Monday, November 21, 2011

Packaging, branding and stuff

When Popps had her first Christmas I unopened all the toys first and removed the forty thousand wires that the Little People seemed to require to keep them in place, because trying to do it all on Christmas morning was going to be no fun.

Brands spend major mega bucks on packaging and branding and trying to make you buy their product. If you hate the packet, rarely will you even bother trying the product.

Some brands have been lazy and just use the same words/colours/packaging in different countries and the lack of research is quickly shown.

Apologies to marketing people who have seen these a thousand times, but here are some of the brand/packaging bloopers from the past:

Ford was not able to market its popular Pinto in Brazil in the late '70s when it learnt that pinto is Portuguese slang for "tiny penis." It sold the Corcel instead, the Portuguese word for "horse." 
In China, Coca-Cola was initially rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. In different dialects the phrase translated as "female horse stuffed with wax" or "bite the wax tadpole." Coke replaced it with the much better Ko-kou-ko-le or “happiness in the mouth". 
Pepsi's late '60s slogan, COME ALIVE WITH THE PEPSI GENERATION was mangled in a Mandarin translation as PEPSI WILL BRING BACK YOUR ANCESTORS FROM THE DEAD. 
Parker marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico with ads that were supposed to say, IT WON'T LEAK IN YOUR POCKET AND EMBARRASS YOU. But because of a bad verb choice (they thought embarazar meant "embarrass"), the ads instead said, IT WON'T LEAK IN YOUR POCKET AND MAKE YOU PREGNANT. 
In China, KFC's slogan IT'S FINGERLICKIN' GOOD somehow got mistranslated as EAT YOUR FINGERS OFF. (Not that this slogan was ever really that great anywhere). 
Gerber's sweet, smiling baby-food-jar baby backfired horribly in Africa: Because of high illiteracy, Africa's consumers are used to seeing a product’s contents pictured on the packaging.
So when new milk bottles, in a new designed package got delivered to my door I initially wondered why they bothered. Sure I can always do with more milk but the packaging I was set to try just seemed to be like UHT Milk with a slanted top.

See, you can hardly see the new slanted top design that works so well.

But it was much more than that, some clever little milk and cookie eating designer has made the packet much easier to pour, also the seal was easier to open than usual UHT packaging. (And it isn’t UHT, it is fresh milk).

This is important to me, as I seem to have some kind of arthritis pain constantly in my fingers, every day stuff that I just do can cause mild pain. The kind that you just have but get on with things.  This packaging did not require strength in your fingers and hands.

Most of my readers may not find any benefit in this, but older people or people with joint pain may want to give it a try.  Especially if they are like Mr H and despise UHT milk and only want the fresh stuff – though I would bet a Tiffany’s diamond he could never tell the difference. Or if you care for an older person this product would actually allow them to pour milk a little easier. Something pretty small which could make a difference to making a cuppa tea without the mess.



  1. So interesting. I was LOLing at the translations! I'm fascinated by marketing and when brands get it right.

  2. I love these lost in translations. Gold.

    And now I want to see if I can find that milk.


  3. I spotted those new cartons in the supermarket milk fridge the other day. Even though they were in the fridge, which clearly identifes that they are not UHT, I couldn't bring myself to buy a litre because it was too UHT like. I went for the regular shape bottle. #creatureofhabit

  4. I can think of many cars that should be labelled 'tiny penis'!!

  5. Ohhh thanks for sharing those 'lost in translation' moments. I had a good giggle.

    And thanks for sharing this. I've not seen these yet but will be keeping an eye out for them.

  6. we dont have fancy milk like that up here {yet} but taking the packing off all the toys at christmas is seriously brilliant!

  7. My girls are 6 & 8 and we still remove all the packaging from toys. Saves a Christmas morning meltdown.

    I love the new milk cartons - Annie has bendy joints and spills milk everytime she uses it. These new cartons were fabulous, no spillage and much easier for her to hold / open.


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