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Author Topic: Nothing sucks like an Electrolux?
Floater
Xboxing Day


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Has Electrolux ever tried to use this slogan in an advertising campaign aimed at the US market or is it just another Chevy Nova UL?

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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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skeptic
Deck the Malls


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Is it just me, but do the nouns, BLONDE, BASKETBALL, GARDEN HOSE, come to mind about now?

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Where did the Electrolux poster headlined "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux" run?
A: United Kingdom. It was a poster done by the ad agency Cogent Elliot in London. Like the Chevy myth before it, the tales of Electrolux not knowing the local idiom (because they're Swedish) or that they brought that line to America from English-speaking markets overseas are both hogwash. The poster ran in the United Kingdom and the pun was intentional. You can even see a bad photocopy of the outdoor poster from an old scrapbook here on AdLand [below]. So while the whole world "knows" the story of a scandinavian 'badly dubbed' ad that used the word "sucks" in a headline in the United States nobody has an image of it or proves it in any way. It's time to stop being so gullable. source

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Is it just me, but do the nouns, BLONDE, BASKETBALL, GARDEN HOSE, come to mind about now?
No, why should they?

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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Debunker
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I remember a commercial on one of those "world's funniest commercials" bits. I may have been on Johnny Carson (it was many years ago). But I do remember the commercial well. It featured an elephant pushing a vacuum cleaner around with her trunk. The spokesperson appear at the end and said some words about the Electrolux being better than Jumbo and he ended with "Nothing Sucks Like Electrolux."

The ad was either Australian or British.

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Santa Mari-a
Happy Holly Days


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I remember seeing a picture of this ad in National Lampoon's Funny Pages a long time ago.

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Si hoc comprehendere potes, gratias age magistro Latinae.

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SchmooPie
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Here is a San Francisco Chronicle article that supports the claim and here is a picture from a billboard. Looks legit but journalists do make mistakes.

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"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you."
- C. G. Jung

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Floater
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by SchmooPie:
Here is a San Francisco Chronicle article that supports the claim

Not really. It's the same story you can find everywhere with no data supporting it.

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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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Drainfluid
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The word "sucks" as meaning bad is an American idiom that isn't used in the rest of the English-speaking world (or wasn't until the advent of American sitcoms on TV).

So there was nothing humorous in the original advert, and the people it was directed at wouldn't have seen any double-meaning either.

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SchmooPie
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quote:
Originally posted by Floater:Not really. It's the same story you can find everywhere with no data supporting it. [/QB]
Hence the last sentence of my post. [Wink]

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"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you."
- C. G. Jung

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lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Drainfluid:
The word "sucks" as meaning bad is an American idiom that isn't used in the rest of the English-speaking world (or wasn't until the advent of American sitcoms on TV).

So there was nothing humorous in the original advert, and the people it was directed at wouldn't have seen any double-meaning either.

Yes they would 'sucks' has been a descriptor for fellatio for a long time.

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I Am 6-Ironsman
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It is in my International Business college textbook, (International Business: Fourth Edition. Czinkota, Ronkainen and Moffett, Dryden Press, 1996) on page 302. There is a copy of a similar Electrolux ad with the "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux" tagline.

The book goes on to say
quote:
...The two advertising campaigns presented in figure 9.1 [the other being an LG ad in Arabic that was mis-formatted] highlight the difficulties of transferring advertising campaigns across markets. Electrolux's theme for vacuum cleaners is taken literally in the United Kingdom, but in the United States, slang implications interfere with the intended message...
So the ad campaign is 100% real, at least in the UK.
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Drainfluid
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by lazerus the duck:
Yes they would 'sucks' has been a descriptor for fellatio for a long time.

The wrongness of the "sucks" in the US related to its performance, as in "its unreliable" or "it doesn't do a good job." The "sucks" for fellatio is a poor argument as that would also apply to KFCs "Finger Licking Good" slogan. If you're 13 or have a dirty mind (like I do), almost every single slogan can have a sexual meaning. You don't see "Finger Licking Good" being cited as an example of poor translation across cultures. That was not what the objection to the Electrolux ad was about.
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lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Drainfluid:
quote:
Originally posted by lazerus the duck:
Yes they would 'sucks' has been a descriptor for fellatio for a long time.

The wrongness of the "sucks" in the US related to its performance, as in "its unreliable" or "it doesn't do a good job." The "sucks" for fellatio is a poor argument as that would also apply to KFCs "Finger Licking Good" slogan. If you're 13 or have a dirty mind (like I do), almost every single slogan can have a sexual meaning. You don't see "Finger Licking Good" being cited as an example of poor translation across cultures. That was not what the objection to the Electrolux ad was about.
But what I was replying to was the fact you said.
quote:
and the people it was directed at wouldn't have seen any double-meaning either.
Which is wrong the fact they wouldn't of seen your double meaning doesn't negate the fact they would of seen a double meaning.

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Drainfluid
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I see your point.

Although, to play devil's advocate, would there be a double-meaning if people thought of fellatio?

They would say "Wrong. My wife/girlfriend sucks better than Electrolux!"

That would be a contradiction to the ad, not a double-meaning in the ad...

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GenYus
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathy B:
quote:
Is it just me, but do the nouns, BLONDE, BASKETBALL, GARDEN HOSE, come to mind about now?
No, why should they?
One of the ways of describing a woman sexually is to say that she [is so good at fellatio that] she could suck a golf ball / basketball through a garden hose. And since the stereotype of blondes is that they are sexually loose, that would be why blonde is in there too.

PS. Also that she could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch.

PPS. We wearily wait for Wyda Wong's word wrangling. [Smile]

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Floater
Xboxing Day


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All I can say is this film sucks.

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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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Debunker
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Also she could suck start a Harley.

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"A minibar is a machine that makes everything expensive." - Mitch Hedberg RIP

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Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Debunker:
Also she could suck start a Harley.

Having vague memories of a cheesy line within a cheesy movie...
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Sylvanz
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Hmmm if you live in my neck of the woods Electrolux really does suck in the most derogatory sense of the word.

P&LL, Syl

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Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. — Voltaire

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Pando Raspox
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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When my sister worked for an MD several years ago, a young man came in with a vacuum cleaner hose (don't know if it was an Electrolux) attached firmly to a very swollen.....member. Maybe he took the ad to heart, with embarrasing results [Smile]
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yugyug
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I'm pretty sure the slogan was used in Australia - I remember it from my childhood in melbourne. It could have been a direct import of the british campaign tho, that does happen. We even get American ads over here, sometimes dubbed into Aussie accents with hilarious consequences.

Just because british or aussie audiences at the time wouldn't have used the words sucks collequially in the american vernacular does not mean it would not have been understood. In fact it woud have improved the joke - the negative connotation would have been implied but not overt like it would be for american audiences.

Also, there was a dude in my high school who got caught wanking with a hoover on his johnson. His sister told everyone - at first we doubted it but then he flashed some girls in the canteen and got suspended. He was also on really heavy meds that prevented him from doing his homework, ever - according to his own account.

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Arts Myth
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quote:
Originally posted by yugyug:
Also, there was a dude in my high school who got caught wanking with a hoover on his johnson.

Yikes! I've heard that Hoover supposedly cross-dressed, but this is downright freaky!

Arts "with a melon?!" Myth

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Jenny
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by yugyug:
Just because british or aussie audiences at the time wouldn't have used the words sucks collequially in the american vernacular does not mean it would not have been understood. In fact it woud have improved the joke - the negative connotation would have been implied but not overt like it would be for american audiences.

The negative slang use of "sucks" was already well-established in the UK when the campaign came out. The slogan was the source of much amusement in my school.
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Drainfluid
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Er...since this ad campaign was used in the UK in the 60's (and transferred to the US in the early 70s), you weren't even born yet if your profile information is correct.
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musicgeek
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Pardon the ignorant American, but hasn't "sucks" carried a negative connotation in England, too? (I'm thinking of "Sucks to your ass-mar!" in William Golding's Lord of the Flies, published in 1954. Used as a plural noun rather than as an active verb, but still... Any helpful grammatical clarification from snopesters across the pond would be welcome!

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[God said] "I'll just sit back in the shade while everyone gets laid; that's what I call intelligent design." - Chris Smither, "Origin of the Species"

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bruce in france
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Another well-known use of this slogan in the 1980s was "nothing sucks like a VAX", a double double-entendre covering the then darling of the computer industry and a carpet cleaner in the UK.

See the story in dictionary.com of all places! (Which also claims that the creators of the Electrolux slogan were indeed aware of the meaning.)

-b in f (DEC employee '86-'94)

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Joseph Z
Xboxing Day


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In regards to the bad paraphrasing of "sucks";

It may have been a bad choice for slogan development. But to avoid the legal battles, they have to choose carefully. Like not taking Oreck's vacuum slogan if they ever had one.

But "sucks" they could have used something more coherent. "Boy does this vacuum suck!" Suction is more of a better choice as it is a vacuum and not trashy talk.

"Nothing has more suction power than an electrolux"?

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Joseph Z

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James G.
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Drainfluid:
Er...since this ad campaign was used in the UK in the 60's (and transferred to the US in the early 70s), you weren't even born yet if your profile information is correct.

While it may be a case of 'false memories' the slogan is something I'm sure I've heard used. Whether this is because the campaign was repeated during my lifetime, or just because it entered the national conciousness I don't know.

Not sure how long sucks (as in 'not good') has been used in the UK, but its slang I've always been familiar with. Still, in this context deliberate misinterpretation would be required for me to read that context.

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