5 Global Marketing Failures (how localization could have saved them)

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You've spent years building a solid branding strategy that has likely brought your business growth and profitability. You've perfected your branding guidelines, marketing messaging, and campaign efforts in your home market. And you're ready to expand and start doing business in international markets by building a well crafted global marketing strategy.

But do you know how the language in your marketing translates 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. These funny translation mistakes made global marketing blunders for some big, big companies and show how everyone can benefit from Localization as part of their translation services.

Learn how business giants have found themselves in hot water after discovering that their money-making language got seriously lost in translation.

 

Pepsi

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.


Coors

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. 


HSBC

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"- it's 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.


Ford

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

 

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