The Nova Awards

animated lol

Advertising awards inspired by the Chevy Nova. These are the nominees for the Chevy Nova Award. This is given out of honor of GM's fiasco in trying to market this car, the Chevy Nova, in Central and South America.  It is the challenge of language translation from one country to another.

Nova Award Winners

The same words and spelling from one language to another does not really mean the same thing. In the English language world, the Chevy Nova is a solid name, hinting at something modern, maybe space-aged.  In the Spanish language world, "No Va", literally means "No Go". Who would want to buy a car that says it doesn't go?

chevy nova ad copy

When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the United States, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since many people can't read. Ouch!

Funny Gerber Picante Sauce Baby Food picture

Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux earned their Nova Award by using the following in an American ad campaign:

"Nothing Sucks like an Electrolux"  Hmmm . . .

electrolux magazine advertisement

An American T-Shirt maker in Miami gained their Nova Award for printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit.

Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read:

"I saw the Potato" (la papa)

paint covered girl

And American Airlines was awarded the NOVA, when advertising their new leather first class seats in the Mexican market. It translated its "Fly in Leather" campaign literally, into the Spanish (volar desnudo), which means:   "Fly Naked".

American Airlines 1960s advertising

The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read "Are you lactating?"

smiling cow cartoon pic


Anybody's guess. These classic Chevy Nova Award Urban Legends have been repeated with variations for years and will amuse folks for years to come!

Minions Dave and Tim

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