These are the nominees for the Chevy Nova Award. This is
given out 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 go."
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
4. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling
iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is
slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "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
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 makes 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
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