Historically Epic Fails in Hispanic Marketing

Marketing to the Hispanic population doesn’t always mean directly translating your current strategy into Spanish. Take a look at some memorable mishaps from well know companies as they attempted to better connect with their Hispanic audience.

  • In 1969, Chevy replaced the name of its Chevy II compact car with a new name, the Nova. Until March 2011, it was widely believed that the Chevy Nova didn’t sell well in South America because the words “No va” literally mean, “it doesn’t go.”
  • In 2006, the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) launched their popular “Got Milk?” campaign in Spanish: “¿Tienes Leche?” However, the campaign did not reach the Hispanic market as intended since their attempt at translating “Got Milk?” resulted in the phrase “Are You Lactating?”
  • In 1987 Braniff Airlines started pushing out to potential customers the concept of new leather seats. There US campaign was “Fly in Leather.” Unfortunately, the Spanish translation for their audience in Mexico, “Vuela en Cuero,” actually meant “Fly naked.” The promotion may have appealed to some flyers, but it was not quite what Braniff was shooting for.


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