The Nova Awards in Communication These are nominees for the Chevy Nova
Award, named in Honor of the GM's fiasco in trying to market this car in
Central and South America "no va" means, of course, in Spanish, "it doesn't
So much for translations!
- 1. The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?"
prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their
attention the Spanish translation read "Are you lactating?"
- 2. Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was
read as "Suffer From Diarrhea"
- 3. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an
American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux"
- 4. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany
only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure.
- 5. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same
packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they
learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of
what's inside, since many people can't read.
- 6. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a
notorious porno magazine.
- 7. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish
market which promoted the Pope's visit Instead of "I Saw the Pope" (el
Papa), the shirts read "I Saw the Potato" (la papa)
- 8. Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi
Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.
- 9. The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Bite
the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax", depending on the
dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic
equivalent "kokou kole", translating into "happiness in the mouth."
- 10. Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a
tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to
make a chicken affectionate"
- 11. When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were
supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you."
The company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to
embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you
- 12. When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first
class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its "Fly In Leather"
campaign literally, which meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.
THE SAGA OF MANAGEMENT REVIEWS OF REPORTSQuestion: How many feet to mice have?
Original Reply: Mice have four feet.
Mgmt comment: Elaborate.
Revision 1: Mice have five appendages, four of which are feet.
Mgmt comment: No discussion of fifth appendage.
Revision 2: Mice have five appendages; four of them are feet
and one is a tail.
Mgmt comment: What? Feet with no legs?
Revision 3: Mice have four legs, four feet, and one tail per
Mgmt comment: Confusing. Is that a total of 9 appendages?
Revision 4: Mice have four leg-foot assemblies and one tail
assembly per body.
Mgmt comment: Does not fully discuss the issue.
Revision 5: Each mouse comes equipped with four legs and a
tail. Each leg is equipped with a foot at the end opposite the
body; the tail is not equipped with a foot.
Mgmt comment: Descriptive but not decisive.
Revision 6: Allotment for mice will be:
FOUR LEG-FOOT ASSEMBLIES, ONE TAIL.
Deviation from this policy is not permitted as it would
constitute misapportionment of scare appendage assets.
Mgmt comment: Too authoritative, stifles creativity.
Revision 7: Mice have four feet; each foot is attached to a
small leg joined integrally with the overall mouse structural
sub-system. Also attached to the mouse sub-system is a thin
tail, non functional and ornamental in nature.
Mgmt comment: Too verbose and scientific. Answer the question.
Final Revision: Mice have four feet.
Mgmt comment: Approved.
Web page spun on 13 January 2000 by
B Gilkey 202 Deady Hall,
Department of Mathematics
University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1222, U.S.A.
Deady Spider Enterprises