My daughter rushed into my office and blurted out, “We got blackberries!”
“Seriously?” I asked her.
“Yeah, Dad bought them. What do you think? Do you like blackberries?”
“Wait. Seriously? Dad went out and bought a Blackberry? For who?”
“Dad bought a bunch, for all of us. Don’t you just love them?”
“We’ve always been an Apple family. I’m surprised.”
Not long after this, I realized that my daughter was talking about the fruit while I was having a nightmare about the phones. I mean, a Blackberry would be cool and all, but I love my iPhone.
When companies started giving products the names of popular fruits, it was bound to get confusing! But product names and slogans have long brought interesting misunderstandings—especially when translated into other languages. The Chevy Nova didn’t do well in Spanish-speaking markets where no-va means “doesn’t go.” When Pepsi used its slogan, “Come alive with Pepsi”, they had no idea that their Chinese fans thought that meant the soda could bring ancestors back from the grave. Or what about the Coors Light slogan, “Turn it loose”, which convinces Spanish-speaking buyers that the beer would give them loose bowels. Yikes.
Try this: Take a product name that has a double meaning or carries a funny meaning in a different language and use it to create confusion between your characters.