A brand blunder is an error associated with
the branding of a product, especially a new
product in a new market. Reasons for such
slips include the lack of understanding of
language, culture and consumer attitudes in
the new market.
There are numerous examples of brand
blunders in marketing history; there are also
numerous urban legends surrounding brand
blunders, where there is little evidence of an
An April 2002 Starbucks ad featured twin
cups of their Tazo drinks with the caption
"Collapse into cool" and an airborne
dragonfly, imagery and wording which
reminded many of the recent 9/11 attacks.
Though the ads were created ...view middle of the document...
"Kiri", a brand of cheese from the French
company Groupe Bel was renamed to "Kibi"
in the Iranian market because in Persian the
word "kiri" refers to the penis, but is also
used to describe something rotten or rank.
The Honda Jazz was initially named the
Honda Fitta. However, when marketing
collateral reached the Swedish office of the
company, it was pointed out that "Fitta" is a
slang term for "vagina" in Swedish and
Norwegian. The model was renamed "Jazz"
for most markets, with the name "Fit" being
used in Japan, China, and the Americas.
A name given by IKEA's Chinese website for
its stuffed wolf toy Lufsig, Lo Mo Sai (路姆
西), contained a homophone of Hai (閪), a
profane Cantonese word meaning "vagina";
the name itself could be written as Lo Mo
Hai (老母閪), meaning "mother's vagina".
Ayds diet candy launching a mass marketing
campaign just before the start of, and
continuing through the early years of, the
Urban legends about brand blunders are
popular, because they use familiar urban
legend motifs such as the incompetent
corporation or the ignorant foreigner. Often
the reality is far less dramatic, and the
stories, which are even retold in marketing
textbooks, are rarely backed up by
researched data about sales.
Electrolux: Scandinavian vacuum
manufacturer Electrolux sold products
successfully in the United Kingdom using
the slogan "Nothing sucks like an
Electrolux". The slang disparagement "sucks"
is an example of Americanism, so
many Americans think this is an example of
such a blunder. The Electrolux slogan used
in the UK was produced by the English
agency Cogent Elliot, not a Scandinavian
Pepsi: Pepsi allegedly introduced
their slogan into the Chinese market...