Friday 24 November 2017

Is the new McWrap (say it quickly) a Mc marketing gaffe?

Roland Hancock

It might be fine to ask for one in Milan or Marseilles, but is it appetising to the English-speaking eater?

Across the continent McDonald's is happily marketing its new tortilla range as the McWrap (say it to yourself quickly), without any possibility of a horrendous linguistic misunderstanding.

But as any schoolboy on foreign exchange will tell you, the Italian and French adverts are causing hilarity among Irish and British holidaymakers this summer.

To save blushes in the English-speaking world the hamburger giant has tweaked its marketing push to create the Snack Wrap in America and the even simpler Wrap range for the UK's burger bar affectionados.

In answer to a slightly sniggering request for information, a spokesman said: "Actually, In the UK and Ireland they are called Wraps because quite simply they are made with a tortilla wrap. I’m afraid we don’t know how long the adverts are airing across Europe – this query will need to be directed to that individual market."

Luckily McDonald's has avoided the temptation to join a long and shameful list of brands who blithely translate their ranges into local dialects. Coca Cola was first translated phonetically into Chinese, meaning variously "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax". Clairol couldn't understand why its "Mist Stick" air freshener wasn't selling well in Germany, until a brave soul informed them that mist is local slang for manure.

Ford had similar problems selling their "Pinto" in Brazil, but calling the car a small male appendage probably didn't help the bottom line. And, a personal favourite, Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.

The mind boggles.

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