New & Improved! *

Dumb Things Advertisers Say

Note for non-Latin-speaking readers: The notation "sic" is placed in some entries to assure you that I am faithfully reproducing the original; i.e. the misprint is not on my part.

I saw an ad for a piano that scared me a little bit. . . .
I received a flyer in my door that I have reproduced word-for-word, letter-for-letter (except that I left off the phone number at the bottom). I hope you find it as entertaining as I did. . . .
The newspaper ran this ad for an upcoming musical. It contains an error that's common among the general public but should be nearly nonexistent among admen and journalists. See if you can spot it.
This is not exactly an ad, but check out this excerpt from a program schedule.
Here are some ads that caused translation problems when the marketing folks took them to people of other languages and cultures.
product new language original wording unintended meaning
Braniff Airlines' upholstered seats Spanish Fly in leather. Fly naked.
Chevrolet Spanish Nova It doesn't go.
Clairol curling iron German Mist Stick Manure Stick
Coke Chinese Coca-Cola Bite-The-Wax-Tadpole
General Motors Flemish Body By Fisher Corpse By Fisher
Parker Pens Spanish To avoid embarrassment, use SuperQuink. To avoid pregnancy, use SuperQuink.
Pepsi Chinese Brings you back to life. Brings back your dead ancestors.
For more translation fun, check out "English As A Second Language."
* If it's new, it can't be improved, because there has to be an old to improve upon. If it's improved, it must not be new. . . .
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