Posted by: | 2nd Feb, 2011

“We Do Chicken Right.” Really?

“We Do Chicken Right” is a famous slogan of the KFC ¬†Corporation to promote their fried chicken. If English is your first language, perhaps it would be easy for you to interpret that the slogan has a meaning of ¬†“we cook chicken the right way”, or “we make chicken tastes good.” This slogan has been used for KFC in all around the world, yet it has not been translated – or at least, translated correctly – in some of the countries.

I can recall that this slogan has been used for a period of time in Hong Kong when I was in primary school, but was soon replaced by another slogan. The reason behind this was pretty obvious – the phrase “We Do Chicken Right” could mean something very inappropriate and wrong if translated directing into Chinese. The Chinese word for “chicken” is a slang in Cantonese that represents “prostitute”. The word “do” could mean “become” or “make love to” if translated into Cantonese. Therefore, if this slogan is to be translated directing into Cantonese, it could mean “it is right being a prostitute,” or “we make love to prostitutes correctly”, which are complete misinterpretations of its original meaning. Other than promoting their fried chickens, KFC has made a huge joke of itself through the use of this slogan.

It is very true that marketers have to think about their macroenvironment when they make decisions. By using the same slogan for marketing all over the world, KFC has not taken cultural factors into consideration. They must understand that different cultures have different understandings towards the same thing, and the differences in languages could greatly affect consumers’ interpretations of any advertisement. As the society is becoming more diverse than ever, marketers should also take cultural factors into consideration even when marketing in one country.

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