Coke cancels campaign after French gets lost in translation -

Coke cancels campaign after French gets lost in translation


EDMONTON – Coca-Cola has cancelled a Canadian promotion that paired randomly generated English and French words inside bottle caps after an Edmonton woman got one that said “You Retard.”

Blake Loates says she and her husband were eating at a restaurant in Edmonton earlier this week when her husband read the cap of his bottle of Vitaminwater.

Loates says they thought at first it was a prank by a rogue employee at the bottling plant.

She says she found it particularly offensive because she has a younger sister who is developmentally delayed.

Shannon Denny with Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada says consumers were supposed to collect the caps to combine words into humorous sentences.

Denny says the problem was that the word lists for each language were approved separately and that in French, “retard” simply means late.

In addition to cancelling the campaign, the company says it will destroy all of the caps with words printed on them.

Denny says the company got another complaint from a consumer who got a cap with the word “douche” printed on it.

She explained that it’s the French word for shower.

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Coke cancels campaign after French gets lost in translation

  1. People’s right to be offended reaches yet another low point. What a sad indication that the average citizen is not smart enough to realise that in a bilingual country either of the two official languages might be in use at any given time.

    It also speaks volumes that the person in Edmonton got upset because she read retard and immediately went for the derogatory interpretation and thought of her sister.

    • Precisely.

      I have always felt it was wrong that every provincial school board in this country does not ensure that ALL Canadian students are fluent in English and French by the time they graduate from high school.

    • Ha! Ha! You express it so well, harebell. Pseudo ‘sensibilities’ eh?

  2. The douche part makes sense. Coca-Cola is a company of douchebags.

  3. Haha that made my day. In one of my past jobs we were responsible for allocating words to users as passwords. We went for a dictionary database and simply gave each of 20000 individuals a random word from the dictionary, we had similar problems…

  4. Delicious Anglo butthurt.

  5. I must say I chuckled all the way through this. Honest mistake (says the translator).