There’s always some degree of embarrassment when you realize you’ve mispronounced a word, from common food items (quinoa is keen-wah) to Irish names (Oppenheimer and Peaky Blinders actor Cillian Murphy is kill-ee-in Murphy). Some of us won’t even order General Tso’s chicken as a result of the potential humiliation. (It’s tsah-ow.)
Recently, AI branding site Business Name Generator analyzed Google search engine results to determine which global consumer brands were giving people the most trouble when it comes to pronunciation.
Yves Saint Laurent
Luxury brands tend to be the most challenging. Premium German carmaker Porsche and fashion leaders Hermès and Louis Vuitton all crack the top five. Porsche is often mispronounced as Por-ssh; Hermès as Her-mezz.
Surprisingly, people tend to be curious about Nike. Given their decades-long advertising onslaught, it should be relatively easy to remember that it’s Nigh-key.
While IKEA comes in sixth on the list, its actual frequency of being mispronounced could be considerable. The Swedish-based ready-to-assemble furniture brand is often thought to be pronounced eye-kee-uh: The company recently confirmed that it’s actually ee-keh-yah, though U.S. commercials still use the former. (IKEA says it’s “absolutely OK” to use “a local accent” when pronouncing it.)
While they didn’t crack the global top 20, both Stella Artois and Godiva are some of the most garbled food brands. Stella Artois is pronounced Steh-la-arr-twa. Godiva is Go-dee-vuh. There’s also confusion over German carmaker Volkswagen. It’s pronounced Foaks-vaa-gun. Considering how widespread the incorrect pronunciation is, you’re probably better off asking your car dealer about a Volks-wah-gen.