If you ever have to translate an ad to another language, go with an expert. Some of the largest advertisers in the world have made the mistake of not following this rule and they have paid dearly for their mistakes. Here are a few examples where a direct translation can get you in trouble:
The American Dairy Association was so successful with its “Got Milk?” campaign, that they decided to extend the ads to Mexico. Unfortunately, the Spanish version was “Are you Lactating?”
Electrolux, a Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer, used this headline in the U.S.: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”
Colgate introduced a toothpaste called “Cue” in France, but it turned out to be the same name of a porno magazine.
When Braniff translated a slogan touting its upholstery, “Fly in Leather,” it came out in Spanish as “Fly Naked.”
When Kentucky Fried Chicken entered the Chinese market, to their horror they discovered that their slogan “finger lickin’ good” came out as “eat your fingers off.”
When Pepsi started marketing its products in China, they translated their slogan “Pepsi brings you back to life” pretty literally. In Chinese, it was “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.”
The Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish speaking countries. “No va” means it won’t go in Spanish.