The future's not so bright as Orange gets the red light in Ulster
Saturday 13 July 1996
"We are taking advice about actively marketing our brand name in Northern Ireland," a spokeswoman for Orange confirmed yesterday. "I accept that we need to look to see if there is any sensitivity."
Orange is already in the process of acquiring base-station sites in and around the Belfast area and hopes "go live" in the province within a year. It is keen to tap into a captive audience of 1.5 million, 40 per cent of whom belong to the Catholic/nationalist tradition. But wooing them is going to prove an uphill struggle.
"Imagine the uproar it would cause if they ran a campaign there using their current slogan 'The future's bright, the future's Orange'," Gordon MacMillan of Campaign, the advertising industry bible, said. "They are going to have to seriously consider a sub-brand to get round the problem with the political situation so fraught and volatile."
Orange is not alone in having major marketing problems. Indeed, its teething troubles in Northern Ireland are a reminder of how the image of leading brands can quickly be overtaken by events.
Perhaps the most famous example was of a biscuit bar esigned to stifle appetite as part of a slimmers' diet. It was sold in the early Eighties under the unfortunate brand name Ayds - until the arrival of the disease Aids.
The Anglo-American drugs giant SmithKline Beecham ran into similar problems over its best-selling fizzy drink which bore the legend "Lucozade aids recovery". The company argues that the label was dropped long before before Aids became a major public health issue.
Instances of brand names failing to cross the language barrier are also legion, although the humour they elicit is often of the lavatorial variety.
Cars seem particularly prone to marketing faux pas. Rolls-Royce realised before it sold its Silver Mist range in Germany that "mist" translated as "excrement". But Ford's launch of the Pinto car in Brazil failed - "Pinto" is Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals". Ford wisely substituted nameplates with "Corcel", which means "horse". Vauxhall ran into similar difficulties with its Nova range in Spain; "no va" means "won't go" in Spanish.
Chinese translations have also caused untold linguistic complications. The Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger lickin' good" came out as "eat your finger off", while in Taiwan the exhortation to "Come alive with the Pepsi generation" ended up as "Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead". And soft drinks rival Coca-Cola had to be renamed for sale in China after it translated as "Bite the wax tadpole".
Foreign firms can also have trouble with English names. There is a French soft drink called "Sic", crisps sold in Spain as "Bum" and a Finnish anti- freeze called "Super-Piss".
But perhaps the funniest faux pas belongs to Parker Pen. When a ballpoint pen was marketed in Mexico the advertisements were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you". Alas, Parker thought the Spanish word "embarazar" had just one meaning: to embarrass. Instead, the advertisements read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant".
Great advertising gaffes of our time
Ayds, Boots' slimming chocolate bar was renamed when the degenerative HIV disease became well known
The Rolls-Royce Silver Mist range had to be renamed for Germany because mist means 'excrement' in German
Now the Orange mobile telephone will have to change its marketing strategy in Ulster because of the Troubles
- 1 Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in 'disturbing surge of beheadings'
- 5 Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...