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5 Global Marketing Failures (How Localization Could Have Saved Them)

Are you ready to expand and begin doing business on an international scale by building a well-crafted global marketing strategy? 

You've already perfected your branding guidelines, marketing messaging, and campaign efforts in your home market. Now it's time to take it to the next level. 

Here at LinguaLinx, we help clients all over the world translate their websites and documents (from legal to healthcare to educational) into 98% of the world's known languages. We can help you avoid your message getting "lost in translation" within your international market. 

 Global marketing mistakes happen as a result of many factors, but failing to utilize professional and certified translation and localization services can mean costly, embarrassing translation mistakes in a brand new market.

This article covers funny translation mistakes - global marketing blunders - for some big, big companies and show how everyone can benefit from localization as part of their translation services.

5 Marketing Messages Lost in Translation 


During its expansion into the Chinese market, Pepsi crafted "Pepsi Brings You Back To Life." While this slogan packs a punch in the US market, the Chinese market was less than thrilled.

Pepsi's slogan was perceived as "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From The Grave," which not only lacks a sophisticated marketing flare but also hits a sore spot with Chinese consumers, who culturally hold a great deal of respect for their ancestors.

It's no wonder that Pepsi quickly retracted its marketing efforts on this campaign.


Their clever slogan "Turn It Loose" used US-based slang to drive a solid marketing campaign. The problem arose, however, when Coors tried to take this same slogan to the Spanish market.

Coors slang statement translated into various forms of the expression "Suffer from Diarrhea." Not exactly what you want to hear when choosing your next beer. 



Even one of the world's best-known banks can suffer from a severe translation failure. Their five-year-old slogan "Assume Nothing" translated into "Do Nothing" when they took it overseas.

This simple mistake cost the bank millions, and resulted in a complete re-branding to "The World's Most Private Bank."


American Motors

When American Motors launched the "Matador"- its newest midsize automobile- it came as a big surprise when the product name resulted in a costly translation mistake.

Without even getting to the marketing messaging, "Matador" had already resounded as "Killer" in Spanish.

Paired with the infamous hazardous roads in Puerto Rico, the "Matador" did everything but instill confidence within Puerto Rican consumers.



Ever wondered how "Every Car Has a High-Quality Body" translates into the Belgium market? Ford can tell you.

The slogan- meant to depict Ford's consistent manufacturing quality- actually translated into "Every Car Has a High-Quality Corpse."

Undoubtedly, this is not what Ford meant to say- but demonstrates the need for accurate translation and localization.

How could language services have prevented these global marketing nightmares?

"Straight forward translation may seem to be the easiest route to take, but you'll get more bang for your buck by investing in a language service provider who relies on native speakers to interpret or transcreate your catchy slogan into the language of your market. Doing so will ensure that your slogans are translated accurately and that the spirit of the message is captured and expressed in a culturally significant way. Not only will you reach your target audience, it also demonstrates that you care about their values which in turn creates an emotional connection. "

- Lilly Kahrs, Senior Project Manager

Localization Services

In this article, you learned about 5 major marketing blunders that could have been avoided by utilizing localization. 

 LinguaLinx works with companies around the world to help localize translations to your customers so you deliver the right message at the right time.

With Lingualinx, you won't ever have to worry about your message getting across. You know you're in good hands with our ISO 17100 compliance, twenty years of professional translation experience, and the organizations whose trust we've earned.

To chat with us about your language translation needs, click on the link below.

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