Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 13:41:53 -0500


Subject: Re: "Ich bin ein Berliner"

At 12:37 PM 11/27/97 -0500, Gerald Cohen wrote:

Also, too, although the "Ich bin ein Berliner" item should be removed

from Mr. Crotty's list, the overall list itself is an interesting one. The

marketing of the Nova ("It doesn't go") in Latin America--with its

disastrously low sales for a while and with no one in management aware of

the implication of the car's name--is breathtaking in retrospect.

Apparently management was aware of the issue. This is taken from the

alt.folklore.urban web page (


From _Business Mexico_, June, 1993


The most often cited auto blunder is the Chevrolet Nova (the phrase "No va"

translates in Spanish as "It doesn't go") which General Motors wanted to

bring into Mexico in the early 1970s. Although GM's Mexican managers were

worried about the name, Nova was indeed used.

"They kept the name and it sold very well," says marketing analyst Cecilia

Bouleau, who disputes the conventional wisdom surrounding the moniker.

"It's the same thing with Nova gasoline. I think that the word is

sufficiently incorporated into the language as meaning 'new' -- as in

'bossa nova' -- that the criticism isn't valid."

Bouleau goes on to say that a strong ad campaign can counter an apparent

weakness that a brand name may carry across an international border. "One

thing that never ceases to surprise me is how Coca-Cola has never had a

problem (in Latin America). 'Coca' has drug connotations and 'Cola' means

'tail' -- yet no-one thinks the worse of it."


Evan Morris