Bite the Wax Tadpole

Written by Yuyin Wang

“Bite the wax tadpole”, “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead”, “Eat off your fingers!” Where do these slogans come from? They don’t sound very attractive to me at all, but they are actually very popular brands that we see every day. They are Coca Cola, Pepsi, and KFC. This is a common mistake when the company just easily translates the slogans into other language without thinking about if it really makes sense to the people growing up with another culture background.

Translating a brand into another language and be accepted by foreign consumers can be difficult and challenging because of the culture and language barriers. Literal translation is not enough to show what an ad’s true meaning. The wrong name, the wrong meaning will hurt the company selling their products. The translations mentioned above are the examples. KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan becomes “eat off your fingers”. Who would want to buy that? I think the customers know that is not what it really means, however, because it sounds weird, it is natural for people to avoid the brand. Therefore, the companies value more about the deep meaning in the slogan when they enter the markets in foreign countries. Companies make their commercial more acceptable and understandable for local people. Also, they add more cultural element in it, and it becomes more joyful for people to watch.

This is the Pepsi’s commercial for the Chinese New Year. All the people in there are Chinese celebrities and famous actors. It also brings in very common factors, like the train station, the snowing night, the food, the house, the decoration in the house, and the touching story that happens almost every year. Showing this commercial during those special days would be understandable and unforgettable for Chinese people.

This is Coca Cola’s commercial, instead of using celebrities, there are only normal people’s faces showed up, but it feels like more close to the everyone’s daily life. It is like seeing the reflection of themselves.

Here is some links talking the stories of international name translation. It seems like, every company when they decide to entry a market into new country, they always struggle with translation first. Especially for the automobile companies, there is always misunderstanding about the names. For instance, Lexus is a luxury vehicle brand, but when the first time it entry into Chinese market, its name was LingZhi. Somehow, this name didn’t sound like a nice car. It made people feel like it was a cheap, low quality car. So the company changed the name eventually.

Bite the Wax Tadpole

Name translation

Coca-Cola Conversations

It feels like the translation would be a standard to measure if those companies will be successful in other countries.

Follow me on twitter @wangyuyin

Group 1 Twitter Conversation: Marketing 4 Kids


Our Twitter conversation was unable to happen during class time due to some confusion, so we decided that we were going to engage the Twitter community about the topic of marketing to children. Before starting our conversation we did not know much about the topic of marketing to children and we realized it brought up a huge dilemma. Is it ethical to market to children? Some say yes, and some say no. We don’t think that this is a problem that will ever truly be solved, but it was interesting to find that some large corporations such as Coca-Cola are no longer marketing to children. On the other side, there is a child abuse billboard that only markets to children who are short enough to see a specific image on the billboard that adults cannot see. The billboard tells children what to do if they are being abused. These two examples are reasons why the dilemma of marketing to children may never be solved. In our twitter chat we brought up several articles that go further about these issues, for example goes on to talk about the effects of marketing to children. It brings up several important topics such as the amount of actual show time vs. commercial time, also the development of a consumer at a young age, and my favorite how movies promote positive things like Shrek for instance promoting physical activity. Another article we shared was how Coca-Cola stops marketing to kids under 12 globally ( Coca-Cola has decided that it will, “support programs that encourage physical activity and no longer market to kids younger than 12.” Part of the reason for this decision is Coca-Cola has often been the center of blame for obesity because of their sugary drinks and they have been more aggressive in trying to convince customers its products can be part of a healthy lifestyle. As we can see with Coca-Cola there is much commotion whether or not to market to children. There are many positive things that can benefit from marketing to children, yet there are also many negative sides to it. Our twitter chat heavily discusses different opinions around the globe on this topic, and gives many different examples. And if you go to #mktg4kids you can see the different sides taken and share your thoughts and opinions on marketing towards children with us.