Getting it right – first time


Zest soap

Zest soap is marketed in China, not as a waker-upper but as a pleasant aid to sleep. Most Asians do not sweat so they shower at night to wash away the dirt of the day.


Schweppes Tonic

In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into Schweppes Toilet Water.



In China, the Pepsi slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” was initially translated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.”


Fawlty Towers

In the Fawlty Towers TV show, aired in over 60 countries; the waiter in the UK original was called Manuel from Barcelona, In the Catalan version he was Manuel from Mexico, in the Spanish version he is Paolo from Italy!


Cultural differences

Red is speed and passion in the West while in India it equates to purity. White prevails for western weddings but is for funerals in Asia. Yellow indicates cowardice here but stands for courage in Japan.


Heineken Beer

Heineken Beer posters that humorously compared people urgently needing refreshment on the left side with the amazing effect of the beer on the right – did not communicate too well in the Gulf States where people read Arabic from right to left!



Coca-Cola uses two formulas (sugar or corn syrup) for all markets. Packaging in every country uses the iconic contoured bottle and ribbon design in some way, shape, or form. However, the bottle will also, at minimum, include the country’s language and be the same size as other beverage bottles or cans in that country.



McDonalds menus include the McCrocket in Holland, McSpaghetti in The Philippines, McLaks in Norway or the McVeggie and McAloo Tikki in India.



Philips began to make a profit in Japan when it reduced the size of its coffee makers to fit into smaller Japanese kitchens and its shavers to fit smaller Japanese hands



Campbell’s sells soups that match the tastes of local consumers, like duck-gizzard soup in Guangdong, China, while in Poland, it offers flaki, a peppery tripe soup.


Fresh cake

If you want to sell takeaway Cheesecake in Japan; use ice pouch packaging and have a gift-wrapper on hand.


prop·a·gate (prp-gt)

1. To cause (an organism) to multiply or breed. 2. To transmit (characteristics) from one generation to another. 3. To extend to broader areas or larger number; spread. 4. To make widely known; propagate a message.