Coke’s New Zealand blunder: Hello, death
What Coca-Cola might have thought was a harmless Kiwi greeting has turned into an embarrassing PR blunder.
The beverage manufacturer has run signage around the country that reads: “Kia ora, mate.”
该饮料厂商在全国印有“Kia ora, mate.”字样。
But mate is the te reo Maori word for death or dead.
Communications expert Cas Carter said it showed the multinational company had not bothered to take the time to do its research, or to seek local guidance.
试着“接地气”却弄巧成拙。在毛利语中“kia ora mate”的意思是“你好，死亡”。虽然含糖量高的软饮料不好，尤其对口腔健康有害，但据我所知也不是那么快致死的。
“There is a growing trend among international companies to try and reflect local culture in their marketing. Done well it is awesome – done poorly – it is a major risk,” she said.
“The blunder is even greater because ‘mate’ is such a well-known Maori word because it is in our most well-known haka – which has been seen all over the world.”
Social media users have pointed out the irony in a soft drink company using the phrase.
就算不提不懂毛利语中“mate”一词的意思，我也觉得从未听过有新西兰白人用毛利语说“kia ora, mate”，听起来太过刻意。
“Coca-Cola is not the healthiest drink so saying ‘hello, death’ looks like they’re fessing up how unhealthy the drink really is,” Carter said.
She said a clever apology could fix it quickly but the blunder was unlikely to affect the company’s bottom line.
University of Auckland Business School head of marketing Bodo Lang said cross-cultural mistakes in marketing and advertising were more common than people realised.
“Generally they occur when a global brand uses language or cultural icons inappropriately. The most common response to such incidences is humour and a short burst of commenting and copycat activity on social media,” he said.
“One of the easy ways to avoid such blunders is to enlist the help of professional translator or a cultural consultant. Incurring such a small upfront cost is typically worth it because it prevents having to deal with bigger issues later on and dealing with disappointed customers through the various touch points that global brands have.”
Coca-Cola has been contacted for comment.