New & Improved! *

Dumb Things Advertisers Say

"In the world of advertising,
there's no such thing as a lie.
There's only the expedient exaggeration."

--Roger Thornhill, in "North By Northwest"

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.

Here is a pair of ads that seem to be contradictory.
I saw an ad for a piano that scared me a little bit. . . .
This is an excerpt from a realtor's ad that compares highest and lowest sales prices in our neighborhood.
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. . . .
A newspaper in British Columbia ran a notice for the local Christmastime events which included a rather unusual activity.
Our 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
General Motors Flemish Body By Fisher Corpse By Fisher
KFC Chinese finger-lickin' good eat your fingers off
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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