Differences in slang around the world mean we sometimes see locally-hilarious results from ads that might seem fine elsewhere, such as “Fly In Leather” turning into “Fly Naked,” “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” becoming “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate,” and the Ford Pinto meaning “tiny male genitals.” And now the Oakland Athletics have given us a great addition to this list thanks to their “Rooted In Oakland” slogan.
Ahead of the MLB All-Star Game Tuesday, the Athletics decided to run an ad promoting pitcher Liam Hendricks (a first-time All-Star selection) in newspapers in Hendriks’ native Australia (where the game was being aired Wednesday morning). That’s all well and good, but they decided to include their standard #RootedInOakland slogan. And they maybe should have listened to Hendriks’ comments to media in April about what that means in Australia (as presented here by Phil Barber of The (Santa Rosa) Press-Democrat):
Aussie Liam Hendriks confirmed to me that the A's slogan "Rooted in Oakland" has been a source of some hilarity for him. "Rooted" is a very, very naughty word in Australia.
— Phil Barber (@Skinny_Post) April 20, 2019
Indeed it is. Let’s go over to the old Urban Dictionary, and a definition from 2003:
Here’s the full ad the A’s ran, with the #rootedinoakland visible at the bottom if you expand the photo:
— John Stensholt (@JohnStensholt) July 9, 2019
And that tweet got some funny responses:
Maybe they should of spoken to an Aussie before using the term “rooted”.
— DK Louis (@DKLouis3) July 10, 2019
Rooted has a very different meaning in Australia @Athletics 😂😂
— Jeremy Solis (@solis_jeremy) July 10, 2019
I wonder if Liam gets rooted in Oakland?
— 💧 Trivalve (@TVofCarringbush) July 10, 2019
So, while “Rooted In Oakland” may be a perfectly fine slogan in North America, it’s probably not the best thing to use in an Australian newspaper. Unless the Athletics are trying to send a different sort of message. (This also brings up questions of if anyone tried to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame‘s “Let me root, root, root for the home team” during the 2014 MLB game in Australia, and if so, how that went.) As it is, this might be the worst unintentionally-explicit sports marketing blunder since a Cleveland Browns’ staffer broadcast the #dp hashtag on a team facility wall.