Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >
Topic Options
#99971 - 04/03/03 07:44 PM Brand name troubles
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
It's not just slang that causes misunderstandings when you travel . Brand names can be tricky. I bought a bike in England and got those foam handlebar covers for it. When I asked if there was an easy way to put them on The shop keeper said "Just use fairy liquid." I thought he was being funny so replied "Oh good, and the elves will come and do it for me." It turns out that Fairy Liquid is a common brand of dish soap.
Any other examples?


Top
#99972 - 04/03/03 09:06 PM Re: Brand name troubles
modestgoddess Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/18/02
Posts: 833
Loc: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Ooh, I've got a good one! There's a clothing company (as you, Zed, will know!) in Canada called "Roots." In Australia, to root is slang for, ahem, havin' sex (doin' the nasty, makin' the beast with two backs, shaggin', gettin' jiggy with it, etc.).

A friend who went to Australia warned me about this, saying that when she was down under, she wore her Roots sweatshirt quite a bit...until an Australian told her what that word means down there. (I suspect, from a cross-cultural point of view, it doesn't help that Roots clothes often have a beaver on them - the mammular kind, but still....)

I told everyone in the office where I worked at the time, about this; on my last day of work before I left to go to Australia for a year-long working holiday visa, my colleagues gave me....a "Roots Canada" t-shirt. And a handful of novelty condoms, all of which had passed their expiry date. Sighhh....

The t-shirt went missing somewhere along my way round Oz. To this day, I'm not sure if I simply forgot to take it off a clothesline at a hostel somewhere, or if some Aussie nicked it off same as a humorous souvenir....


Top
#99973 - 04/03/03 09:15 PM Re: Brand name troubles
modestgoddess Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/18/02
Posts: 833
Loc: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Ooh, I've got another one: I went on a cruise in the Caribbean with a girlfriend, years ago. She and I have been penpals since the year dot - she lives in the UK (Reading, these days) and I live in Kingston (Canada). As we unpacked in our cabin, somehow the talk turned to something health-related - sunburns, maybe? Anyway, my friend said we could always use the Witch Doctor. I was quite bemused but tried to play along, saying, "That's right! Ooo, eee, ooo ah ah, ting tang, wallah wallah bing bang!"

Of course she looked at me very strangely. She'd never heard the song. What she had been talking about was a witch-hazel gel product from the UK, that comes in a tube and is used for stings, rashes, mild burns etc...!

We sang the witch doctor chorus quite a bit over the two-week vacation....


Top
#99974 - 04/04/03 06:30 AM Re: Brand name troubles
Bean Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 1156
Those stupid BUM Equipment sweatshirts from Wal-Mart. Apparently the first association for USns for the word "bum" is a hobo, not a person's rear end (where they came up with the brand name), and no one thought to check cultural stuff before they marketed it here. My mum really hates the brand name, she teeters on the point of finding it offensive.

I think we talked about BUM Equipment before you came here, Zed, and I discovered that they even have a website. It's a hoot when you read it thinking of the Canadian/British meaning of the word bum. Here you go:

http://www.bumequipment.com/ Enjoy!


Top
#99975 - 04/14/03 08:33 AM Re: Brand name troubles
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
I had a similar problem over here a few years ago when a friend of mine informed me he was changing his car. I asked he was getting and he said, "Well, I've bought a SEAT."
I, of course, being always ready for a joke, replied, "What will you buy next, the wheels? How long before you can afford it all? Hohoho."

SEAT is the Spanish equivalent of FIAT, the Italian car company, but was quite new in england in those days.


Top
#99976 - 04/16/03 12:54 AM Re: Brand name troubles
RubyRed Offline
member

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 104
>"What will you buy next, the wheels? How long before you can afford it all? Hohoho."<

Roffle, Rhubarb! You have humor like my husband! I used to roll my eyes and groan, but after 24 years, I actually find myself amused at his jokes!

Regarding brand names....If I remember correctly, Texaco (or perhaps Exxon) the oil company, used to be called Enco. Sometime in the late 60s or early 70s, the company expanded its services to the Orient. It seems Enco in Japanese (or Chinese or Cantonese?) losely translates to mean "stop" So, of course they had to change the name.....

Note: this was obviously before the internet, and bogus stories of this nature were therefore not prevalent. In fact the reason I remember the story, was because my mother heard it on the Paul Harvey show on the car radio, while we were driving down the road, and she laughed out loud.....not something she is wont to do. So, I guess it stuck in my mind.




Top
#99977 - 04/16/03 02:22 AM Re: Brand name troubles
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
I heard a similar story about a USn car company which produced a car called Nova and was worried about the fact that it wasn't selling in Latin America.No va being the Spanish for doesn't go.

Bingley
_________________________
Bingley

Top
#99978 - 04/16/03 02:28 AM Re: Brand name troubles
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
And I don't know if it's true but it is rumoured that Grampian TV was originally going to be called Scottish Highlands and Islands Television.

Bingley
_________________________
Bingley

Top
#99979 - 04/16/03 06:10 AM Re: Brand name troubles
Capfka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 1624
Loc: Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
Ah, who gives a ... Oh, I see what you mean.


Top
#99980 - 04/16/03 07:03 AM Re: Brand name troubles
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
before the internet, and bogus stories of this nature were therefore not prevalent

But by no means non-existent. Way I heard it enko meant broken car in Japanese. Never heard any confirmation from anybody actually knew Japanese.

The Nova story is also pre-internet and has been fairly well demolished. See:
http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.htm

As a sidelight on the Esso story, there was a pre-internet legend that Exxon was made up from a combination of Esso and Nixon.


Top
Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8746 Members
16 Forums
13809 Topics
215499 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
bobwar, Johnreed28, Lakshman, dcsteve, Jorg
8746 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 28 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
endymion6 110
LukeJavan8 100
wofahulicodoc 83
A C Bowden 53
Tromboniator 9
tuhin 2
TitoMatito 1
tsuwm 1
Jorg 1
FoFong 1
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10523
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
LukeJavan8 6591
AnnaStrophic 6511
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith