Brand names that don't export well.

Adland: 

We've been discussing brand names that don't export well on adlist this week. Some things can have names that people in other countries may misunderstand. It all began with this can above.

To which I exclaimed "personally I'm simply horrified that it comes in a can and is microwavable." but UK adlisters assured me that it's actually pretty decent. American and other adlisters meanwhile, were rolling on the floor laughing.

The UK does have a few of these not possible for US export food gems, such as:
six faggots

But really, Americans aren't much better I mean they serve:
sweet salty nuts

And lets not forget the Swedes who brought us the giggletastic classic "plopp" which makes everey UKer I know fall into gigglefits. It's a small chocolate bar with a creamy caramel center, obviously.
plopp

Snickering aside. There's a serious side to brand names that don't export well. Take for example the Australian brand Coon. If you sold this in the United states, you bet people would be offended, but in Australia Coon isn't a slur* - in fact it's the last name of Edward William Coon who founded the company.
coon
* see comments, it appears I was incorrect. Apologies.

This brings us to "Darkie" toothpaste over in China. The Wikipedia tells us how the name evolved from Darkie to Darlie after the 1985 merger with US corporation Colgate-Palmolive.
However, the Chinese name of the brand, "黑人牙膏" (in English, "Black Man Toothpaste"), has not changed; a Chinese-language advertising campaign reassured customers that "Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste". This is because the term "黑人" does not have any negative meaning in Chinese. The phrase 黑人(hēi rén) in Chinese is a general term for persons of African descent. The wiki explains: "Because of the contrast with very dark skin, it was a common perception that the teeth of people of African descent were exceptionally white." White teeth is what we all want from a toothpaste and looking at it from that point of view, it makes sense but obviously wouldn't sell well in any country with a more mixed population.

I can't explain this name at all. I don't know what it is. I don't think that I'd ever dare to eat it. That has got to be the shittiest brand name in the world.

Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to eat some of my snacks and try not to giggle when I misread the name on this bag for the umptebillionth time.
nut sack

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (36)

  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Oh dear, I forgot my Danish Candy. This is good stuff. ;)

    (I also have the black logo on a giant soft fleece which I have in my toddlers pram for heat/sudden picknic ideas. It gets a giggle from most other moms also on the park-path).

    Apr 18, 2008
  • evil_tony's picture
    evil_tony

    There is a great brand of pies in South Africa (Cape Town more specifically) called Beavers Pies.

    There was also a flavour of crisps which was a little odd - "Cheesy sausage". Strangely it did not last very long before being pulled off.

    There is also a Christian bookshop called "Cum"?

    Apr 26, 2008
  • PubADdict's picture
    PubADdict

    There's a good example of a Spanish product that wouldn't translate well to the Portuguese market, although they tried do enter it. I'll translate the meaning (apologies for the language I'm about to use).

    The product, a line of ready made meals, is called in Spanish "La Broche de la Pila", which in Portuguese means "Blowjob of the Dick"!

    Apr 18, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Gee, you'd think that would sell really well!

    Apr 18, 2008
  • alex's picture
    alex

    I'm quite keen to know what other kinds of blowjob there are.

    Apr 18, 2008
  • Allan1's picture
    Allan1

    A local radio show** has sort of created a new one - a Blowgie - where the guy eats a hoagie* while getting a blowjob.

    * Hoagie = Submarine Sandwich = Sandwich on a long Italian roll, with miscellaneous meats, cheeses, etc. A Philadelphia favorite.

    ** The Preston and Steve Show, which also boasts an ice cream named after a catch-phrase of theirs: Gadzooks! (and now Gadzooks! Blanc), which they devised and is produced by Bassetts Ice Cream, and distributed locally by WaWa.

    Apr 18, 2008
  • malkie66's picture
    malkie66

    Dabitch, I've heard "Kukident" - a German denture toothpaste, means "dick in mouth" in Swedish. Can you confirm?

    Apr 18, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Negative. Kuk is slang (much like cock) but for it to be "in mouth" you'd need Kukimun. "I" is "in" but dent is nothing, well except "dent" in english and if you add an "e" it'll be tooth/teeth in Italian.

    Apr 18, 2008
  • RLDavies's picture
    RLDavies

    We've seen the Shitto Sauce on TV, in an interview years ago with somebody who collects this sort of thing. It's a kind of meat sauce, and looks pretty much like the name suggests. It was served with Pee Cola, which comes from the same country (Uganda, I think).

    I recently bought the book Shelf Life by Rosie Walford, which I can recommend most heartily.

    Apr 19, 2008
  • Kilteddude's picture
    Kilteddude

    In Northern VA there is a car sales chain named after the founder's last name. "Koons of Manassas" When I first moved there I was shocked, but no one thought anything of it.

    And spotted Dick is actually pretty good once you get past the name.

    Apr 21, 2008
  • tfjules's picture
    tfjules

    This post gave me a good chuckle, it is so true. When I am doing my weekly grocery shopping it seems I always go down the aisle that has a few cans of spotted dick on the shelf. This seems to add a bit of humor to my day.

    Apr 21, 2008
  • darkphoenix's picture
    darkphoenix

    "but in Australia Coon isn't a slur"

    For the record, this is not correct. Over here, "coon" is used as a derogatory term for Aboriginals. A few years ago we heard of an Aboriginal activist who tried (unsuccessfully) to get Kraft to change the name of their cheese...

    http://www.stephenhagan.net/about.php

    Apr 22, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Oh, I had no idea - I naivly thought the word didn't exist in Australian English. Sorry about that, I've put a strike through the text.

    Apr 22, 2008
  • Andreas-Udd's picture
    Andreas-Udd

    I'm afraid to ask, but I can defend my ignorance with the fact that English is my second language. What on earth does coon mean?

    Apr 22, 2008
  • Zunken's picture
    Zunken

    I was in Fuldar Germany and saw a car dealership Assmanshausen which I thought was hysterical untill I came to Minnesota where I found Kuntz Chevy/Buick of Coon Rapids. What is it with car sales that makes you have to have the worst names?

    Apr 22, 2008
  • Neo's picture
    Neo

    What about really bad shapes?

    Jul 03, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    BWAHAHAHAHA! Those are awesome! Me wANT!

    Jul 04, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Oi, y'all I need to get me some more of these PMS BREATH MINTS

    Aug 21, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Jesus, this thread will never die, right? :))

    Sep 26, 2008
  • Andrew Weiss's picture
    Andrew Weiss (not verified)

    Australia also has: "Golden Gaytime" Ice cream bars.

    Sep 07, 2011
  • atb2005's picture
    atb2005 (not verified)

    Cheesy Poofs

    Sep 10, 2011
  • atb2005's picture
    atb2005 (not verified)

    Shitto is a product from Ghana. It's “a gravy made from dried pepper, smoked dried fish, dried shrimp power, a variety of spices, ginger, onion, garlic, tomatoes and seasoning.”

    Via Ghana also comes this other product, called Pee Cola.

    So we've got Shitto and Pee Cola.

    Sep 10, 2011
  • atb2005's picture
    atb2005 (not verified)

    Remember the AYDS diet candy commercial? No "disastrous brand names" post is complete without it. In fact, this is arguably the worst brand name ever invented!

    Sep 10, 2011
  • atb2005's picture
    atb2005 (not verified)

    Andrew Weiss previously mentioned Gaytime. Here's a recent Gaytime commercial, which is umm pretty gay.

    Sep 10, 2011
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Should be noted that's a students spec job, not a real ad. :)

    Sep 10, 2011

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