Hightower: Corporate Ads Brand Names

Mark Twain said: "Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising." Yes Indeed, but what Twain couldn't foresee is today's "Global Economy" -- in which many a large thing has been made small by the wrong kind of advertising. As American corporations have become multinational empires, hawking their wares to consumers worldwide, they've learned the hard way that international trade barriers are nothing compared to language barriers. Author Richard Lederer, who keeps up with such things, reports that Pepsi Cola's advertising slogan, "Come alive with Pepsi," didn't work in China, where the slogan was translated as "Pepsi brings back your dead ancestors." And who needs that? Likewise, "Fresca" fizzled in Mexico, where its name is slang for "lesbian." And Coca Cola's name as depicted in Chinese became: "Bite the wax tadpole," Mmmmm... no thanks, I'll just have a beer. Then there's the Braniff Airlines as that once had a Spanish-language ad promoting it's all leather seats. "Sentado en cuero," the ad blared! Fine, but that means: "Sit naked." I think Braniff should have gone with it - might have saved them from bankruptcy. Even kinkier is the Spanish version of Perdue Chicken's famous slogan "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken." In Spanish, the slogan came out: "It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate." But pity Ford Motor Company, which keeps tripping over Mexico's language barrier. Ford's car "Caliente" is slang for "Streetwalker." Ford's "Fiera" truck is slang meaning "ugly old woman." And worst of all, in such a macho country, Ford's "Pinto" is a slang term meaning "a small male appendage."

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