Culture Problems

In order to keep the same identity throughout the world, many companies stick with the same marketing campaign and brand message in every country. However, this occasionally creates difficulties as we see below:

KFC in Hong Kong

KFC’s ‘finger lickin’ good’ is used the world over to highlight the tastiness of the product. However, when the phrase was translated into Chinese for the Hong Kong market, it came out as ‘eat your fingers off’.

Vicks in Germany

Vapour-rub manufacturer Vicks failed to attract much custom for its products in Germany. The problem was that ‘V’ is pronounced as an ‘F’ in German, meaning Vicks sounds like the German equivalent of the ‘f’ word.

American Airlines in Mexico

When American Airlines decided to advertise the luxurious aspect of flying business class to their Mexican customers, they thought it would make sense to focus on the leather seats. So they used the slogan ‘fly in leather’ which, in Spanish, read ‘Vuelo en Cuero’. What the Spanish dictionary had not informed is it also is a slang term for ‘in the nude’.

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