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Advertising

advertisingAlmost every brand has a tagline. And some brands have multiple taglines for multiple products, including Proctor & Gamble, Pepsi, and Chrysler Jeep. You may not have given this much thought, but what happens when some of America's greatest taglines are put through the translation filter? It's not actually as cut and dry as simply hitting the translate button, due to different cultural references. For instance, in some countries it is common practice to put a picture of the product inside the can on the label. Imagine how they would react to baby food or dog food!

So, we went through the advertising archives to find some of the best examples of tagline crash-and-burn. Although it's funny, it's also very expensive to these companies (and embarrassing to the copywriters). If they don't do their homework, they could end up paying millions of dollars in reprint costs, re-shoots and "apology ads."

Here's the list, in no particular order. We start with the most famous of the last few decades.


Brand: COORS

Tagline: TURN IT LOOSE!

AH, who doesn't love an ice-cold beer on a hot summer day? The tagline from Coors, Turn It Loose!, was based around setting the flavor of Coors free. Alas, the Spanish translation made people think they were setting something else free:

Spanish Translation: SUFFER FROM DIARRHEA





Brand: PEPSI

Tagline: COME ALIVE WITH THE PEPSI GENERATION

Sounds great, doesn't it? In fact, it's not a million miles from some of the taglines being used by today's energy drinks. However, it didn't go down to well in China. After it was put through the translation machine, it came out as:

Chinese Translation: PEPSI BRINGS YOUR ANCESTORS BACK FROM THE DEAD

 


Brand: KFC

Tagline: FINGER LICKIN' GOOD

Mmm, mmm, mmm. Which meat-eating connoisseur doesn't like to tuck into a plate of hot, crispy fried chicken? Well, once again this tagline fell foul of Chinese translation, becoming something quite the opposite of tasty:

Chinese Translation: EAT YOUR FINGERS OFF





Brand: PARKER PENS

Tagline: IT WON'T LEAK IN YOUR POCKET AND EMBARRASS YOU

Not the catchiest tagline but it's a straight-up brand promise. After all, who wants nasty ink stains on their crisp shirts and blouses? But the folks at Parker made one small snaffoo. They thought the Spanish word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Nope. And this is how the ads ran in Mexico:

Spanish Translation: IT WON'T LEAK IN YOUR POCKET AND MAKE YOU PREGNANT!





Brand: MILK

Tagline: GOT MILK?

It's one of the most famous, and most copied, taglines ever. We all know it. However, Latin consumers also got to know it for all the wrong reasons. They must have thought the American Dairy Association were smoking something very strong when this came out:

Spanish Translation: ARE YOU LACTATING?





Brand: COCA COLA

Product: COCA COLA

Another example of things going haywire in China. In the 1920s, Coca Cola decided to export its product to China, but wanted a name for it that sounds similar to the English pronunciation. After some back and forth, they went with a phonetic translation, and the result was quite confusing:

Chinese Translation: BITE THE WAX TADPOLE





Brand: ELECTROLUX

Tagline: INGENTING SUGER SOM EN ELECTROLUX.

You are forgiven if you don't know what the tagline means. It's Swedish, and comes from the home of Sweden's famous vacuum cleaner manufacturer Electrolux. However, when they used the tagline in the USA, it translated well with one unfortunate drawback - in the USA, "sucks" has more than one meaning:

English Translation: NOTHING SUCKS LIKE AN ELECTROLUX





Brand: GENERAL MOTORS

Tagline: BODY BY FISHER

Body By Fisher is not actually a tagline but a sub-brand of GM. It was basically responsible for a lot of the bodywork done on GM cars (and was bought out by GM in 1925). Of course, there was a glitch with the name. This time, it was Belgium that had the problem, and it's not something that makes any car alluring:

Belgian Translation: CORPSE BY FISHER





Brand: FORD

Product: PINTO

Again, not quite a tagline, this was the model of a car you know all too well. But in Brazil, it's not a bean. Well, not unless you're talking about "the frank or the beans." Yes, PINTO was probably the most insulting name you could give a car. They changed ito to the CORCEL, which means HORSE. Good thing too:

Brazilian Translation: TINY MALE GENITALS





Brand: PERDUE'S CHICKEN

Tagline: IT TAKES A TOUGH MAN TO MAKE A TENDER CHICKEN

Perdue's chicken has been producing its products since 1920, and put himself on TV saying the infamous tagline "it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken." Lovely play on words…in English. Of course, when it got translated into Spanish, something went awry, and Frank was saying something best put in the WTF Category:

Spanish Translation: IT TAKES AN AROUSED MAN TO MAKE A CHICKEN AFFECTIONATE





Brand: OTIS ENGINEERING

Tagline: COMPLETION EQUIPMENT

Otis Engineering has significant ties to Halliburton, and so it's a different kind of scandal that usually rocks the boat here. However, when Otis was asked to take part in a Moscow exhibition, it did so, and got a little help from the translation department. It probably had the most interest its ever had in its products:

Russian Translation: EQUIPMENT FOR ORGASMS





Brand: CLAIROL

Product: MIST STICK

What is it? Not a deodorant but a curling iron. Clairol launched the product in Germany under the same name, not realizing that "mist" is manure in that country. Sales of the product were appalling:

German Translation: MANURE STICK





Brand: HUNT-WESSON

Product: GROS JOS (Baked Beans)

At last, a flub that didn't actually hurt sales! And you'll soon see why. When Hunt-Wesson launched its brand of baked beans in Canada, it was surprised at the sales figures. They didn't realize that the term means, well, see for yourself:

French-Canadian Translation: BIG BREASTS





Brand: McDONALD'S

Product: BIG MAC

If you've ever watched Pulp Fiction (and if not, why not?!) you'll know the whole McDonald's issue with the Royale With Cheese. It turns out, of course, that there's another issue on the table. Big Mac, translated into French, became Gros Mec. And this means something very different:

French Translation: BIG PIMP





Brand: BRANIFF AIRLINES

Tagline: FLY IN LEATHER

Oh, what a promise. In 1987, Braniff Airlines introduced some very new and stylish leather seats to their planes. The tagline seems perfectly fine, until it's translated into Spanish. Then, it's a proposition that most of us would not want to happen, at all:

Spanish Translation: FLY NAKED




Local Advertising

local advertisingCell phones are as much a part of our everyday lives as televisions were thirty years ago, and radios thirty years before that. We don't go anywhere without them. We can use them to buy products, connect with friends, check the news, the weather, play games, and so much more.

Mobile Ads Were Slow to Start, Quick to Catch Up

Now, when the Internet first started to take hold of the mass-market consumer, it changed advertising in a big way. Unlike most forms of advertising in the past, the Internet offered instant gratification and fulfillment. Click a banner, go to a website, buy your product. PayPal even made the whole process seamless.

With mobile advertising, just like the Internet, the uptake was slow. And the ads were more intrusive than effective. Quite often, creative in ad agencies had no idea what to do with those phone message ads. But times are once again changing. The impact of ads on cell phones just as the banner stands for banners could be as big as the impact that the Internet had on newspapers and magazines, despite the brave front they are putting up.

The Impact of Mobility on Advertising

Cell phones travel with you. And with most phones having GPS(global positioning system) technology, your phone can be served with geographically relevant ads. All of a sudden, you're getting lunch deals and coupons from a restaurant that's 30 seconds away. You could even be sent those ads 15 minutes before lunch. Now that is not just targeted advertising, it's coming from a sharp-shooter.

Here are just a few of the places that advertising can impact you, immediately, via your cell phone:

In the aisles of the grocery store
Outside of a movie theater
At the food court of a mall
In a book or music store
At a car dealership
At the DMV or any other government office
A toy store (especially around the holidays)

To keep up, the traditional advertising methods are going to have to stay on top of trends like that. You may see more and more ads that contain QR barcodes (a barcode that consists of squares instead of vertical lines). An ad in a magazine could contain a code that, when scanned, will send a relevant, local ad to your phone. It could be the directions to a local dealership if the ad is for a new car, or a coupon for a sandwich at a local deli.

In Mobile Advertising, Instant Purchasing Power Makes All the Difference

There's also instant purchasing power to take into consideration. Just like the Internet, mobile advertising can give you the power to see and buy, on the spot. A great example of this recently emerged using QR codes on bus-shelter ads for the fashion chain H&M. In it, ads showed actual products that could be purchased, with a QR code next to the outfit. Taking a shot of that code led the user to a store on their cell phone that asked for a size and color and took them straight to the check out.

Mobile is The Perfect Partnership of Technology and Advertising

A recent TV ad also showed a guy changing his train ticket via his phone, instantly, to sit next to his future wife on the train. Great, but imagine the possibilities. Technology could detect where you are at any given time and deliver discount tickets to you, be they for rock concerts or vacations. You may have just been walking past that concert hall, but your phone is linked to you and your likes and dislikes. Now, advertisers can marketers can tap into your personal life, find out what music you have listed on your Facebook page, link it to the city you're in, your current location, and get you a ticket to a show starting on one hour. It's not fiction, it's all quite possible.

Is Mobile Advertising Changing the Future of Traditional TV and Radio Spots?

Will the industry have to change the way they look at them? Well, yes, and no. The big Superbowl spots of the past few decades will still have their place. Branding is branding, and a captive audience of that scale is never going to be passed up. But what they feature could very well change.

Ads that interact with cell phones could shift the conversation away from a pure branding exercise to one that has a trackable ROI (return on investment). Imagine a $2 million beer commercial that asks everyone to take a snapshot of the screen and, in return, gets a free beer credited to their phone; one that can be used at a liquor store or sports bar. Now that would have serious impact on the advertising community.

The Bottom Line for Mobile Ads - Adapt or Die

Traditional advertising always has to make this call. And when money is calling the shots, adaptation is essential. Mobile phones in places like Japan are everything to people. They are going in that direction in most other countries as I write this article. A regular TV spot that doesn't include mobile phone promotions or linkage will take a back seat to ads that incorporate the lifeline of every consumer. The mobile phone is king. The industry will bow down to it, or fall behind quickly.

Online Advertising

online advertisingDefinition: If you see an advertisement via the Internet (World Wide Web), then it is classified as online advertising. In fact, there are ads on this very page, and most other websites you visit, as they are the primary revenue driver for the Internet.

From banner ads (including rich media banners) to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social networking, email marketing, online classified ads, site takeovers, and even SPAM, online advertising is one of the fastest growing ways to reach an audience.

Costs of Online Advertising

There are hundreds of different advertising models online, but most fall under one of the following THREE categories. No doubt every ad you have seen online today was paid for by one of these methods:

CPA (Cost Per Action) - In this model, all the risk in on the publisher of the ad. The advertiser only pays the publisher if someone clicks AND completes a transaction.

PPC (Pay Per Click) - The most common form of online advertising as it behooves both parties. The advertiser pays when someone clicks on the ad, but they do not have to complete a purchase for the publisher to get paid. Under this model, target keywords are highly important.

CPM (Cost Per Mille) - More commonly known as CPT (Cost Per Thousand), the advertiser pays for exposure based on visitors to the website and eyes on an ad. If a website gets two million visitors per day, and the ad is seen on 50% of those pages, then a CPM of $2 would be equal to $2000.

Types of Online Advertising

To list them all would take forever, but here are some of the main ways that advertisers are getting to consumers with an online buy:

Banners ads (these include skyscrapers, full banners, squares and buttons)
Adsense (these are the ads served to consumers via Google, by showing ads relevant to the information on any page).
Email advertising (and SPAM)
Facebook Ads
YouTube Ads
Sponsored Tweets
Website Takeovers
Rich Media Ads
Pop Up Ads(also pop-unders)
Pre-video ads
Blogging

A Quick Word About SPAM

You know doubt know the terms, and are even more familiar with the actual product. SPAM is derived from a classic Monty Python sketch in which everything on the menu in a small cafe consisted of Spam. This bombardment with Spam became synonymous with the way unsolicited emails bombard the inboxes of consumers.

When email marketing was relatively new, SPAM was rife. However, anti-spamming laws have cut down a lot of this traffic, with fines and other punishments being dished out to the guilty parties. It hasn't stopped it entirely though, with Spammers becoming more sophisticated, and also finding ways past anti-spam filters.

Another form of SPAM is phishing, which includes the vicious 419 fraud. However, this goes beyond the realms of advertising and into something that is both highly illegal and potentially life-destroying.
 

 

 

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