Ad Slogans Lost in Translation

July 27, 2004 by

“It takes a sexually aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.” – Purdue Farms
“Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.” – Pepsi
“Suffer from diarrhea.” – Coors

These are just a few of the mistranslated ad slogans from mega campaigns over the years. Perhaps you have heard them in their intended form…

“It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken.” – Purdue Farms
“Come alive with the Pepsi Generation.” – Pepsi
“Turn it loose.” – Coors

Mark Lasswell, in his Business 2.0 article titled “Lost in Translation,” points out the haunting realities of marketing in a multi-lingual and multi-cultured world. A Web site by Harold Reynolds also highlights some silly slogans from the past that are no laughing matter for the mega-bucks that went into many of these campaigns.

While companies often hire translation services and run native-speaker checks when creating a campaign, the reality is that words, phrases, and concepts do not always transfer so well to other countries and cultures.

How does your church communicate with the community you’re in? Do the people in your surrounding areas know you the way you think you should be known? Are you the church with the loud music? The cheesy sign? The frustrating parking?

Often times what you’re communicating is getting lost in translation. When you say you’re the “church that never sleeps,” how come no one answers the phone? When you say your church has “something for everyone,” how come the youth ministry is not growing?

Perhaps the next time you communicate who your church is to people, try running it through a few “translation services.” If Coca-Cola can figure out how to communicate to the other side of the world, certainly your church can communicate to the people across the street.

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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One Response to “Ad Slogans Lost in Translation”

  • Phil
    May 29, 2016

    It would be interesting to find out “the message we think we are sending out” vs “the message people are receiving!”

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