The history of advertising is full of translation fails. Some of them are not completely true however, “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux” is often touted as a failed slogan translation. Legend has it that the Swedish vacuum manufacturer used it for a campaign in the US when in fact, the target was the UK market only. The agency that created it was from the UK, and the pun was intended.
However, real translation horror stories do exist. Like the one involving a Ford model named Pinto. After launching it in Brazil, Ford realised that Pinto in Portuguese is a slang term for penis.
When talking about food products in particular, getting your translations right will be the first step towards a successful launch into a new market, but it won’t stop there. To attract local consumers, there is a good chance you will have to adapt other elements of your brand, such as the logo, packaging design, product formulation and (if you have a bricks-and-mortar business) even store layout. This holistic approach is called localisation. Read more