‘Greetings, Death.’ Coca-Cola’s Recent Marketing Slogan in New Zealand Did Not Go Well

October 17, 2018, 4:41 PM UTC

Coca-Cola failed to do some lingual research before launching a new advertisement in New Zealand, resulting in a humorous blunder.

The beverage company ran signage reading “Kia ora, mate” on vending machines, attempting to mix a greeting from the island’s indigenous peoples’ language, te reo Māori, with English. But while “mate” might be a friendly word to refer to another in English, it has a very different meaning in Māori.

What was supposed to read as a friendly hello to a friend actually translates to “Greetings, death.”

Some critics online have pointed out the irony of Coca-Cola’s mistake, as the soft drink isn’t exactly the healthiest option.

“Saying ‘hello, death’ looks like they’re fessing up how unhealthy the drink really is,” communications expert Cas Carter told the online publication Stuff.

One twitter user speculated that Coca-Cola may have gained some “self-awareness,” while another just commented, “Finally, truth in advertising.”

A company spokesperson told Māori Television that the phrase was only “meant to bring Māori and English together,” and “was in no way being disrespectful to any culture.”