January 11, 2021
Paula Ribeiro

Expanding our business internationally can be exciting, but in order for this expansion to succeed, it is necessary to attract the international consumer and not send the wrong message, which can not only discourage the consumer from buying your product or service but can also lead to major losses for your company.

Many companies have learned the hard way that an ad or a marketing campaign must be carefully designed for a foreign audience. The translation of a brand message or a company motto, for example, is of paramount importance for a global brand as it can affect a marketing campaign even before it starts.

This was exactly what happened with the "Turn It Loose" campaign by Coors, a popular American beer brand, best known for the mountains in its beer cans that turn blue when frozen. In an attempt to reach the Spanish market with translations from English into Spanish, Coors launched its "Turn It Loose" campaign in a multilingual marketing campaign.

However, Coors marketing executives not only “forgot” do a little market research to confirm if the translated message retained the same meaning as the original message, but discovered that their "Turn It Loose", which in English has an incredibly significant meaning, had a hugely different meaning when translated into Spanish without the proper transcreation. In the end, they got something like “Suffer From Diarrhoea” as a motto for their campaign.

This campaign is used as one of the most blatant examples of companies that have failed to ensure that their brand or campaign messages work in cultures other than the original. It is of paramount importance that the translation retains the original message and that it does not become a commercial nightmare representing millions of dollars in losses.

Paula Ribeiro
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