In September of 2006, Clairol (hair products company) introduced a curling iron called the "Mist Stick". Here in the US, the product went flying off the shelves; selling out in several places. Then the Clairol executives decided they wanted to introduce there new product to Germany. Well, the problem was that "Mist" in German slang means "manure" or "excrement." So, Clairol introduced Germany to the "Manure Stick". This product was a complete failure, because Clairol failed to translate the name of the product in German to make sure they weren't offending anyone or giving there product a bad name. This has been a problem for other companies in the past; there products mean something totally different in the US than it does in another country.
Some of the Worst Ad translations in history:
General Motors's Chevrolet Nova car in Spanish in Central and South America: "No va", "It Doesn't Go"
Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" in Mexico: "Are You Lactating?"
American Airlines new leather first class seats ad campaign in Mexican market: "Fly In Leather" meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero)
Gerber used same packaging in Africa as in the US: smiling baby on the label in Africa indicated what was inside (many people can't read)
Pepsi "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" slogan in Chinese: "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors" Back From the Grave
Parker Pen's slogan "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you" in Mexico: It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."