You may have heard about some of the classic cases where marketing went wrong. Remember Pepsi's slogan "Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation"? In Taiwan, that translated as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead." KFC's "Finger Lickin' Good" translated in Chinese as "Eat your fingers off." And then there was Sweden's famous vacuum-cleaner promo: "Nothing Sucks like Electrolux." Here are a few lesser known marketing failures to enjoy. Marketing and advertising execs take note. This is just a small sample. With nearly a billion people speaking English as a first, second or third language and 800 million international trips taken in the last year, companies are international whether they plan to be or not. Plus, according to Wikipedia, there are over 133 regional varieties of English, 12 types of official English pidgins and creoles, and 27 or newfangled blends, such as Chinglish (Chinese and English), Spanglish, and Swinglish. The lingual landscape is changing before our eyes. How do you keep these fails from happening to your company? As I've counseled while showing this collection on the lecture circuit, one of the best ways is to familiarize yourself with the most common gaffes. This helps train your brain for every misinterpretation and double entendre. One little mistake and you may have trouble reigning in that viral brand-damaging campaign. Have a great failed marketing sign? Send it in at www.signspotting.com
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