Announcing - the Internet Pecker
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 96 20:43:57 -0700
Subject: Announcing - the Internet Pecker
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If you browser can display Japanese characters (and you can read them),
try http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/pc/docs/article/960530/woody.html If
not, here's the article:
Electronic Engineering Times October 7, 1996
A suggestive Woody has Japanese touchy
BYLINE: Yoshida, Junko
Osaka, Japan - The clash of cultures can oft foil the best-laid plans of
marketers. Consider Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.'s Panasonic brand,
now peppering the Japanese market with a home-PC product line called
<Woody,> as in woodpecker. The company spent big bucks promoting the new
line here and went so far as to come up with a clever name for a niche of
the new line:PCs with touchscreen capability. The name? "Touch Woody." What
did the Japanese giant then decide to call a utility to download Internet
home pages? "Internet Pecker."
That all makes sense if you've spent a lot of money to buy the rights to
use Woody Woodpecker as a mascot, but it doesn't make much sense if you
consider the connotation those phrases have in American slang.
The product was launched only in the Japanese domestic market.
Nevertheless, only the day before the "Touch Woody" press announcement, a
quick-witted American woman working at the company alerted Japanese top
management to what that seemingly harmless phrase could mean.
All printed and spoken "Touch Woody" references in the Japanese
promotions were switched at the last minute to the "Woody Touch Panel." Top
Japanese executives at the press conference apologized profusely for the
sudden change of product name, begging the press not to use "Touch Woody"
in their stories. But, not being able to stand losing face any further,
they stopped short of explaining the whole touchy subject to the Japanese
press or dealers.
© 1996 Peter Langston