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There is no such thing as a global slogan

Here’s an article that confirms what consumers apparently know but many companies have yet to figure out — that English-language slogans don’t make much sense to people who don’t speak English. In this article, the German publication Spiegel actually asked people what a number of these English slogans meant and only 25% answered correctly.

But hey, those slogans are cool to look at, right?

Here are two German examples:



I wrote about this phenomenon back in 2006, when I predicted that companies would eventually do away with global slogans. It seems to me that the next generation of global brands won’t have them and won’t need them. I pointed out at the time that Google didn’t have a global slogan, but apparently I overlooked YouTube. Even Google has fallen for a lure of the global slogan.


Nike tried to translate “Just Do It” but gave up and just used the slogan globally. So perhaps the “global slogan” is here to stay.

But my advice to companies just getting started — avoid them if you can. The risks generally outweigh the rewards.

Until there is a “global consumer” there is no such thing as a “global slogan.”

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John Yunker
John is co-founder of Byte Level Research and author of Think Outside the Country as well as 14 annual editions of The Web Globalization Report Card. He is also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.
John Yunker
John Yunker

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