Although I don’t really have a clue what ‘Hard and Heart’ means (probably the subliminal message being that the Isuzu was designed to appeal to both the head and heart with its cocktail of robust quality and construction allied to appealing looks?), the ‘Hard and Heart’ campaign clearly worked because I can still recall it more than 30 years later. The Gemini FF failed to topple its established Toyota Corolla, Nissan Pulsar or Honda Civic rivals from the JDM sales charts though, so maybe it wasn’t such a good marketing campaign after all!
As much as I admire non-English speaking attempts to use the global marketing language of English, the end results can sometimes cause unintended comical giggles. Take Suzuki, for example. Before it began exporting its four-wheeled vehicles in earnest in the early 1980s, it placed a tentative toe in the waters of some closer Asian markets where English was widely spoken, such as Singapore and Malaysia. It exported its early 1970s Fronte kei car in a choice of enticing metallic colours, one of which was called Abysmal Green.
Various Communist-era vehicle makers also laughingly attempted to use basic English for useful dollar-earning international markets in printed export promotional literature. Giant Russian car and truck manufacturer GAZ claimed that its Volga M24 saloon models had the “paddiest berths”, for example (this meaning that the model had well-upholstered, comfortable seats, I assume).