Provided by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida
1. Coca-Cola as originally translated into Chinese - "Bite the wax tadpole."
2. "Pepsi Comes Alive" as originally translated into Chinese" - "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave."
3. Sign erected by Japanese citizens in Tokyo, when MacArthur was considering a run for President. - "We pray for MacArthur's erection."
4. From a guest directory at a Japanese hotel, 1991 - "You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid."
5. Perdue chicken ad, as mistranslated. - "It takes a virile man to make a chicken pregnant." or "It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate."
6. Frank Licht, then governor of Rhode Island, campaigning for McGovern in 1972. - "Nixon has been sitting in the White House while George McGovern has been exposing himself to the people of the United States."
7. Translation of John F. Kennedy speaking at the Berlin Wall. - "I am a jelly doughnut".
8. Chevy Nova ad in Central and South America.- "No va" in Spanish means, "it doesn't go".
9. The Dairy Association's ad "Got Milk?" in Mexico. Spanish translation"Are you lactating?"
10. Coors slogan, "Turn It Loose," - In Spanish, "Suffer From Diarrhea."
11. Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
12. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany. Translated as "Manure Stick."
13. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
14. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I Saw the Potato" (la papa).
15. Parker Pen's ball-point pen ad in Mexico, translated as "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant!"
16. American Airlines ad in the Mexican market, translated as "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero).
17. Plumber's signs: "We repair what your husband Fixed." "Don't sleep with a drip, call your plumber."
18. Pizza shop slogan: "7 days without pizza makes one Weak."
19. At a tire shop in Milwaukee: "Invite us to your next blowout."
20. Door of a plastic surgeons office: "Hello, can we pick your nose?"
21. Laundry: "How about we refund your money, send you a new one at no charge, close the store and have the manager shot. Would that be satisfactory?"
22. Sign at the psychic's hotline: "Don't call us, we'll call you."
23. Towing Company: We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."
24. Billboard on the side of the road: "Keep your eyes on the road and stop reading these signs."
25. Electricians truck: "Let us remove your shorts."
26. Nonsmoking Area: "If we see smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate
27. Optometrists Office: "If you don't see what your looking for you've come to the right place."
28. Maternity Room Door: "Push, Push, Push."
29. Taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."
30. Podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."
31. Butchers window: "Let me meat your needs."
32. On a fence: "Salesman Welcome, Dog food is expensive."
33. Car Dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."
34. Muffler Shop: "No appointment Necessary, we hear you coming."
35. Hotel: "Help! We need inn-experienced people."
36. Reception room: "We shoot every 3rd salesman, and the 2nd one just left."
37. Veterinarians waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes, Sit! Stay!
38. Electric Company: "We would be de-lighted if you send in your bill. However, if you don't you will be."
39. Computer Store: "Out for a quick byte."
40. Restaurant: "Don't stand there and be hungry, come on in and get fed up."
41. Restaurant front door: "Eat and get out."
42. Bowling Alley: "Please be quiet, we need to hear a pin drop."
43. Funeral home: "Drive carefully, we'll wait."
44. Counselors office: "Growing old is mandatory, growing wise is optional"
45. Rowenta iron label: Do not iron clothes on body.
46. Boots Children’s cough medicine label: Do not drive car or operate machinery.
47. Hair dryer label : Do not use while sleeping.
48. Bag of Fritos label : You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.
49. Bar of Dial soap label: Directions: Use like regular soap.
50. Frozen dinner label: Serving suggestion: Defrost.
51. Hotel-provided shower cap label: Fits one head.
52. Tesco's Tiramisu desert label: Do not turn upside down. (Printed on the bottom of the box.)
53. American Airlines packet of nuts label: Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.
54. Japanese food processor label : Not to be used for the other use.
55. Swedish chainsaw label : Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.
56. Marks & Spencer bread pudding label: Product will be hot after heating.
57. Nytol sleep aid label: Warning: may cause drowsiness.
58. Korean kitchen knife label: Warning keep out of children.
59.Chinese made Christmas lights label: For indoor or outdoor use only.
60. Sainsbury's peanuts: Warning: contains nuts.
61. The bathroom scale manufacturer was proud of his new model being introduced at a trade show. “Listen to these features: it’s calibrated to one-one hundredth of a pound, it can measure your height as well, in feet or meters, it gives you a readout via an LED or human voice simulator, and that’s not all...” “Very impressive,” interrupted a none-too-slender sales rep for a chain of home furnishing stores, “but before I place an order I’ll have to try it out.” Be my guest,” said the manufacturer. But no sooner had the sales rep taken his place on the scale than a loud, very human-sounding voice said “One at a time, please, one at a time.”
62. A famous celebrity walked into a men’s clothing store on Madison Avenue and was immediately recognized by the shop’s manager. The manager said, “Wow, I am one of your biggest fans.” The celebrity was so flattered that he bought six shirts and asked, “Will you take a check?” The manager replied, “Do you have any identification?
63. Actual newspaper ads: 1. “Wanted - a folding table by a woman with detachable legs.” 2. “Mother’s Day Special. Don’t kill your wife. Let our washing machine do the dirty work.” 3. “Wanted - A strong horse to do the work of a country minister.”
64. A young woman listed her precise requirements for a prospective date on a computer dating service site. “Someone who likes people, is small, prefers formal attire, and likes water sports.” The computer sent her a penguin.
65. A Geogia farmer was quoted in a local newspaper as having “2,008 pigs.” The farmer went to the news office and complained. “I didn’t say I have 2,008 pigs. I told the reporter that I have 2 sows and 8 pigs.”
66. A life insurance salesman told a prospect, “I don’t want to pressure you Mr. Jones. Why don’t you sleep on my offer and call me in the morning - if you wake up.”
67. A veterinarian and a taxidermist went into business together. Their slogan was “Either way, you get your pet back!”
68. Advertising blooper: “We don’t tear your laundry in our machines. We
do it by hand.”
69. Ohio newspaper blooper: “Arthur Edwards left Park Street Hospital Wednesday, still recovering from a head injury and shock caused by coming into contact with a live wife.”
70. California newspaper blooper: “Two convicts evade noose, jury hung.”
71. Radio news story: “This portion of ‘Woman on the Run’ is brought to you by Phillips’ of Magnesia.”
72. News Headlines:
Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter.
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers.
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over.
Miners Refuse to Work after Death.
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant.
War Dims Hope for Peace.
If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile.
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures.
Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide.
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges.
Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge.
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group.
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft.
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks.
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half.
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors.
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead.
73. Newspaper ads:
“Joining nudist colony! Must sell washer and dryer $100.”
“Wedding dress for sale. Worn once by mistake. Call Stephanie.”
“Complete set of Encyclopedias for sale. No longer needed, got married, wife knows everything.”
74. Sign in a women’s lingerie shop: “Just like the government, we give aid to underdeveloped areas.”
75. A woman wanted to put a statement in the newspaper about her late husband. She wrote a nice long piece about his life and accomplishments, but the lady at the newspaper told her it would cost a dollar a word. As an alternative, she could include a short notice for a flat rate. So, the woman decided to include the simple notice that “Mike Jones died.” The news lady said, “You can have four more words for the same price. The final notice read, “Mike Jones died, Ford truck for sale.”
76. An ad in a Texas newspaper, “Need a sympathetic companion? Basset puppies are all ears.”
77. A Michigan newspaper ad read, “Four-poster100 year old bed with springs. Perfect for antique lover!”
78. An ad in the Ontario news, “Jack, please come home. I have leased reducing equipment from the Rent-all.”
79. A farmer put up a sign where the highway crossed his pasture that read “Cattle Crossing”, but most motorist continued to speed by without slowing down. So he erected a billboard that was considerably more effective. It read, “Slow Down for Nudist-Camp Crossing!”
80. Newspaper advertisements:
“Why go elsewhere to be cheated? You can trust us to do the job?”
“Toaster for sale. A gift that every member of the family will appreciate. Automatically burns toast.”
“For sale: A full blooded cow, giving three gallons milk, 2 tons hay, a lot of chickens and a cookstove.”
“Piano moving: If you have a piano to move, take advantage of our expert service and careful handling. Kindling wood for sale.”
81. News items: “It is with real regret that we learn of Mr. Wayne’s recovery from an automobile accident.” “After ten years of marriage, two happy parents announce the birth of their first child, a son. Remember, want ads bring results.” “Having broken both ankles in a collision, Mrs Robbins is recovering under the car of her physician.”
82. Sign at a Propane Filling Station: “Thank heaven for little grills.”
83. Sign outside Muffler Shop: “No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”
84. Sign at Loan Company: “The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment.”
85. Sign in front of pub: “Come in and meet your future ex-wife.”
86. Sign on a restaurant window: “Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten.”