‘Rude’ wine name offends Cantonese

Date posted:
February 23, 2012

A wine brand from Chile is unknowingly offending Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong with its explicit name, says Patrick Schmitt.

Called Chilensis, the label, from Via Wines in Chile’s Maule Valley, loosely translates as “f*cking nuts”, according to a source in Hong Kong.

Following local press reports about the rude label, demand has in fact soared for the wine, pushing prices up for Chilensis by HK$10 in a matter of days. The wine was selling for HK$49 in Hong Kong off-licences and supermarkets, but has now risen to HK$59!

News of the inadvertently offensive brand name highlights the need for caution when releasing labels in the Far East.

Indeed, it has been reported by db before that Château Latour may have failed to perform as well as fellow first growths in the important Chinese market because its name loosely translates as “to fall down” – which is unfortunate considering the exchange of Bordeaux grand crus classés in business circles, particularly after important deals have been concluded.

Other embarrasing translations come from the soft drink sector, where, for example, Pepsi mistakenly used the slogan “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave” when trying to translate “Pepsi Brings you Back to Life” into Chinese.

Similarly, Coca-Cola’s first attempt to translate its brand into Chinese with “Ke-kou-ke-la” acutally meant “female horse stuffed with wax”, although the current “Ko-kou-ko-le” translates as the rather more suitable “happiness in the mouth”.

Ends

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