Did you know that Coca-Cola in Chinese means
“the drink that makes you happy”?
When Chinese consumers read the characters for Coca Cola
– 可口可乐 Kĕkŏu Kĕlè – they immediately think of
“something worth drinking in moments of happiness” or, more simply,
“the drink that makes you happy”. This marvelous translation is also
accurate in Chinese phonetic terms and became so effective
as to make the presence of the original brand on bottles and cans
distributed in China pointless.
With the aim of guiding Italian companies keen to approach
the Chinese consumer market by understanding and interpreting
Chinese culture unconventionally, we sought to imagine 12 possible
“Coke-style” translations of Italian brands which focus on the history
and vision of companies or the core values of their brand while,
at the same time, respecting the original phonetics.
The idea is that when Chinese people read the characters chosen
to translate the foreign brand, they should not only recall the original sound
by associating it with Chinese syllables but also immediately identify
the company’s principles, mission or even the key features of its products.
In other words, Chinese consumers will be able to understand,
at first glance, the spirit and personality of the brand as if it were its payoff.