Marketing language blunders...

Jamie’s Not so SMART discussion reminded me of an article I read about the marketing blunder Mitsubishi made in Spanish speaking countries. According to that article Mitsubishi had trouble selling their Pajero car until they realized that pajero was not the right name for a car in Spanish speaking countries.

Also, I think Rolls Royce once offered a model called Morning Mist. When they wanted to launch the car in Germany they were experiencing great difficulties – the word mist exists in German too. However, its meaning is completely different to the English mist

Any other examples of marketing blunders?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening lectures: Which event or development did not strongly influence the history of bread?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten!

Sorry, for the moment I don?t have another example for a marketing blunder. But I thought that as a Rolls Royce is well known for quality and elegance the company could advertise for German “Mist”. :wink: :lol: Seriously, German “Mist” is in most people?s mind something worse and worthless, but if you have a special look at German “Mist” you will see that it has really fine characters. For example, Dutch mushroom-breeders import German “Mist” as the ground for their mushrooms. Or “Mist” from horses is an excellent ground for roses. So, if Rolls Royce were able to find the connection between German “Mist” and their car they could also say: [color=blue] our [size=150]Morning Mist [/size]makes you smell like [color=red][size=150]Roses [/size]. :wink: :lol:

Weren?t that a challenge?


This is not the only case. The most famous one is when General Motors tried to sell the Chevrolet Nova in Latin America, only to find that people found “no va” (doesn’t go) a funny name for a car.

Toyota tried to sell a car called the MR-2 in France. Say that name in French, and you’ll find it sounds like a common cuss word.

Mazda has a van in Japan called the Laputa, but I doubt they made the mistake of selling it under that name in Spanish-speaking countries.

Someone once sent me a CD that he’d packed in a bubble envelope that I think was made in Germany. Someone with bad English pronunciation had created a brand name too obscene to repeat here, but it meant “tap your scrotum”, rather than indicating that the bag was recyclable, as was their intention.

It was the Silver Mist, not the Morning Mist.

Then there are the worldwide company slogans that are in Germlish. Henkel has the slogan “A brand like a friend”, which is just a word-for-word translation of their German slogan, but it sounds strange and a little funny to us.


That car was renamed Mitsubishi Montero in Spain. Another car that would need a new name here is the Nissan Moco (they even have it in the right shade of green :lol: )!


For that same reason, every time I have to say ‘put on’ in my classes, I try to squeeze another word in between!

If you would pronounce “put” correctly, with a lax /u/ instead of a tense one, you wouldn’t have to worry about any confusion.

Are you assuming I’m not pronouncing it correctly :lol: ? Anyway, I feel magnanimous today, so I forgive you :slight_smile: !

(You can be so predictable, Jamie! As I was sending my first post, I swear I was imagining a similar answer from you :slight_smile: !)

It’s not a matter of confusion: even beginners will know/guess that I’m not saying the Spanish swear word or that it has nothing to do with it. But it does sound a bit like ‘that’ word pronounced with an English accent and it’s all the funnier for it!

All I thought was that it couldn’t possibly sound like the Spanish cuss word if it were pronounced right. In my brain those are two different sounds.

Thank you for forgiving me. :slight_smile: