I’m putting the final touches on my presentation for Content Marketing World in Sydney next week. I’ve been collecting examples of content that didn’t quite make the cross over from one region to the next. Sometimes it’s an epic fail like this quote from Thomas Edison that got chewed up and spit out in too many translation cycles:
Other times, the language makes perfect sense but doesn’t support the brand, like this sale I saw advertised at a Ralph Lauren store in Bali a few years ago.
Or, the content has obviously been developed by someone who is not a native speaker for your region. As a result, the text is accurate but looks so amateurish it makes a poor impression in the eyes of the consumer.
Failing to appreciate colloquialisms
But often globalisation problems have nothing to do with translation. Disney really stepped in it with this cookbook for English speaking countries outside of the USA.
The headline in this article from my local paper got a huge chortle from American visitors who didn’t know parrots could be promiscuous. (The accompanying photos didn’t help when it appears council workers are overly eager to connect with the parrot.)
Lost for words
While I can appreciate it’s difficult to market your company in a different region, being at a loss for words isn’t really effective, either.
Shamed by your own content
While these examples are funny in many ways, if you’re trying to establish your authority or influence consumers, you might just end up shaming yourself and doing more brand damage than you imagined.
Where to find help
I’ll be outlining things you can do to avoid experiencing problems like these in your own marketing and providing a lot more examples. If you haven’t already registered for Content Marketing World Sydney, why not do it now? There’s still time and if you use Global100, you’ll get an additional discount. I hope to see you there.
Lastly, special thanks to Glenn Murray from Divine Write who loves this stuff as much as I do. Many of these examples were found in Google+ communities he fosters and manages.
What globalisation disasters have you seen? I’d love to have more examples so please share.