Fancy Maker and Sisley, Lenovo’s Marketing Fail

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January 9, 2015 by ...

Xiaomi is an interesting company with an odd name. For westerners, any word starting starting with an ‘X’ is simply bizarre. How does one one pronounce ‘xiang’ or ‘xiao’, for example.

Xiaomi has lessened the pronunciation ‘mortification’ factor, by calling its kit ‘Mi’. This works well for everybody involved. In Chinese that word is pronounced like ‘me’ which is pretty close to its English phonetic equivalent.

Dragon Master Fu and Golden Noodles
Mainland firms typically battle to offer up relevant and appealing monikers. After all, ‘Golden Dragon’ may sound like an interesting eatery but less than credible handset. Superstition being what it is, Chinese companies forge ahead with head scratcher labels.

To be fair most Of these firms are too young to understand marketing and invest in that space. For them the name of the game is to sell for peanuts and make up for it on volume. As a result you get names such as ‘Hot Wind’ for Chinese haberdasheries.

As I said, these firms can hardly be blamed. With less than a decade of experience under their belts, such bumbling is understandable, the same cannot be said for Lenovo, however.

Lenovo’s marketing fail
Take a look at the following from Lenovo- Pics from here


The phone pictured is the newest from Lenovo and it’s aptly named “Sisley”.

Fancy maker and Sisley, WTF?
Perhaps Lenovo can blame the communist party which owns 40% of their stock. Even still, Lenovo considers itself a big boy and should act like it.

Their actions can only be seen as moronic. Not only did they name their IPhone 6 clone the ‘Sisley’, but followed that up by naming their newest online only brand the ‘Fancy Maker’. Yeah, Lenovo now has employees and a budget line item for anything related to its Fancy Maker product.

Horrible translation
The term can best be described as ‘Chinglish’, a horrible mixture of both Chinese and English. One would think that with all the money that Lenovo has on hand they could pay translators to help them with such minor issues as naming a product but of course they don’t. The result is gobbledegook.

The word ‘fancy maker’ in Mandarin is ‘chao liu Zhi zao’ which means trend setter. They obviously did not get the message that their direct translation sucks and now people will have the painful opportunity of owning their very own fancy Maker handset.

Chinese can’t name
Returning to the subject at hand we can see that naming products is not on most Chinese bucket list nor has this received the priority it deserves. Consequently we in the west have to talk like babies or rely on gibberish to even communicate when buying their goods.

The long-term prognosis of such a thing is not very good. For example, how many people want to say, ‘Hey want to take a look at my Fancy Maker?’

If that’s not a recipe for a sexual harassment lawsuit and nothing is.

Be that as it may we have to play the hand you’re dealt with. This means that when interfacing with companies such as Lenovo and Xiaomi we will force our mouths into unnatural shapes,curves and postures just to ensure that we’ve ordered the product that our Chinese compatriots are willing to sell.


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