From the last episode of Mad Men (sorry, spoilers) where Don Draper came up with the definitive and iconic "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" campaign, all the way to the success of the "Share A Coke" campaign today, as long as I can remember, Coca-Cola have consistently knocked it out of the park with their advertising.
It's no surprise that over several decades Coke is synonymous with the idea of awesome advertising. So much so, when you think about drinks brands screwing the pooch when it comes to ably selling their product, you think of Pepsi. Sorry, Kendall Jenner.
But, even though they're the definitive drinks company, that's not to say that Coke don't have their advertising snafus once in a while. Their New Coke campaign introduced in the late 80s lost the company at least $30 million dollars, and subjected them to over 400,000 angry phone calls from disgruntled customers. Yikes.
Their latest advertising screwup won't be as costly as that, but it is a great deal more hilarious.
More and more in the modern world, we're embracing the idea of a global community, and as a result, companies like to be culturally inclusive in their advertising. When it works, it works - but when it goes a little awry, you end up with hilarious translations like this. Twitter didn't let up, and once you figure out what's going on, you won't either.
So, here's the situation: Coca-Cola, in an attempt to appeal to consumers out in New Zealand, tried to send a lovely message in Māori in their latest campaign, but they probably should have done a bit more research on their translation before going ahead and writing "Kia Ora, Mate" on their vending machines. "
Now, I think that Coca-Cola were trying to say "Hello, Mate", but by being cute and trying to mix English and Māori, they could not have have translated this more poorly. "Kira Ora, Mate". As many people who speak Māori were quick to point out on Twitter, that actually translates to: "Hello Death". That's... that's not good.
"When the languages don't mix well," said Waikato Reo on Twitter in the understatement of the year, and the rest of Twitter was quick to pile on. Was this a kind of attempt at self-awareness from Coca-Cola, with their sugar-loaded, high-fructose corn syrup and its questionable health benefits being sold to millions around the world?
I mean, probably not.
But that doesn't stop people from talking smack about it on Twitter, and it won't stop me from writing about it. Come, friends, let's take a look at these high-quality jokes from the wonderful world wide web at the expense of this ill-advised advertisement from Coca-Cola:
Oh dear, Coca-Cola. In the cut-throat, confusing world of advertising, everyone's trying something new, but that doesn't guarantee success. Far from it. And if you try to bridge cultural gaps by applying a bit of good-old translation, it might be a good idea to talk to a couple of the locals first. As Coca Cola have probably learned.