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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