture and a breath-taking scenery which appeals to any travel lovers. If you decide to go, expect to remain speechless all along. You’ll see mountains, glaciers (Europe’s largest glacier is in Iceland), rivers, waterfalls, craters, volcanoes, geysers, geothermal areas, hot springs, lagoons, icebergs, black sand beaches and more. What is crazy about visiting Iceland in summer time is that the sky remains bright all-night long. Indeed, the sun rises at around 3am and sets a little bit before midnight, allowing only a few hours of half-darkness. Let’s just say that it can be a bit disturbing… However, if you decide to go in winter time, you are more likely to see amazing northern lights and the land covered with a thick coat of snow. Two completely different worlds!
Iceland’s traditional dishes include lamb, fish and skyr (a yoghurt-like cheese).
If you love animals, you can expect to see sheep and Icelandic horses all around the country. Watch the sheep while driving, they are free! Also, Iceland’s only native mammal is the Arctic Fox.
Sport is an important part of Icelandic culture. The main traditional sport in Iceland is Glíma, a form of wrestling. Popular sports are handball, basketball and football. The Icelandic national football team qualified for the 2016 UEFA European football championship for the first time. Thus the 2018 FIFA World Cup is very important to Icelanders (I’ve heard 98% of Icelanders watched the games of their national team). Iceland has excellent conditions for skiing, fishing, snowboarding, ice climbing, rock climbing and hiking. Iceland is also one of the leading countries in ocean rowing, Icelandic rower Fiann Paul became the fastest ocean rower. He has claimed 24 Guinness World Records in total for Iceland. Swimming is also popular in Iceland, as geothermally heated outdoor pools are widespread, and swimming courses are a mandatory at school.
I hope you’ve learned a lot by reading this article and that you are already booking your flight to Reykjavic! Besides, one thing that you have to experience at least once in your life is a relaxing moment in the stunning Blue Lagoon.
International YOGA Day
Yesterday, 21st June, the day of the summer solstice, was the International yoga day. The date was chosen because it is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and a meaningful day all over the world. In India, it marks the transition to Dakshinayana and it is said that the first yogi, Adi Yogi, began imparting the knowledge of yoga to mankind on this day. The United Nations, recognising how popular yoga has become all over the world, proclaimed this date as the International Yoga day. For this year the theme is Yoga for Peace.
Let’s learn some terms!
Yoga – In Sanskrit it means “union” or “connection” and is used to indicate both a state of connection and a body of techniques that allow us to connect to something.
Asana – yoga poses or postures. This is what we refer to when we say that we take ‘yoga classes’. But it is only one aspect of yoga. Asana has the purpose of opening the energy channels and create balance in body and mind.
Chakra – Represents the energy centres in the body, located between the base of the spine and the crown of the head. We have 7 chakras and how we feel and where we are in life is reflected in these chakras. Therefore, having balanced chakras has a positive effect on people’s well-being.
Mantra – is a word, sound or phrase repeated either out loud or in the mind to make concentration easier while meditating.
Namaste – is an Indian greeting. In Sanskrit “Nama” means “bow”, “as” means “I” and “te” is “you”. When saying Namaste, people should bring their palms together in front of their heart or forehead and bow the head a little, closing their eyes. It is a custom to start and end a yoga class with Namaste.
Prana – is the life energy or life force in all living beings. The equivalent of Qi or Chi.
Sutras – a collection of teaching about yoga (“sutra” means literally “aphorism”) originated from the sage Patanjani. They describe the philosophical basis of yoga.
So now that you’ve been introduced to the basics, why not celebrate this day by attending yoga tester sessions like millions of people around the world?
The fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday. However today, the United States are going to celebrate their flag day, which was first created on June 14, 1777.
On that day the resolution read: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. ”
The first celebration of the U.S. flag’s birthday was held in 1877 on the 100th anniversary of the flag resolution. However, it is believed that the first recognition of the flag’s birthday dates back to 1885, when the school teacher, BJ Cigrand, organised a group of Wisconsin school children to observe June 14. Cigrand is now known as “Father of Flag Day”.
The anniversary of the flag resolution was officially established by the proclamation of the President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. However, the flag day is not considered as an official federal holiday, except for New York and Pennsylvania, which on June 1937 became the first U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday. On the other side, New York statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.
Flag Day parade
The 68th Annual Appleton Flag Day Parade was held on June 9, 2018. Appleton Wisconsin, claims indeed to be the oldest National Flag Day Parade in the nation, which is held annually since 1950. Nevertheless the oldest one probably takes place in Fairfield, Washington, that began in 1909 or 1910.
This year the Appleton parade was preceded by a patriotic concert and flags were handed out along the Parade route one hour before the Parade began.
Nowadays, Parades do not only celebrate the flag. They are also to celebrate the army, honouring men and women that are serving the army forces and also veterans.
If today you feel the Americanism in the air, do not forget the Danish Day Flag tomorrow 15th of June!
Are you aware of your country’s Flag Day?
Here few examples:
Italy: 7th of January
England: 23rd of April
Wales: 1st of March
Scotland: 30th of November
Romania: 26th of June
Canada: 15th of February
European Union: 9th of May
Lithuania: 1st of January
Moldova: 27th of April
Norway: 17th of May
Portugal: 1st of December
Ukraine: 23rd of August