Bacardi concocted a fruity drink with the name ‘Pavian’ to suggest French chic … but ‘Pavian’ means ‘baboon’ in German. –
A hair products company, 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 stick.
When Coca Cola was first introduced into China they named it Ke-Kou-Ke-La. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax”, depending on the dialect.
Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent: Ko-Kou-Ko-Le, which can be roughly translated as “happiness in the mouth.” (have you seen what it can do to teeth?).
Coors the American brewer lost its fizz in Spain when their hip phrase “Turn It Loose” came out as “Get Diarrhea”.
When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that “no va” means “it won’t go.” After the company figured out why it wasn’t selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.
Marcel Rigadin reports that Toyota makes the MR2, which in France is pronounced “merdé” or spelled ‘merdeux’, means “crappy”.
Götzen in Turkey .
The european hardware store chain “Götzen” opened a mall in Istanbul. “Göt” means “ass” in Turkish. They changed the name to “Tekzen”.