Saturday, July 22, 2006

Reason #5 to know foreign languages. . .

. . .foreigners will make fun of you when you name your product with a name that has a different meaning in their language. Case in point. Guillermo, of the blog Argenautas gets a kick from car names that mean something entirely different in Spanish. He points to these marketing geniuses in his post, kindly explaining what means what. Please note the link leads to a Spanish language source, so in the interest of enlightening our non-Spanish speaking friends, and to give some laughter to my Spanish speaking friends, allow me to give you the gist of Guillermo's post.

For instance, there is the Mitsubishi Pajero, which has since been renamed the Montero. A pajero is a wanker in Spanish. Yes, you read that right, someone who indulges in self-pleasure. Those guys you see in libraries now and then doing certain things in front of the public access computer, they are pajeros. Then again, given the photo Guillermo posts of a Pajero with a nice model on the hood. . .well, maybe we should not go there.

Next is the Nissan Moco. I am sure to many readers it looks like a nice little four door car in basic green. What can possibly be wrong? Well, in Spanish a moco is a booger. Yes, that stuff you pick out of noses that often comes in what color? Green. And according to the marketing campaign, "you can leave it anywhere." Yea, right. Moving right along.

However, the winner of the big prize is the Mazda Laputa. Now, some readers may say, well, what is the big deal? Is not Laputa that mythical place in Gulliver's Travels? Sure, that is true. However, in Spanish, Laputa can mean "la puta," which is Spanish for the whore (or prostitute, or lady of the night for the squeamish). Guillermo has a field day with this, and so did I when I read it. Mazda's marketing says it all, and I am translating from Guillermo's points:
  • Laputa has improved her safety and expanded her interior for better client comfort.
  • Her body is designed to resist frontal impacts.
  • You can select from an ample array of colors.
  • Laputa practically remains at the same price level.
Things that make you go hmm. I hope I don't need to draw readers a map for this one. Next time, make sure someone reads over your marketing.

A hat tip to the Global Voices blog.

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