Language lessons across the UK & Ireland

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Unfortunate Product Names to the English Speaker’s Ear

Going around a local supermarket in another country can be a daunting experience. Where does the cheese live? What on earth does that product do? Why are there so many varieties of napkins (Spain and Italy: we’re looking at you)? But it doesn’t have to be daunting. It can be a lot of fun. It can be an adventure!

Okay. So perhaps adventure is a bit strong. Kesko is not Helms Deep, after all. But we promise, it can be entertaining. We refer of course to the unfortunate product name. Unfortunate because to us, yes, often silly-minded native English speakers, some product names just have different meanings and do not fit with the product at all. Here are some of our favourites.


Country: Argentina (also available in Spain)

What’s it doing, precious?: Bimbo is a brand of bread. The first time you see this over the breakfast table perhaps you’ll think of a blond airhead. But as Elle Woods taught us, you really can’t judge a book by its cover. Remember: bend, and snap!


Image via Flickr / Flickr


Country: Finland

What’s it doing, precious?: This is a popular brand name for bread rolls in Finland. Honest. We know exactly where your minds are going, and that is definitely not a breakfast item that you want to put your hard cheese or sliced pork on first thing in the morning, right? Or you know. Maybe it is. No judgement here…


Country: Spain

What’s it doing, precious?: Would you believe us if we told you that this is a laundry detergent? We know, that particular body part is something that occasionally receives the cleaning instead of, um, doing it. But you know. Each to their own.

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Pee Cola

Country: Ghana

What’s it doing, precious?: Yes, you guessed correctly, this is, in fact, cola. And despite the giggle we get out of this name, pee in this sense is meant to mean very good. We’re sure it is. We’d probably give it a quick sniff before we had a sample though.


Country: Denmark

What’s it doing, precious?: This is salmiakki. Or for those heathens out there who haven’t tried it yet, salted licorice. It is delicious if you like your salty products. Not so much if you don’t, but we highly recommend that you give it a go.

Image via Flickr / Flickr


Country: Poland

What’s it doing, precious?: This is a sweet, or a candy bar. Apparently it means lucky. We are dubious as to its flavour and will happily defer to you to tell us what it tastes like. No, no, we insist, after you...

Pork Joy

Country: Japan

What’s it doing, precious?: These are, apparently, leather gloves. Although some of the pictures of this product suggest that perhaps they meant latex. We’re not sure. However, the packaging does promise that they will be ‘your hands’ good partners’, so, we are reassured either way.


Country: France

What’s it doing, precious?: This is lemonade. From the Perrier company, no less! We hope that it tastes a lot better than it sounds. We’re sure it does.


Country: Greece

What’s it doing, precious?: This is beer. Of course it is. With this company having a share of the Greece market of between 5.5 and 7%, is beer going to be the saviour of the Greek economy? We would like to see that, very much.

Bonus activities

Now that we’ve heard from some countries that perhaps don’t know any better about their product name choices, here’s a couple from Australia. Who clearly know exactly what they are doing. Australia, we salute you!

Golden Gaytime

What’s it doing, precious?: This is ice cream, and a very popular ice cream it is, too. It's hard to have a Gaytime on your own is their tagline, and judging from their adverts, they’re not afraid to have a little fun with their target market. Or any market, in fact. We want some!


Image via Flickr / Flickr

Wack off

What’s it doing, precious?: This delightfully named product is in fact insect repellent. And  so effective a repellent, that the armed forces themselves endorse and swear by it, apparently. If that isn’t reason enough to try it, we’re not sure what is.

And finally

We were a little disappointed to find that 666 Cold Preparation is from an American pharmaceutical company and not, in fact, from hell. But perhaps that’s just because we wanted to drop in on Crowley after recent Supernatural episodes and see how he’s doing.

And now, over to you. We believe it is your responsibility, no, your duty, next time you visit a shop abroad, to seek out these unfortunately named delights and share them with the world. ¡Vamos!