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Cultural blunders in advertising

Cultural dimensions in Media
by

Alexandra Pocovnicu

on 10 April 2012

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Transcript of Cultural blunders in advertising

Cultural blunders in Advertising can MAKE or BREAK your business & make your product look BIGGER, BETTER and MORE ATTRACTIVE. The phenomenon of global advertising is accelerating.
Tendency in standardizing the product and offering it directly to The essential battle in ADVERTISING is about who can adapt quicker to a specific target clear view of the cultural grounds and all the components, from WORDS and COLORS to ways of interacting and relationships. Using Hofstede's cultural dimensions, Zandpour and Harich conducted a study that revealed how people from different countries perceive audiovisual advertising.
They combined Hofstede’s social values framework with a culture’s perspective of time, after dividing cultures in monochromic and polychromic. Then they used other important factors to analyze the countries.


The countries were grouped into “think” and “feel” clusters, and predictions whether rational or emotional appeals used in advertising would have a positive effect.
Rational appeals were divided into argument and lecture. Emotional appeals were classified into dramatic and psychological.

Might seem easy to create a proper advertising campaign...
...actually it's NOT!

When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." However, the company mistakenly thought the Spanish word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Instead the ads said "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."
Advertising on the Hispanic market

It is a BIG MISTAKE to believe that all Hispanics are the same.
A campaign that works for Cubans wil not necessarily work for Mexicans as well.
For instance Mexicans are avid soccer enthusiasts, whereas Cubans and Caribbean Hispanics love baseball. Advertising on the Japanese market

This culture is sensitive to aesthetics, color and design; consequently, the commercials should be visually-attractive, not conveying lots of information and appeal to consumers' intelligence to decipher the message.
Japanese advertising appeals to emotions and aims at creating a good and relaxed atmosphere.
Japanese advertising is emotional, indirect, suggestive, creating a good mood being the final goal.
Toyota designed two versions of Japanese ads for one of its automobiles. “Engine” was a straight-forward presentation of the mechanical excellence of the car ,while ”Bird” had the same message but the setting consisted in an open road, together with the symbol of a bird. Which one do you think it was successful? In 1991 LOCUM decided to become ecologically friendly and produce just one ad as "Christmas card" for their customers. The body copy in the ad goes on about Locum saving trees by printing only one ad as a holiday good wishes rather than sending out lots of cards.They decided to give their logo a little holiday spirit by replacing the “o” in Locum with a heart. You can see the result…
The Mazda Laputa was introduced in Japan in 1991. Spanish speakers immediately think of "puta", the word for prostitute. With that in mind the ads claiming that "Laputa is designed to deliver maximum utility in a minimum space while providing a smooth, comfortable ride" and "a lightweight, impact-absorbing body" are humorous. Distributors in Santiago, Chile asked Mazda to rename the vehicle. Matsushita Electric was promoting a Japanese PC for internet users with a Japanese Web browser courtesy of Panasonic. Panasonic had licensed the cartoon character "Woody Woodpecker" as the "Internet guide."
The day before a huge marketing campaign was to begin, Panasonic stopped the product launch. The reason: the ads featured the slogan "Touch Woody - The Internet Pecker." An American explained to the stunned and embarrassed Japanese what "touch woody" and "pecker" meant in American slang.
The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-ke-ken-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax" depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, "ko-kou-ko-le," which can be loosely translated as "happiness in the mouth." :) A famous drug company marketed a new remedy in the United Arab Emirates. To avoid any mistakes they used pictures. The first picture was of someone ill, the next picture showed the person taking the medication, the last picture showed them looking well. What they forgot is that in the Arab world people read from right to left! Nike offended Muslims in June, 1997 when the "flaming air" logo for its Nike Air sneakers looked too similar to the Arabic form of God's name, "Allah".
Nike pulled more than 38,000 pairs of sneakers from the market. In Southeast Asia many cultures value chewing Betel Nuts, which is alleged to strengthen teeth and is associated with various rituals and ceremonies.
Surprising or not, Pepsodent's teeth-whitening toothpaste didn't fare well in Southeast Asia.
In Central Africa, tins of baby food imported by Nestle caused riots. The local population were only used to labels depicting the food that was inside the tin. Nestle’s graphic included a smiling baby… The famous fried Chicken hub KFC’s slogan “finger-lickin good” when marketed was translated into China as“eat your fingers off.” Oops! When Pepsico advertised Pepsi in Taiwan with the ad "Come Alive With Pepsi" they had no idea that it would be translated into Chinese as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead."
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