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Big language mistakes in choosing brand names


Champollion
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Why do some companies launch a new product in a country with a brand name that is totally unsuitable or even taboo? It really doesn't take much effort to do a teeny bit of homework and ask the locals if the word is ok.

Famous examples:

Mitsubishi launched a new jeep called the Pajero in Spain, which is a very naughty word.

Opel realised that their Nova means "it doesn't go", so quickly changed it to Corsa.

Ford equally tried to sell the Ford Taurus in Germany as the Ford Mist, which is almost just as bad as the Pajero in Spain.

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Well, it could be two thing. One, maybe their trying to draw attention with those names, but I think this is unlikely. Two, maybe they've just hired lazy people. I don't think it would take that much time to research the possible meanings of a word in the country you're going  to sell a product which uses that word for a name. Or maybe they didn't know in which countries they were going to sell them, but examples like Germany don't really support this statement.

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This is the third foreign country I have lived in. I agree that this is simple research that needs to be done ahead of time. I could still understand how these kinds of mistakes could slip through the cracks. Cultural differences don't always show up in translation. It also depends on the culture. But, sometimes other countries citizens aren't very willing to share some of this more secret information about curse words. It is hard for us to understand as Americans. But, the world is a much bigger and different place than we realize sometimes.

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That is crazy!

I think they just don't think or do sufficient research, but they definitely should when hitting the international market! How hard is it to Google something or to ask someone who speaks the language?

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Hahahaha!!!!!  :laugh: I laughed so hard at the word ''pajero''.  I really wonder if those companies do that on purpose?  Maybe as some kind of marketing stunt?  Who knows! 

I can't believe they do this by mistake, I mean someone in their company must speak either Germany or Spanish or whatever other language where they launch their new products.  They keep doing similar things, and I believe ''pajero'' was no mistake  :laugh:  What a way to attract your attention!!  Hehehe!

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The problem was, Trellum, that the mother company back in Tokyo took an awful long time to change this, which meant more than a few embarrassed people were driving around with a big sign saying PAJERO emblazoned across their radiator, haha! :laugh:

When I was working in France a few years ago there was a soda drink called Pschitt which was very popular. I had some trouble in bringing myself to ask for a bottle of Pschitt.

And in Spain I came across cheese snacks in a packet called Bum. Very bad in British English, but I believe "bum" has a different meaning in the States, meaning "vagabond" or hobo", right?

But these aren't really marketing mistakes, because they were local stuff, and both brands were onomatapeic names: Pschitt sounded like the soda bubbling up,and Bum is pronounced in Spanish as BOOM, an explosion.

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Well, I had to translate pajero to know what you were talking about and indeed was a huge flaw from Mitsubishi!!! We have that car here in my country with no issues, but I suppose that word works for all Spanish countries no?

Nova means it doesn't go in what language?

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From what I've seen Japan is the king of taking english words and making completely ridiculous things with them. Just type 'worst english fails in japan' into google and you can have hours of fun looking at them. It really makes me want to take a trip there just to see if there are legitimate businesses with crazy english names.

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It is something that should be taken seriously.. I wonder how a company manages to break into a foreign market without someone native to that market saying something about it. Nevermind all the names that are already offensive in foreign languages they know nothing about.

Have you ever been to Germany, Rosa? You'd probably by suprised to see folks wearing climbing gear by a company called Rasclat. Wii-U, that stinks.

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Sometimes people overlook things and the same goes with big companies. Car makers need to launch their vehicles worldwide and there are a lot of countries. There are many other things to prepare so usually they just let the name be as soon as it's decided. It's very common these days, get the product out into the market first and worry about the problems later.

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Well, I would think, if you have any interest in your product selling, in a particular country, you should do your research.

What would be the point of changing the name of your product, to suit a different country, only to find out it's a bad word? Even on a marketing standpoint, the money you would have to spend to have the name changed, wouldn't be worth it.

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That's a nice find. Although for us here in the Philippines, Pajero means car. I had no idea it was used as a naughty word in Spain. Especially since we were under the rule of Spain for more than 300 years.

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I think that these companies just really didn't do enough research before they started to release that brand in that certain country. Over here in my country, Pajero is quite a common car, but I didn't know that it is a naughty word in Spain? Now I'm enticed to Google what it means.

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I can  understand a mistake with a smaller company.  I worked in a large corporation and it seemed every decision went through several departments (marketing, accounting, legal, etc.)  Guess some of these slipped under the radar...Funny but sad no one figured it out first.

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