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Global Marketing Fails And How To Avoid Them!

global marketing fails
Copyright: deniskot / 123RF Stock Photo

If you’ve got a fantastic homegrown business that is going from strength to strength in the UK market, so it’s only natural that you want to expand your products into new global markets. The amount of global marketing fails that have happened in recent years since the advent of the Internet in a ‘global marketplace’ are truly astonishing! Here are our tips for up-and-coming brands who want to take their businesses to the next level in foreign markets, whilst avoiding mistranslations and cultural gaffes.

Make Sure That Your Brand Name Or Slogan Translates Correctly

Did you know that in Quebec, the French speaking province of Canada, the fried chicken brand KFC is known as PFK? This is because the province has such strict naming laws that the French translation of Kentucky Fried Chicken had to be used, therefore it became known as Poulet Frit Kentucky (PFK)! This is an example of a brand that had to tweak its name to fit into the market, but other brands have not been so fortunate with their launches in new countries! The former mobile phone company Orange ran into difficulty when it tried to launch in Northern Ireland in the 1990’s. As you can imagine, their slogan of “The future’s bright, the future’s Orange” didn’t go down particularly well with the large Catholic population, who clashed with the Orange Order of Protestant Loyalist during the Troubles…

Some more amusing global marketing fails include:

  • Pepsi launched into the Chinese market with the slogan “Pepsi brings you back to life”, which translated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”.
  • The American Dairy Associations’ slogan of “Got milk?” didn’t quite work in Mexico, where it was translated as “Are you lactating?”.
  • Non-English businesses can also suffer when they try to launch products in English speaking countries. In 2005, IKEA launched their ‘Fartfull’ workbench, which made people giggle for obvious reasons…

It’s a good idea just to pop your brand name, product names and slogans into Google Translate before committing to them in the global market!

Differentiate Your Product Range

One huge global brand that has managed to completely dominate the fast food market in over 100 countries around the world is, of course, McDonalds. Now here in the UK, we may think that McDonalds is just a simple burger and fries chain, but it has managed to change its menu around the world to appeal to local tastes with huge success! For instance, in India you can enjoy a McCurry Pan (curried vegetables baked in a cream sauce inside an edible pan constructed from bread), in Hong Kong you can order Sausage ‘n’ Egg Twisty Pasta (exactly what it sounds like), whilst over in Croatia you can grab yourself some McToast (cheese and ham pressed in pitta bread). The Bacon Roll is also the only item on the UK menu which is exclusive to the UK. Who knew?

Coca Cola has also announced this week that they are going to introduce an alcoholic variety of their famous drink in Japan, in order to appeal to the growing market for them amongst young people in the country. This is a prime example of how a massive global brand has to constantly reassess their product range and brand to keep up with changing demand, in order to grow and stay relevant in their different markets, but this also applies to smaller companies just starting out in the global marketplace.

Product differentiation is absolutely essential for brands that have a large spectrum of product ranges, such as fast- food restaurants, however it can work in the opposite way. Some brands’ unique selling points are the fact that they do not assimilate in to culture of their target market. Examples include Rolls Royce, Jaguar, McVities and HP Sauce, all of whom deliberately play up their British heritage and personality to appeal to differing markets and use it as a by-word for high quality. Whether you go for this tactic or not depends on the product or service that you are offering!

Adapt To The Local Culture

Let’s say you’re a producer of a range of meat-based food products and you want to expand into the Indian market. You need to consider that in India, beef is not widely eaten as the cow is a sacred animal in Hinduism (a large percentage of the population are Hindus). This would mean that you may have to adapt recipes to appeal to that market, that you wouldn’t do in other markets. This culture shock doesn’t just apply to recipes, but also the ethos and idea behind your brand.

Airbnb had a struggle when they initially launched in Japan, where the whole idea of home-sharing and uncertainty was simply not part of the culture, where people are more reserved. The company managed to counteract this through their friendly, approachable and accessible customer service and brand image, which encourage the Japanese to get involved!

Comply With Product And Packaging Regulations

Finally, you will need to make sure that your packaging companies with the rules and regulations of your export country. For example, China has now just introduced new regulations in regards to monomers and polymers which differ from current EU regulations. Luckily, here at Ampulla we have a wide range of UN certified packaging, including stackable containers and round cans, that are suitable for use in many different countries, including the products below.


If you’re looking to export bulk quantities of your product then our range of stackable containers are ideal for packaging them, due to being designed to be stacked up in large orders for transport. Sizes for our UN Stackable Containers range from 1 litre up to 25 litres, in natural, white and blue colours and a choice of lids. Our UN Round Cans come in sizes ranging from a small 250ml up to 2 litres, with screw top lids in various colours included.

Liked our global marketing fails? Then we think you’ll also like to hear about the benefits of aluminium packaging!

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Get ready for festival season

Containers for camping and more

Now that we’re part way through May, it won’t be long until summer is here and the festival season is upon us. People up and down the country will be enjoying music events, food and drink festivals, fun runs, camping, parties, barbeques and more. If you’re in the business of putting on such events over the summer, this time of year can be pretty stressful, but if you’re attending an event, you’ll be looking forward to having a great time with friends.

Plastic jerrycans for water storage


Whichever category you fall into, you’ll want to go prepared to either have a good time or make sure that the people attending your event have a good time. To help you do this, we have some containers that we think could come in pretty useful for storing and dispensing water, beer, cider, juice, cooking oil or other bulk food, drink, fuel or even antiseptic solutions and cleaning products. So, with those things covered, you’ve got one less thing to worry about.


Whether it’s a jerrycan you need, for filling water from a campsite tap; a stackable container to fill with your favourite tipple (that could also double up as a festival seat) or a large drum, to store beer at a drinks festival, we have a range of robust, industrial standard containers to choose from that will do the job.


Useful containers for outdoor events

2.5 Litre Natural Plastic Jerrycan

Jerrycan and stackable containerA semi-transparent container, allowing the fill level of the liquid to be seen. Made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, with an integrated handle, making it easy to carry. Has a wide 38mm neck and comes with a screw cap, including a tamper evident seal for the initial prevention of contamination. Food grade approved.


10 Litre Natural Stackable Container

Easily stackable, this container can help to save on storage space. It includes a moulded carrying handle for easy transportation. Comes with a tamper evident screw cap and has a 51mm neck size. Food grade approved and UN certified for hazardous chemicals.


25 Litre Natural Stackable Container

Stackable container and drumIdeal for the bulk storage of liquids at large-scale events, such as fairs and festivals. A strong, rigid stackable container, with a large 61mm neck and tamper evident black screw cap. Food grade and UN approved for hazardous chemicals. Has a moulded carrying handle. Also, see our reduced to clear 25 Litre Stackable here.


60 Litre Blue Tighthead Drum

A large, heavy duty blue HDPE plastic drum with white bung closure. Can be used with a bung tap dispenser, to make dispensing liquids easier. UN certified for hazardous chemicals and food grade approved. Has two handles to aid with carrying.