BRAND BLUNDERS: brand errors and collective irony


Brand Blunders, what are they? We are talking about the so-called “brand mistakes”, cases in which the choice of the name or the marketing strategy had a tragicomic implication. The history of marketing is strewn with bad figures and slips that have affected not only small producers, but also some famous multinationals!

The choice of naming is important …

Launching a new product on the market is always risky, as is internationalizing it on foreign markets. In fact, among all the factors, it is important to know how to choose the name of the product to avoid that, if it is translated into other languages, it does not acquire embarrassing meanings.

If in many cases the result of an incorrect naming means a bad impression for the company, sometimes it can lead to an international gaffe! The result? In the best of cases, becoming unintentionally comical, otherwise a much more serious situation, offending the sensitivity of an entire country.

But let’s see together brand names that have been overwhelmed by the irony of the web when decontextualized from their target market.


A caramel-filled chocolate bar popular in Sweden. It could hardly be exported to English-speaking markets: although in English Plopp is a well referable onomatopoeia, in Swedish it is nothing more than the name of Goofy, the famous Disney character!


It is a cult product of the 80s and 90s in Croatia: the Pipi orange juice. The drink was very popular, so much so that it was declined as lemonade and tonic water. Fortunately, it has never been exported to Italy.


In the United States, the fashion for organic foods has become a real obsession, leading companies to create healthy products that can increasingly satisfy the most attentive and aware slice of the market. Recently the food multinational Nutiva launched a product based on chia seeds and apple pulp with a captivating name: Chiapple! If it ever arrived on the Italian market, it could hardly keep this name.

The choice of marketing strategy is important …

Let’s now look at the shady marketing strategies that have gone down in history for being particularly comical.


The sports car of the Japanese giant has been around the world. A real shame for the French market, since the French-speaking pronunciation leaves something to be desired, referring to a phonetic commonality between the word “ MR2 ” and the French word “ merde ”.

Needless to say, irony has taken over.


Between 2012 and 2014, the ketchup giant had registered a QR code to use for promotions. In 2015 Heinz decided to repurpose the same code on their labels so that customers could scan it on their ketchup bottle and order a custom label. The only problem? The QR code did not stay active and in the meantime a pornography site had detected it. Anyone who scanned the code would be viewing content that they certainly didn’t expect to see. You can imagine the result …


The Parker Pens brand, manufacturer of fountain pens, had as its slogan “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarass you” which means “It won’t leak in your pocket and it won’t embarrass you”, referring to efficiency and practicality. of the pen. Entering the Latin American market, the translation was particularly comical: ” No gotearà en tu bolsillo ni te embarazarà ” literally translated from Spanish means “it won’t run into your pocket and get pregnant”. The brand used the false cognate “embarazar”, which in Spanish means to impregnate.

Even the largest companies can make communication mistakes during advertising campaigns. So, trusting is good, but relying on professionals is better!

Contact Sniper for a free consultation. An entire dedicated department will take care of studying the communication of your brand in detail.

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