Silly Signs

Sign in King Arthur’s court: Sign up now for knight school.

Sign in speech class: No silence allowed.

Sign in a cafeteria in Holland: Mothers, please wash your Hans before eating.

Sign in the headquarters of the 7th Cavalry: Custer blew the Little Big Horn

Sign in a flight school: No crash courses given here.

Sign in the office of a hippie dermatologist: Give me some skin, man!

Sign in a sign-language class: Please talk with your hands.

Sign in a theater: Shakespeare married an Avon lady.

– Sign in medical school: Orthopedists get all the breaks.

– Sign in a doctor’s office: If you’re not completely satisfied with our cure, your disease cheerfully refunded.

Sign in a crook’s hideout: Warning! The police are armed and dangerous.

Sign near a frozen lake along a historical route: George Washington slipped here.

Sign in a doctor’s office: An apple a day is bad for business.

Sign in a realtor’s office: Give me land, lots of land, and I’ll build condominiums and make a fortune.

Sign in a beauty salon: W work so hard that we’ll even dye for you!

Sign in a sleazy cafeteria: Our silverware is not medicine – don’t take it after eating!

Sign in a garden: Beware of vegetarians!

Sign next to a deep-fryer in a kitchen: We melt the fat away.

Sign in a dentist’s office: Good oral hygiene is bad for business.

Sign in a cannibal’s hut: I never met a man I didn’t like.

Sign in a cafeteria: Shoes required to eat in the cafeteria.

Penciled-in afterthought: Socks can eat wherever they want to.

– Sign in a gymnasium: We tell you everything you always wanted to know about strength, but were too weak to ask.

– Sign in an I.R.S. office: In God we trust.  Everyone else we audit.

– Sign in a beach house: Bully permit required to kick sand in the faces of 98 lb. weaklings.

– Sign in a generating plant: We have the power to make you see the light.

– Sign on a jeweler’s shop: If your watch doesn’t tick, tock to us.

– Sign in a funeral home: Pay or don’t die.

– Sign in front of an oceanography class: Open only to students who can keep above C-level.

– Sign in a Vassar math class: Girls, watch your figures.

– Sign in an Italian class: Speak Italian, but don’t talk with your hands.

– Sign in a new math class: In here, we follow the liter.

– Sign in an old-age home: We’re not deaf.  We just heard everything worth hearing already.

– Sign in a post office: Postal workers are sissies.  They can’t even lick stamps.

– Sign on the door of a fencing school: Back in one hour — out to lunge.

– Sign on the screen (during intermission of a killer bee movie): Don’t leave.  This is only the calm before the swarm.

– Sign in a tailor’s shop: I am a man of the cloth.

– Sign in a witches’ coven: We came.  We saw.  We conjured.

– Sign in a chicken coop: Caution.  Fowl language spoken here.

– Sign in a Pawnbroker’s shop: See us at your earliest inconvenience.

– Sign in the window of a store: Our Going Out of Business sale was such a success, we’re having another one next month.

– Sign in a prison biology class: Study your cells.

Sign on a pet store for a litter of dachshund pups: Get a long little doggie.

Sign on a pet store for an opossum: A peticularly good possumbility.

Sign on a pet store for an Angora rabbit: A rare bit of company.

Sign on a pet store for Siamese kittens: Take both — they’re attached to each other.

– Safety Sign in a Karate cooking class: Wok, do not run.

– Sign for “The King of the Jungle Moving Company”: We Don’t Take Your Move Lion Down

– Sign in a clothing store: Wonderful bargains for me with 16 and 17 necks.

Sign in the window of an Oregon general store: Why go elsewhere to be cheated, when you can come here?

– Sign in a Pennsylvania cemetery: Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.

– Sign on a Tennessee highway: Take notice: when this sign is under water, this road is impassable.

– On a safety information card in America West Airline seat pocket: If you are sitting in an exit row and can not read this card, please tell a crew member.

– Sign in a shop in Maine: Our motto is to give our customers the lowest possible prices and workmanship.

– Sign on a delicatessen wall: Our best is none too good.

– Sign in a cocktail lounge in Norway: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

– Sign in a city restaurant: Open seven days a week and weekends.

– Sign in a Japanese hotel: “You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.”

– Sign in the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

– From a menu from Poland: Salad a firm’s own make; Limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; Roasted duck let loose; Beef rashers beaten in the country people’s fashion.

– Sign in a Hong Kong Supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.

– From the “Soviet Weekly:” There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet republic painters and sculptors.  These were executed over the past two years.

– Sign on the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to Moscow, you are welcome to it.

– Sign in a laundry in Rome: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

 

Actual Marketing Flops

Cracking an international market is a goal of most growing corporations. It shouldn’t be that hard, yet even the big multi-nationals run into trouble because of language and cultural differences. For example…

The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax” depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, “ko-kou-ko-le,” which can be loosely translated as “happiness in the mouth.”

In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” came out as “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead.”

Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan “finger-lickin’ good” came out as “eat your fingers off.”

When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that “no va” means “it won’t go.” After the company figured out why it wasn’t selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.

Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped. The company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for “tiny male genitals”. Ford pried all the nameplates off and substituted Corcel, which means horse.

When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to say “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” However, the company’s mistakenly thought the spanish word “embarazar” meant embarrass. Instead the ads said that “It wont leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

An American t-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope’s visit. Instead of the desired “I Saw the Pope” in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed “I Saw the Potato.”

Chicken-man Frank Perdue’s slogan, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” got terribly mangled in another Spanish translation. A photo of Perdue with one of his birds appeared on billboards all over Mexico with a caption that explained “It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused.”

Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos before finding out that the phrase, in slang, means “big breasts.” In this case, however, the name problem did not have a noticeable effect on sales.

In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into Schweppes Toilet Water.

Japan’s second-largest tourist agency was mystified when it entered English-speaking markets and began receiving requests for unusual sex tours. Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company changed its name.

In an effort to boost orange juice sales in predominantly continental breakfast eating England, a campaign was devised to extol the drink’s eye-opening, pick-me-up qualities. Hence, the slogan, “Orange juice. It gets your pecker up.”

 

Actual (Stupid) Label Instructions

In case you needed further proof that the human race is doomed through stupidity, here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods:

– On Sears hairdryer: “Do not use while sleeping”. [Gee, that’s the only time I have to work on my hair]

– On a bag of Fritos: “You could be winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside”. [Evidently, the shoplifter special]

– On a bar of Dial soap: “Directions: Use like regular soap.” [And that would be how…?]

– On some Swanson frozen dinners: “Serving suggestions: Defrost.” [But it’s *just* a suggestion]

– On Tesco’s Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom of box): “Do not turn upside down”. [Oops, too late!]

– On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding: “Product will be hot after heating”. [As sure as night follows the day…]

– On packaging for a Rowenta iron: “Do not iron clothes on body”. [But wouldn’t this save even more time?]

– On Boot’s Children’s Cough Medicine: “Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication”. [We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those 5-year-olds with head-colds off those forklifts.]

– On Nytol Sleep Aid: “Warning: May cause drowsiness” [One would hope]

– On most brands of Christmas lights: “For indoor or outdoor use only”. [As opposed to what?]

– On a Japanese food processor: “Not to be used for the other use”. [I gotta admit, I’m curious].

– On Sainsbury’s peanuts: “Warning: Contains nuts”. [NEWS FLASH]

– On an American Airlines packet of nuts: “Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.” [Step 3: Fly Delta]

– On a child’s Superman costume: Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly”. [I don’t blame the company. I do blame parents for this one!]