over the years, I"ve heard the following anecdote repeated frequently as an example of marketing-gone-bad:

In Argentina (or sometimes, Latin America), Colgate-Palmolive faced substantial hurdles in marketing their brand the toothpaste, Colgate, as it successfully translate to, Go hang Yourself!

Is this true? below is one of many sites that make this claim.

You are watching: What does colgate mean in spanish


I can vouch because that the translation: "colgate" here means "hang yourself" or "hang you". Notification that this differs from "normal" Spanish (Spain and also most Latin America), since our "voseo" (for familiar second person speaking) changes grammar -in Spain it would certainly be "cuélgate".

This matches the testimony here.

It must have been certain an regrettably coincidence because that the marketers, yet I don"t believe that it to be a great deal; civilization just understand and get over it. And I don"t think that the simultaneous is so disastrous as it can sound. First, we don"t typically use the word to as a colloquial humiliation or curse, together in English - Spanish speakers can say instead: "matate" (kill yourself) o "pegate un tiro" (fire yourself). Furthermore, the verb "colgar" has quite various other meanings, except the plot of death hanging native a rope. Because that example, currently, it"s also used as younger slang because that "to take part of something" (similar come "hang out") and also there are more related "positive" meanings.

There has been part much more unfortunate coincidences: the Mitsubishi Pajero had to be changed (to Montero) because pajero is a very strong and vulgar indigenous in many Spanish-speaking regions (wanker).

See more: Where To Get Black Coal In Wizard101 ? Finding Ingredients

Update: an interesting allude is raised in the comments, about the pronunciation. We (I"m speaking about Argentina, and also most non-English-speaking countries) are supplied to pronounce many "foreign" words not by complying with the Spanish phonetic rules, yet with the initial sounds (well... Approximately). Say, we pronounce "Seven Up" together if the critical syllable had actually a Spanish "a". But a word prefer "Colgate" have the right to make united state hesitate, because it feels like a Spanish word, yet we (might) understand that it"s foreign. And, indeed, a couple of people below pronounce "colgueit", ala English. A consensus is usually formed, regularly driven by TV-radio announcements. Therefore (and this is the point of this disgression) one could guess that the marketing need to have try to i charged the "foreign" pronounciation in the announcements, come dispell the unfortunately coincidence through the Spanish verb. However, for part reason, that didn"t take place (because the Spanish pronounciation was already established, or since the coincidence didn"t matter? I"d bet because that the later, yet that"s just my guess). View for example here (Mexico, ~1960) and also here (Argentina, ~2010). The same happens in Italy.