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False Friends

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False friends - marketing
Falsche Freunde im Bereich Marketing


Any good copywriter knows that an average product can benefit enormously from clever wordplay. That's what advertising is all about. However, you want to avoid the laughter being at your expense, or your product flopping because of a flaw in your advertising campaign. Here are some case studies of real product names that might not have transferred well to other markets. Can you tell why?

A car by Vauxhall was called Nova. Few people in Spain bought this model.

Pet milk, a US brand name, didn't do well on the French market.

The Ford Fiera didn't sell well in South America.

Holidaying British people are always tickled to see a coffee brand called Bonka and a white sliced bread called Bimbo.

A gourmet German chocolate and fruit bar Zit might not be popular in the UK although it sells in the US under that name.

Bottled water called Asco doesn't sell well in Spain.

Loka bottled water doesn't do well in Finland.

Pokari sweat is a Japanese drink sold in Europe as Gatorade.

Nordic Mist, a bottled tonic water, does not sell well in Germany.


"No va" means "doesn't go" in Spanish.

"Pet" is French for "to break wind".

"Fiera" is a Southern American word for an "unattractive elderly woman".

Try asking someone in Britain "Would you like to Bonka?" to see what happens! ("To bonk" is vernacular English meaning to copulate - and Bonka sounds like "bonk her"). A "bimbo" is a person, invariably female, who is superficial yet attractive.

A "zit" in English is a pimple or acne.

"Asco" in Spanish means "disgust".

"Loka" is Finnish for "dirt".

English speakers do not find the name "sweat" on a drink bottle very appetising.

"Mist" is not something Germans like to drink.

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false friend - marketing

Erstellt am: 04.08.2009 13:05, Letzte Änderung: 30.07.2020 13:00

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