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October 20, 2008


Jeffry Pilcher

The alleged Chevy Nova naming blunder is one of the biggest branding myths ever.

From Snopes.com:
"This anecdote is frequently used to illustrate the perils of failing to do adequate preparation and research before introducing a product into the international marketplace. It's a wicked irony, then, that the people who use this example are engaging in the very thing they're decrying, because a little preparation and research would have informed them that it isn't true. This is another one of those tales that makes its point so well — just like the apocryphal one about George Washington and the cherry tree — that nobody wants to ruin it with a bunch of facts. Nonetheless, we're here to ruin it. "


Jimmy Marks

You are a sharp-eyed observer, Mr. Pilcher. Everyone gets +5 points for that question.

Anyway, yeah, my branding class in college had this example as one to keep close to your heart as you moved forward in the ad world. And there are plenty of other examples that fit the mold (anyone had France's "Anis" candy? Sound it out, I'm guessing you won't try it now if you haven't already.) If anyone's got a better example, speak up.


I actually scored 100%! (Don't tell Ron that I didn't do the readings.) Another example: Mazda released the "Laputa," which is the name of the floating island in Gulliver's Travels (a required reading that I actually did do). Laputa closely resembles "la puta," Spanish for "the" ...um... "lady of the evening."

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