Everyone’s familiar with the branding disaster involved when Chevy tried to introduce its Nova to the Latin American market (“no va” means “doesn’t go” in Spanish).
However, did you know that Pepsi inadvertently tried to sell its cola to the Taiwanese market under the promise that it’d reanimate their grandparents?
According to Brand Failures a book by Matt Haig, Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” came out “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”.
Another example of marketing departments not making localization a priority happened when Gerber made its first foray into the African baby food market. They didn’t bother to translate the English on the jars of baby food, leaving the locals to make an assumption as to their contents based on nothing but the picture of the baby on the labels.
Which is funny because said contents probably do resemble mashed baby anyway.