October 1 1992 by Chief Executive
PEPSI, PLEASE, BUT LOCK THE DOOR
If a product is to be sold internationally, the brand name must be tested for its suitability in each language and culture in which it’s marketed.
Failure to take that precaution has resulted in some classic marketing bloopers: When Coca-Cola first arrived in China, the name was mistranslated into Chinese as “Bite the wax tadpole.”
Rival Pepsi had similar problems with its slogan “Come Alive,” which came out in Taiwan as “Pepsi-Cola will bring back your dead relatives.”
And Monty Python’s Flying Circus was inadvertently dubbed “Gay Boy Dragon Show” in Japan.
-Bob Papoe, Toronto Star
These two scenes are straight from Rio de Janeiro’s Global Forum, the Earth Summit’s sideshow in June:
“Look!” You can cook fish too,” says Robert Metcalf, a U.S. professor and entrepreneur, excitedly explaining his sun-heated cooker to a bemused African. “It’s delicioso.”
On a nearby square, a woman disguised as a cow screams as a blood-stained apron-clad man bearing a huge meat cleaver pretends to slaughter her-all in defense of vegetarianism.
-Rose Gutfeld and Thomas Kamm, The Wall Street Journal
A large sign above the Houston Shoe Hospital, at a shopping center not far from the wealthy River Oaks neighborhood, reveals the politics of pain, Republican style:
“Topsiders Resoled Here.”
-The New York Times
Despite a readiness to break with the manners as well as the policies of the Soviet era, Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin was in full conformance with the Communist commissars’ old preference for dark suits rather than formal evening wear at the G-7 black-tie dinner at the old royal Residenz in Munich. Yeltsin wore a new, double-breasted, double-breasted, dark gray suit-and a brown tie.
“A tux? I don’t think he owns one-none of us do,” a Russian diplomat said. “In fact, I don’t think you can buy a tux in Moscow.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly A. Sobchak has worn a custom-made tuxedo to several dinners in his city recently, however, and Russia’s nouveau riche are beginning increasingly to escape the old Soviet drabness by dressing up.
“We used to think they were the uniforms of fat capitalists,” the Russian diplomat said of tuxedos. “I guess that was another stereotype.”
-Joel Havemann, Los Angeles Times
“I once traveled to the Peruvian Amazon to visit an intern in a program I helped manage at Cornell University. She invited me to have dinner with a native tribe, and I accepted. The ‘menu’ involved a choice of monkey or rat. I asked what monkey tasted like and was told ‘a bit like llama.’ I passed on both.”
-Richard R. West, Stern Business
MEET YOU IN THE MIDDLE
New U.K. environmental regulations require industry to use BATNEEC to clean up its act. This stands for best available technology not entailing excessive cost. Industry has responded with CATNIP-cheapest available technology not involving prosecution.