September 9, 2021
Paula Ribeiro

What’s in a name? What’s in a brand? Well, when badly localized into another language and culture, there can be a lot of headaches and money lost!

A poor understanding of the cross-cultural differences when we are trying to market our brand in a different language and culture can result in an unsuccessful campaign, or even worse, in an offensive one. Marketing mistakes can mean a loss of profits but can also damage our company’s name and reputation in ways that one could never imagine or foreseen.

Many companies have learned the hard way that an ad or a marketing campaign must be carefully designed for the 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. Learning about the culture of the new market is something that should be considered during the strategic marketing planning campaign, as was the case with the first advertising commercial of Perdue Farms which featured the CEO himself, Frank Perdue and the humorous slogan, ‘It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.’ the advertising agency responsible for the campaign came up with.

Perdue Farms started in 1920 as a family-owned company and is a very popular brand in the United States. They had developed their special feeds that used marigold blossoms as one of the ingredients which made the chicken’s skins golden yellow in appearance.

As this advertising campaign was very successful, they decided to enter the Spanish speaking market with it. But, and due to the lack of a proper translation and localization, the success of the campaign and the brand was not replicated. In Spanish, the tagline translated into something sexual and rude as on billboards all over, Perdue proclaimed something like ‘It takes a hard man to make a chicken affectionate’. It is not easy to translate a marketing campaign from one country and one language into another, simply because they belong to different cultures. The solution? Contact a specialist to get the help you need to localize your translations and avoid making costly mistakes when globalizing your brand.

Paula Ribeiro
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