In the late 1980’s in America there was a drug store chain that changed their name to “Osco.” Nobody in corporate did a foreign language search on the word “Osco.” Turns out it sounded just like “Asco” which translates to “disgusting” in Spanish and sales suffered in markets with Spanish speaking populations. In the present-day world of the internet, you would think that companies do a bit of international research on their brand, but perhaps they should also employ some teenagers to check for international slang meanings? Or maybe they shouldn’t, because, really, do we want to live in a world with an “Ass Bar Bakery” or do we want to live in a world without one?
As we’ve been wandering around Switzerland and western Europe this year, we’ve been compiling a few of our favorite examples of German/French brands that translate into American English slang.
We realize our sign choices are a bit one sided and our captions are admittedly sophomoric, so we’ll also keep our eyes out for some signs back in the States that wouldn’t translate too well overseas to even things out when we return home.