This is the “Blushing Blunders” edition of our Oops Reel. It’s one thing to end up with an unintended connotation but another for it to be wildly inappropriate. This reel should surely get you thinking about your global name validation process.
A New Meaning to the ‘Messy Hair Look’
It wasn’t until Clairol translated “mist” into German that executives figured out why the initial launch of Clairol’s Mist Stick curling iron in Germany was unsuccessful. “Mist” means “manure,” which was pretty much the last thing that women might be seeking for their hair. Source: Business News Daily
As a way to enter the highly-competitive consumer personal computer market, Panasonic chose Woody Woodpecker as the brand mascot of its new machine. As they integrated the theme throughout the device, the company named the device itself “The Woody,” its touch screen feature “Touch Woody” and its automatic web browsing feature “The Internet Pecker.” Needless to say, many Americans were left blushing. Source: Gulf Business
Birthday (not Business) Suit Flying
Braniff Airlines got in trouble in 1987 with its “Fly in Leather” campaign, which was promoting its luxurious leather seats. While the campaign was popular in the U.S., the airline ran into a snag when it introduced it in Latin America. The Spanish translation, “Vuela en Cuero,” was appropriate throughout much of Latin America but it had different connotations in Mexico where the expression also means “Fly Naked.” Not everyone wanted to fly in their birthday suit. Source: Business News Daily
Sharwoods, the Asian food company, launched its “Bundh” sauces with a reported £6m advertising campaign. The company received a number of calls from Punjabi speakers who told them that the word “bundh” was very similar to the Punjabi word for “arse.” Source: PR Week
Racy Stuffed Animal
Ikea accidentally took a scandalous route with a children’s toy when it selected a Chinese name (Lufsig) for a stuffed Big Bad Wolf grasping a grandma adorned with glasses. In Cantonese, the name sounded similar to a word for a mother’s private parts. As you can guess, the name was changed. Source: Ad Age
All of these embarrassing mistakes could have been avoided with the appropriate global name validation services. Don’t be caught blushing!