3 good examples of transcreation (+ 3 bad examples)

We live in a globalized world with a myriad of different languages and cultures, and understanding these differences can be crucial to the success of any international business. Transcreation – the adaptation of creative content to another culture or language – makes sure your message resonates with the right people. 

Whether it’s content marketing, advertising or branding, transcreating correctly is the key to global success. So, let’s take a look at some transcreation examples to show the best way to adapt content for local audiences. From the good, the bad and the ugly in international marketing and advertising, these real-world examples show us how important it is to put your transcreation in the hands of the experts.

3 good examples of transcreation


Apple’s creative slogan for the iPod Shuffle perfectly encapsulated the wonderment that the tiny device could evoke: “Small Talk.” When it came to foreign-language markets, however, transcreating the slogan proved to be much more effective than simply translating it. 

Apple crafted custom slogans for different regions and cultures. Here’s how it was transcreated for four different target markets:

  • French: donnez-lui de la voix, or Let him speak.
  • Canadian French (Québécois): Petit parleur, grand faiseur, or Says a little, does a lot.
  • Latin American Spanish: Mira quién habla, or “Look who’s talking. 
  • European Spanish: Ya sabe hablar or “It already knows how to talk.
Apple’s slogan in French “donnez-lui de la voix”

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McDonald’s successfully demonstrated the power of transcreation in its marketing initiatives, by adapting its English slogan “I’m lovin’ it” to different audiences and languages. As “love” is seen as a strong word among Spanish speakers, the company transcreated the slogan to “Me encanta,” or “I really like it,” in order to make it culturally appropriate. 

This showcases the importance of transcreation in adapting marketing messages to effectively reach the target market. By creating a slogan that reflects both their message and the cultural context, McDonald’s was able to achieve greater success in its marketing campaign.

McDonald’s slogan in Spanish “me encanta”

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Haribo’s German slogan “Haribo macht Kinder froh, und Erwachsene ebenso” is another good example of transcreation done well. The delicious German gummy sweet’s slogan translates well into English as “Haribo makes children happy, and adults too”. However, they transcreated the message into other languages including French, Italian and Dutch: 


“Haribo c’est beau la vie, pour les grands et les petits” (Haribo life is beautiful, for big ones and little ones). 


“Haribo è la bontà, che si gusta ad ogni età” (Haribo is the delicacy that one can taste at any age). 


“Luk op for noget godt! Luk op for Haribo! Den er go” (Open for something good! Open for Haribo! It is good). 

These brilliant examples of transcreation show how you can create a playful slogan in several languages that sticks in the mind of the reader.  

Haribo gummy sweets

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3 bad examples of transcreation


The U.S. pen brand Parker failed to make an impact in Mexico when they decided to market the same slogan of ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you’ in Spanish. Unfortunately, the English-Spanish translation was off, and read ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and get you pregnant.’ 

Although the words ’embarrass’ and ’embarazar’ may seem similar, they are very different in nature. In Spanish, embarazar is a verb meaning ‘to be pregnant’. This underscores the importance of accurate translations in order to effectively communicate and market a brand in new markets. Learn more about the differences between translation and transcreation in our blog.

Parker pen with a slogan in English

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KFC made quite an impression, although not the one they intended, when they opened their first restaurant in Beijing, China, in the late 1980s. The fast-food giant, who is now the No. 1 quick-service restaurant brand in the country, had translated their renowned slogan, “Finger-lickin’ good”, to “Eat your fingers off”; an understandable faux pas. 

The slogan mishap, however, couldn’t have hurt KFC too badly as it now boasts more than 4,400 locations in over 850 cities in China, making it one of the highest-grossing international restaurant chains in the country.

KFC translated their slogan, “Finger-lickin' good”, to “Eat your fingers off”

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American Motors

When car manufacturer American Motors released their midsize car, the Matador, in the early 1970s in Puerto Rico, they realized that the intended meaning of courage and strength was completely misconstrued. In Spanish, matador is translated as “killer”, which doesn’t impart the most positive sense of safety and reliability and the roads there were known to be quite hazardous. In other words, the name of this car didn’t exactly inspire confidence in potential drivers.

American Motors midsize car the Matador in yellow

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These transcreation examples demonstrate that even the smallest misinterpretation between languages can impact the reputation of a business overseas. If you wish to avoid miscommunication, it’s important to be aware of local definitions and language nuances in order to ensure success across different cultures. 

At Ampere, our transcreation experts work with you to adapt your message into any language. From websites to TV adverts and brochures, we can support your transcreation needs. Get in touch today!