DailyDirt: Advertising Mistakes; Hilarity Ensues

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Advertising is a tricky business. Not only do you not know where half your marketing budget goes, but it's possible to waste 100% of your advertising with an innocent mistake. It's tough to try to make funny and catchy ads, and not everyone has the same sense of humor. Here are just a few examples of some ads that have backfired. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 5:16pm

    Math is hard

    Barbie and Pizza Hut share a common quirk of not enjoying math:


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  2. identicon
    Lozine, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 5:29pm

    I hate pizza but I love math. That's offensive! I'm suing!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    wallow-T, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 5:42pm

    My story: Two months ago I tried to order a baseball cap in a certain size and color with the logo of my favorite MLB team, from a sports-logo-stuff dealer.

    The web page accepted my order, and two days later I got email and a phone call. Whoops, sorry, we sold out of the size which fits your fat head.

    OK, stuff happens, no money lost, let's move on with life.

    EXCEPT that every damn day that same sports-logo-stuff dealer's web ads pop up on several pages I am reading, and half the time they are advertising the very hat I tried to buy!! So, every day I get reminded that I'm a little pissed at this company, because I still want my hat, dammit.

    Apologies for the cussing.

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  4. icon
    Greevar (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 5:44pm


    "People love pizza. They don't love math"

    It's beginning! Ow! My balls!!!

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  5. icon
    Dementia (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 5:56pm

    So who's to say that teacher's rights aren't at odds with student's interests?

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  6. icon
    Digitalistically Speaking (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 9:20pm

    I like Math.

    I like Pizza.

    I don't like Pizza Hut!

    They play games with their prices all the time and they make more mistakes at the register than any store I have ever been in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Wally, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 9:22pm

    More advertising mistakes :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Derek D, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 9:24pm

    Chevy Nova

    The Chevrolet Nova was not a success in Spanish-speaking countries. That's because in Spanish, "no va" means, It does not go!

    If my lemon was typical of the breed, that would be the most truthful labeling in automotive history. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Greevar (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Chevy Nova

    Actually, the literal translation is "it does not go". "Va" is the Usted form of "ir" which implies the word "it".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    A Guy (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 9:44pm

    Well, I'm never ordering from pizza hut again. Papa Johns on the other hand is great.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Wally (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 9:50pm

    More failures...

    When Mitsubishi launched it’s Pajero 4WD in Spain they had the shock of a lifetime. As they were promoting Pajero they forgot to take into account the word “Pajero” means “jerk” in Spanish.

    The famous fried Chicken hub KFC’s slogan “finger-lickin good” when marketed was translated into China as“eat your fingers off.” Oops!
    GEC and Plesssey had a join company in France which was called GPT. When GPT is pronounced in French, it sounds as “Jay-Pay-Tay” which is similar J’ai pete, which means ” I have farted.”

    When Puffs tissue started marketing their tissues in Germany it didn’t do so well. The reason – Puff means “brothel” in Germany.

    When Italian mineral water company promoted their mineral water Traficante it was a failure because the word “Traficante” means “drug dealer” in Spanish.

    When Bacardi launched a fruit drink named Pavian they meant French chick, but when they promoted it in Germany the same word meant “Baboon.”

    Electrolux had to take their slogan down which read “Nothing sucks like Electrolux.”

    When Ford tried selling it’s car “Pinto” in Brazil it was a huge failure. The reason - the word “Pinto” is a slang for small penis in Brazil.

    Parker pens slogan “Avoid Embarassment – use Quink,” when translated into Spanish came out as “Avoid pregnancy – use Quink.”

    When Hunt – Wesson introduced their Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos, they forgot to note one thing, Gros Jos is the slang for “big breasts.”


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  12. icon
    Panda (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 10:45pm

    Re: Chevy Nova

    This didn't happen. It's an old joke by comedians.

    Spanish words can change meanings with a diacritical (accents), punctuation, or a space. So we know the difference between Nova and no va.

    Pòrque = because
    ¿Por que? = why?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Panda (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 10:56pm

    Re: More failures...

    >Parker pens slogan “Avoid Embarassment – use Quink,” when translated into Spanish came out as “Avoid pregnancy – use Quink.”

    That's a bad translation. (not saying YOU did that)

    Embarazo is pregnancy. Not quite the same. Are you saying Spanish speakers mis-read the English? That's a possibility. If Parker would have labeled their product in Spanish, the translation would be Evita la vergüenza, not Avoid embarazo.

    But I digress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Torg (profile), Jul 10th, 2012 @ 4:27am


    At the very least, the teachers' rights that their unions push have been toxic to student interests for a while now. Schools not being able to reward good teachers, being nearly unable to fire bad ones, and in some areas principles can't check what's going on in a classroom without giving the teacher advance notice. Of course, the teachers that benefit from that don't want others to see it that way.

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  15. identicon
    abc gum, Jul 10th, 2012 @ 5:26am

    pizza volume

    pizza radius = z
    pizza height = a

    pizza volume = pizza

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    diadmer, Jul 10th, 2012 @ 8:10am

    KFC ad is stupid, not offensive

    What bothers me about the KFC ad isn't that it teaches bad manners (pleeeaaase) or makes fun of people with speech impediments, unless perhaps you're talking about the very small percentage of the population who is ONLY able to speak when they have food in their mouths. Curious how KFC thinks they all work at the same call center...

    Anyway, what bothers me about the ad is that it's stupid and ineffective. The hook (people singing with food in their mouths) is somewhat memorable, but the message they want you to take away requires too big a leap in logic. The food is so good that I won't want to stop singing a ridiculous song about it with my co-workers, so I'll stuff my mouth completely full of the food? Is that really what I, Joe Consumer, am supposed to remember?

    The pacing is terrible, too, with a painfully long (5 seconds is VERY long in a commercial) sequence right near the beginning with one of the women humming (no information conveyed) while we watch a chip getting dipped.

    And doing the voice-over at the end in stuffed-mouth talk as well? That's just wasting your VO and your time. And it, and the whole commercial, violates one of the most important rules of advertising: never leave your audience feeling the OPPOSITE of what they should feel. In the case of a food commercial, you want to leave them hungry, or excited, or tempted. You do NOT want them to feel revolted, thinking about all of the disgusting people they know who cram their mouths FULL and then try to talk or SING. Honestly, who takes bites that big in the first place?

    Awful, stupid, terrible commercial. D-, try again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Wally (profile), Jul 10th, 2012 @ 5:20pm

    Re: Re:Unions

    The purpose of a Teachers' union is to give them benefits that they normally wouldn't have becauae most state workers at the public school level dont get them. Contributions are out of the teachers' pockets and not your tax dollars.

    If someone has a problem with a teacher, then it is up to the parents to get to the bottom of the issue. 9 times out of 10 teachers are considered bad because students that don't like a specific one have not done well to behave in class and are subsequently punnished. Now, if you are talking about private schools, no problem. Otherwise you are wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2012 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re:Students' interest

    Teachers work hard to give a free education in a public school system. In order to cater to certain special intersts in schools have to spend a lot more for an individual than they do a group. Often times it is out of the teacher's own pocket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Torg (profile), Jul 10th, 2012 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:Unions

    I'm not talking from a parent's perspective here. I'm talking from a principal's. There are bad teachers and good teachers, and the rules in place make it nearly impossible to favor the latter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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