Apple and Samsung are both getting it wrong... in their name 7

Apple just announced its latest iPhone is going to ditch its headphone, and will call itself iPhone7.

iPhone will feature some brave changes, for example, 

  • Ditch its earphone jack
  • the home button will detect how firmly it is being pressed and provide vibration-based feedback
  • the handsets is water-proof (finally!), and can be submerged in water up to depths of 1m (3.2ft) for 30 minutes at a time
  • the larger iPhone 7 Plus model gets a two-lens camera on its rear, allowing it to offer a choice of focal lengths

 

Amongst all, the bravest thing they do is calling the latest headset as 'iPhone7' and using the tagline 'This is 7' in their announcement.

iPhone7 slogan in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (From Left to Right)

iPhone7 slogan in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (From Left to Right)

It may not mean a thing for you, but in China, particularly in Hong Kong, the word '7' means something more than just a number.  The number ‘7’ is a common euphemism of a Cantonese profanity word referring to penis, which only differs slightly in the tone.

 

Earlier this year, Samsung Galaxy encountered similar problem in Hong Kong thanks to the launch of its Note 7 headset.  The name 'Note 7', in a way, is even worse as its unfortunate translation in Cantonese means 'a piece of dick'. 

 

Oh well...  we can't emphasise enough the importance of having local expert in your marketing team for providing the authentic insights into the local culture and language. Otherwise, unfortunate case likes this does happen.


Carol Chan

London