Advertisement Campaigns Lost in Translation


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The advent of the internet era coupled with the increase in globalisation has enabled brands to transcend physical boundaries with only a click of a button. Gaining new foreign markets can be an appealing opportunity for firms and brands; however, it also increases the chances of a brand getting entangled in marketing blunders.

A brand that is popular in the United Kingdom may not necessarily obtain similar success overseas. This is due to differences in culture, religion, lifestyle, and beliefs that different populations or countries share. This means it is essential to consider what your brand’s message translates to in various societies and research its impact on various foreign markets

Failing to recognize your company’ brand message in international markets can have an adverse effect on your brand. It may also cause confusion among consumers of what the brand represents or the product being sold. An Ad campaign also has the potential to backfire and fail miserably if certain words are mistranslated in different languages since certain products or brand messages can be offensive in certain cultures. The negligence of poorly translation can cause loss of profit and significant campaign recall.

There are multiple hilarious yet detrimental examples of just how horrible Ad campaigns can get when mistranslated. For example, Unilever Germany started a campaign for their foodstuffs using the English catchphrase “F**k the Diet,” without considering that the F-word in German is slang for “let it be.” This ad campaign ended up failing miserably

Other massive companies including PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have encountered huge unintentional translation blunders with their catchphrases. Another example is KFC, whose popular catchphrase “finger-lickin’ good” was misinterpreted by Chinese citizens since it meant something cannibalistic.

Even though companies dedicate millions to international ad campaigns, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they use skilled translators. With the above few examples, it is clear that it is important to be keen during translations to avert these types of expensive mistakes.

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