Just for fun I wanted to do a post about some of my favorite marketing and branding mistakes, as well as show you Facebook’s diagram for connecting people for sex. Some of these might be marketing myths and others are true, but they are all fun and ones that I’ve heard over the years. Feel free to leave your favorite ones in the comments section, but make sure to source it if you are claiming it is true.
Three Marketing Mistakes that I learned about in College.
Coca-Cola in China – When coca-cola moved into China, they forgot to look up what some of the translations were. In a few regions it ended up meaning “Bite the wax tadpole”. They didn’t sell a ton of them. Snopes says that this is partially true.
Gerber Baby Foods in Africa – When Gerber Foods opened up in Africa they kept their labeling like they have in the USA with the picture of a baby on the label. In some of the regions of Africa where they were trying to sell the product the people were illiterate and had no way to know what was carrots or vegetables or what. Instead they relied on images on the packages to tell them what was inside. Unfortunately for Gerber, not many of them wanted to eat mushed up babies. Mary White at LovetoKnow mentioned this same marketing mistake in a post.
Chevy Cars in Mexico – Everyone in the USA knows who Chevy is and many people love the trucks. However, when they decided to move to Mexico with some of their cars, one of them was the Chevy Nova. In Spanish, va is a conjugated form of the verb Ir which means to go. When you add the word no to it, the meaning now becomes No Go, or to the Mexican people it was a car that wouldn’t go anywhere. Sales started off pretty slow and they changed the name for Mexico. Unfortunately for the people who like this story, it is apparently not true according to about.com. In some Latin American countries sales actually exceeded expectations.
One Marketing Mistake I learned at Trivia Night.
KFC selling chicken in China – We all know and many of us love KFC. Their wedge fries, original recipe and honey barbeque wings are awesome. They sell great snack versions of sandwiches and many people love their pulled bbq sandwiches as well. Unfortunately when they went into China they forgot to look at what their slogan meant. In the US we all remember finger licking good, in China it was “Bite Your Fingers Off”. Thanks but I’d rather have the sandwich than my fingers. This may be true according to Bizenstein.
One Marketing Mistake I heard and looked up.
Coors Light in Spain – When Coors decided to use one of it’s slogans “Turn it Loose” in Spain, there was a slight issue with the translation of the slogan. Instead of meaning turn it loose, it meant “Suffer from Diarrhea”. Although funny to think about, not the diarrhea, you’d probably get a kick of out seeing that on a billboard, especially with all the people having fun they used for the “Tap the Rockies” commercials. Apparently this one may be true according to Socialnomics.
One Marketing Mistake that I noticed with friends after hearing someone say it when we were out.
Facebook pushing sex around the world – Facebook apparently has another goal in mind, besides connecting people to socialize. Apparently they may also want to connect people with the subliminal message of sex around the world. Although this is fake and I’m pretty sure is not one of the goals of Facebook, how could you argue with their log in page which I took a screen shot of this morning and connected the people with? This is definitely something made up, but a fun marketing mistake which you can still go and see for yourself as of this morning. Facebook.
Marketing mistakes are always fun to hear about, as long as no one got hurt. When they go really bad like some of the ones above, sometimes the extra publicity can actually help them increase sales because people get a good laugh at the incorrect messaging. The incorrect messaging can also cause their brand to be remembered and if they run a good campaign after already have peoples’ attention.