about the author

claymore Creative Director, copywriter and ad connoisseur that has been riding the wild surf of advertising in style, panache and grace for two decades.

Comments (7)

  • Dabitch's picture

    hehehe - Okay Clayton, You go buy the LaCrosse, and I'll go buy the honda fitta - and pretty soon we'll be beating off people who wants rides... *grin*

    Oct 18, 2003
  • claymore's picture

    ...am I reading the last half of your post like I think I'm reading the last half of your post!?


    Oct 19, 2003
  • Dabitch's picture

    yes you are, this gutter isn't big enough for both our dirty minds.

    Oct 19, 2003
  • EricR's picture

    The article linked mentions the oft-cited example of the Chevy "Nova" translating to "doesn't go" in Spanish, which is something of a falsehood. "No va" does means "it doesn't go", but the word "nova" means the same thing in Spanish as it does in English - the explosion of a dying star. So the name probably didn't really have much effect on sales in Spanish speaking countries.

    Oct 24, 2003
  • Dabitch's picture

    yeah that nova-myth is really persistent as of late, even though Snopes tried killing the myth a few years back.

    First of all, the phrase "no va" (literally "doesn't go") and the word "nova" are distinct entities with different pronunciations in Spanish: the former is two words and is pronounced with the accent on the second word; the latter is one word with the accent on the first syllable. Assuming that Spanish speakers would naturally see the word "nova" as equivalent to the phrase "no va" and think "Hey, this car doesn't go!" is akin to assuming that English speakers woud spurn a dinette set sold under the name Notable because nobody wants a dinette set that doesn't include a table.

    * Although "no va" can be literally translated as "no go," it would be a curious locution for a speaker of Spanish to use in reference to a car. Just as an English speaker would describe a broken-down car by saying that it "doesn't run" rather than it "doesn't go," so a Spanish speaker would refer to a malfunctioning automobile by saying "no marcha" or "no funciona" or "no camina" rather than "no va."

    Oct 25, 2003
  • adlib's picture

    BBC.uk just picked this up (on Thursday) and have some more funny car names:
    Buick 'masturbation' car renamed.
    Red-faced officials at General Motors in Canada have been forced to think of a new name for their latest model after discovering it was a slang word for masturbation.
    GM officials said they had been unaware that LaCrosse was a term for self-gratification among teenagers in French-speaking Quebec.
    They are now working on a new name for the LaCrosse in Canada. The car will go on sale next year to replace the Buick Regal.
    More recently, Mitsubishi had to change the name of its Pajero model in Spanish speaking countries, where the word is a slang term for "masturbator".
    While Toyota's Fiera proved controversial in Puerto Rico, where fiera translated to "ugly old woman".
    And Ford didn't have the reception it expected in Brazil when their Pinto car flopped.
    They then discovered that in Brazilian Portuguese slang, pinto means "small penis"

    Oct 27, 2003

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