The regulatory body composed of the NYSE Regulation and the NASD Regulation, known for the past 5 weeks as SIRA, is getting another name.
As it turns out SIRA, which stands for Securities Industry Regulatory Authority, is an Arabic word that refers to the traditional Muslim biographies of the prophet Mohammad. Oops. Another bow to religious extremists and political correctness? Not at all. NASD’s Mary Schapiro said in an email to firms that the “NASD values and respects the diversity of its employees, member firms and the wider community of investors that it serves."
"We operate in a global, multi-racial, multi-religion environment, and we strive to be sensitive and respectful to all," she said. "To remain true to that spirit, we have decided that selecting the alternative name for our new organization is simply the right thing to do."
The name now being considered is “Financial Industry Regulatory Authority,” or FINRA—no relation to Mothra, the monster that fought Godzilla in the fourth film of the series. [One wonders if the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (also SIRA) is gladdened by the news of the potential name change as well.]
Indeed, it is very common for American companies to carefully research how ad campaigns and slogans might play in other cultures. A Google search of “advertising blunders” brings up many commonly heard—but perhaps apocryphal—tales of corporate embarrassment from badly translated or inappropriately themed campaigns. Let’s see, there once was a sexually explicit Spanish translation of a Frank Perdue chicken slogan, and a frightening Chinese translation of a KFC slogan.
One that is best remembered is Pepsi’s ad campaign from 1963 to 1967; Pepsi’s slogan was, “Come Alive! You’re in the Pepsi Generation.” When the campaign hit China, Pepsi’s sales dropped off considerably. Why? The way they translated “come alive” led many Chinese to interpret this as a promise that Pepsi would somehow bring back their dead ancestors. According to urban legend sleuthing site www.snopes.com, whether this is fact or fiction is as yet “undetermined.”
Surely, FINRA will be well received around the globe.