One of the topics that my class is discussing is marketing American products in other countries. We learned that sometimes American product names do not work well in other countries. The classic example was Chevrolet’s marketing of their car, the Nova. Their marketing campaign in South America failed. No va means doesn’t go in Spanish.
In class, I played commercials from different countries that advertise American products. Of particular interest to me was a Korean commercial for KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). The commercial consisted of a popular Korean actress eating a chicken sandwich in a suggestive manner. Music played in the background – My Girl from the 1960s. The song was sung in English.
I asked my Korean students if Koreans would understand the words. The said no. It didn’t matter as long as they liked the melody.
I’m sure the adverising firm carefully researched appealing melodies. As a musican and teacher, I found it interesting that the words meant nothing; it was the melody that matters.