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What Does This Towel Remind You Of?

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This week in bad ideas: the so-called “100% Cotton Hooded Baby Towel” out of Hubei, China. Thanks to a reader tip late last week, Beijing Cream has discovered the cool new product, viewable here, whose hood might just cover your entire face.

To my mind, the towel most resembles a Snuggie in its cotton shapelessness and shockingly high level of social acceptability. However, some commenters see a more insidious resemblance.

The arms outstretched, hood over the face framing of the Alibaba ad’s picture has, for some, brought up reminders of the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib.

Presumably, this was not the poster’s intention.

Of course, it seems much more likely that the strangeness of the ad is another in a long line of weird translation issues that Chinese companies have had selling products online. Beyond that, it seems probable that the hood doesn’t actually cover the entire face, although there are no additional photos to confirm that suspicion.

The odds of a translation issue go up considerably after a quick look at other Alibaba ads, like this one, for a “Cotton Cheap Beach Towel.”

As more and more Chinese companies attempt to sell products online to an English-speaking market, these sorts of mix-ups become more common. Last week, Xiamen Jinzhi’s Helen Keller brand sunglasses caused quite a stir.

Their slogan? “You see the world, the world sees you.” As of last night, Xiamen Jinzhi appeared to be sticking by the ad.

Getting into the way back machine, we have last month’s Abercrombie and Fitch (ANF) racist pants fiasco. In that case, it was a knock-off website selling the offensively named clothes, although that fact didn’t do Abercrombie a ton of good.

At the end of the day, most of these examples are honest, often Google Translate (GOOG)-related, mistakes. Still, some of them are quite funny.
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