Friday, August 05, 2005

Bite the wax tadpole, and others

Translation problems sometimes cause international marketing blunders.

And sometimes it doesn't even take words.
Samarin is a Swedish over-the-counter remedy for upset stomachs. (Like Alka-Seltzer.) A few years back they used ads that looked like comic strips with no text. There were three pictures. The first was a man looking sick, grasping his tummy. On the second picture he drank a glass of Samarin and on the third picture he was smiling again. The ad campaign was a success in Europe.

However, when the company ran the ad in Arabic-speaking newspapers they did not do too well. I guess that they didn't know that in those countries people read from right to left....

The title of the post "Bite the wax tadpole" comes from a famous marketing boo-boo by Coca-Cola when they entered the Chinese market in 1928. It's discussed in more detail here.
(via Life of Levi)

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