This weeks Idea: Bite the wax tadpole?

with Neil Godin

I love the outrageous – and the erroneous – in advertising. So. Every now and then I do a Google search for things like “Outrageous billboards,” and “Ad Bloopers.” Just for fun. How much fun? Try these:

  • Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”
  • The Dairy Association’s huge success with the campaign “Got Milk?” prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read “Are you lactating?”
  • Coors put its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as “Suffer From Diarrhea.”
  • In China, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan “finger-lickin’ good” came out as “eat your fingers off.”

    KFC – “Eat your fingers off?”

    KFC – “Eat your fingers off?”

  • Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the “Manure Stick.”
  • The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as “Kekoukela”, meaning “Bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax”, depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent “kokou kole”, translating into “happiness in the mouth.”
  • Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan, “It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” was translated into Spanish as “it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”

Now let me answer your first question, “Where did I find this collection of bloopers?” Well. I Googled “ad bloopers” and #1 at the top of the page was this listing:


Now to answer your second question: “What is Angelfire? – an ad agency perhaps?”  No. It’s a service for people who want to build their own website. It has nothing to do with advertising, directly anyway. So why does Angelfire publish a bunch of advertising bloopers? Because it brings free traffic to their website – probably more traffic from people searching for “ad bloopers” than from people searching for, “build your own website.”

In other words, the blooper page is just a marketing device to get people exposed to their service. If you click through to it (go ahead, the link above is live), you’ll see just a small ad for Angelfire at top and bottom left, with a link to their home page. The rest of the web page is a simple text list of the bloopers (plus a couple of ads so they may actually generate revenue from it). Now, for your third question: “Why am I telling you this?”  Well. Because we all need to learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to online marketing and promotion. And this is a great trick.

Your call to action: 

I’m also telling you about Angelfire’s little trick because so many of my marketing and sales coaching (and seminar) clients tell me they don’t know what to publish – on their blogs, in their newsletters, in their social media messaging, and on their websites. One solution is to scan the web for interesting material that you can repackage; comment on, and share with your own audience. In webtalk this is called “content curation.” And what you’re reading – here and now – is a great example. I found interesting stuff on the web; I’ve commented on it here in my blog and newsletter, and I’ve shared it with you. And, of course, you can do the same. (“Bite the wax tadpole?!?”)

See you next week.


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  1. Brilliant way to bring in the traffic.

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