Cross Cultural Advertising

"Culture is a like dropping an Alka-seltzer into a glass ? you don't see it, but somehow it does something," Hans Magnus Enzensberger.

Culture affects everything we do. This applies to all areas of human life from personal relationships to conducting business abroad. When interacting within our native cultures, culture acts as a framework of understanding. However, when interacting with different cultures this framework no longer applies due to cross cultural differences.

Cross cultural communication aims to help minimise the negative impact of cross cultural differences through building common frameworks for people of different cultures to interact within. In business, cross cultural solutions are applied in areas such as HR, team building, foreign trade, negotiations and website design.

Cross cultural communication solutions are also critical to effective cross cultural advertising. Services and products are usually designed and marketed at a domestic audience. When a product is then marketed at an international audience the same domestic advertising campaign abroad will in most cases be ineffective.

The essence of advertising is convincing people that a product is meant for them. By purchasing it, they will receive some benefit, whether it be lifestyle, status, convenience or financial. However, when an advertising campaign is taken abroad different values and perceptions as to what enhances status or gives convenience exist. These differences make the original advertising campaign defunct.

It is therefore critical to any cross cultural advertising campaign that an understanding of a particular culture is acquired. By way of highlighting areas of cross cultural differences in advertising a few examples shall be examined.

Language in Cross Cultural Advertising

It may seem somewhat obvious to state that language is key to effective cross cultural advertising. However, the fact that companies persistently fail to check linguistic implications of company or product names and slogans demonstrates that such issues are not being properly addressed.

The advertising world is littered with examples of linguistic cross cultural blunders. Of the more comical was Ford's introduction of the 'Pinto' in Brazil. After seeing sales fail, they soon realised that this was due to the fact that Brazilians did not want to be seen driving a car meaning 'tiny male genitals'.

Language must also be analysed for its cultural suitability. For example, the slogan employed by the computer games manufacturer, EA Sports, "Challenge Everything" raises grumbles of disapproval in religious or hierarchical societies where harmonious relationships are maintained through the values of respect and non-confrontation.

It is imperative therefore that language be examined carefully in any cross cultural advertising campaign

Communication Style in Cross Cultural Advertising

Understanding the way in which other cultures communicate allows the advertising campaign to speak to the potential customer in a way they understand and appreciate. For example, communication styles can be explicit or implicit. An explicit communicator (e.g. USA) assumes the listener is unaware of background information or related issues to the topic of discussion and therefore provides it themselves. Implicit communicators (e.g. Japan) assume the listener is well informed on the subject and minimises information relayed on the premise that the listener will understand from implication. An explicit communicator would find an implicit communication style vague, whereas an implicit communicator would find an explicit communication style exaggerated.

Colours, Numbers and Images in Cross Cultural Advertising

Even the simplest and most taken for granted aspects of advertising need to be inspected under a cross cultural microscope. Colours, numbers, symbols and images do not all translate well across cultures.

In some cultures there are lucky colours, such as red in China and unlucky colours, such as black in Japan. Some colours have certain significance; green is considered a special colour in Islam and some colours have tribal associations in parts of Africa.

Many hotels in the USA or UK do not have a room 13 or a 13th floor. Similarly, Nippon Airways in Japan do not have the seat numbers 4 or 9. If there are numbers with negative connotations abroad, presenting or packaging products in those numbers when advertising should be avoided.

Images are also culturally sensitive. Whereas it is common to see pictures of women in bikinis on advertising posters on the streets of London, such images would cause outrage in the Middle East.

Cultural Values in Cross Cultural Advertising

When advertising abroad, the cultural values underpinning the society must be analysed carefully. Is there a religion that is practised by the majority of the people? Is the society collectivist or individualist? Is it family orientated? Is it hierarchical? Is there a dominant political or economic ideology? All of these will impact an advertising campaign if left unexamined.

For example, advertising that focuses on individual success, independence and stressing the word "I" would be received negatively in countries where teamwork is considered a positive quality. Rebelliousness or lack of respect for authority should always be avoided in family orientated or hierarchical societies.

By way of conclusion, we can see that the principles of advertising run through to cross cultural advertising too. That is ? know your market, what is attractive to them and what their aspirations are. Cross cultural advertising is simply about using common sense and analysing how the different elements of an advertising campaign are impacted by culture and modifying them to best speak to the target audience.

Neil Payne is Managing Director of Kwintessential. Visit their site at: http://www.kwint essential.co.uk/cross-cultural/cross-cultural-awareness.html

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Reuters

Facebook removes accounts advertising stolen identities
Reuters
(Reuters) - Facebook Inc has removed a number of accounts and pages that advertised and sold social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and alleged credit card numbers of dozens of people, following a report by news website Motherboard. FILE ...

and more »

Business Insider

What you need to know in advertising today
Business Insider
Google-parent company Alphabet topped Wall Street targets with 23% revenue growth in Q1, but the better-than-expected performance was not enough to allay worries about rising expenses and the most significant risks of a regulatory clampdown the company ...
Google's Parent Company Spends Like It's Thinking of a Future Beyond AdsNew York Times
Google Parent Alphabet's Earnings Beat Expectations, Investors Still Worry About Advertising Outlook, Gov't ...Deadline
Google CEO tells investors not to worry about Europe's upcoming privacy rulesCNBC
Alphabet
all 463 news articles »

Texas A&M The Battalion

Developing professionalism in advertising
Texas A&M The Battalion
From promoting the logistics of advertising to developing members individually, Aggie Advertising Club (AAC) provides first-hand education and professionalism in advertising. AAC, founded in 1995 at Texas A&M, is a student chapter of the American ...


AdExchanger

Mobile Performance Advertising Is Broken. Here's How To Fix It
AdExchanger
"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media. Today's column is written by Maor Sadra, managing director and chief revenue officer at AppLift. In last-touch and last ...


Director of Advertising
Publishers Lunch Deluxe
W. W. Norton & Company is seeking a Director of Advertising to join its College marketing department. The Director of Advertising will be responsible for directing advertising strategies and analyzing the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. This ...


Seeking Alpha

JC Decaux: Acquisition Or Not, This French Advertising Player Looks Good For Value Investors
Seeking Alpha
JC Decaux SA (OTCPK: JCDXF, OTC:JCDXY) is easily one of the oldest and most established companies within the outdoor advertising space. The management has grown its international footprint over the years beyond its core market of Europe to emerging ...


Chicago Tribune

Reddit to open Chicago office as part of advertising push - Chicago ...
Chicago Tribune
Reddit is opening an office in Chicago, the social media platform's first outside the coasts.

and more »

Business Insider

An advertising executive asked job candidates to apply via text message — and it changed the way he thinks about hiring
Business Insider
Unless, that is, you recently applied for a summer internship via text message at Havas New York — a global advertising company. The hiring campaign — dubbed "Text Me, Harry Bee" — asked internship candidates to text Havas' chief creative officer ...

and more »

Broadcasting & Cable

Viacom Makes Advanced Advertising Deal with Comcast ...
Broadcasting & Cable
Viacom and Comcast said they are teaming up on advanced advertising. A new long-term agreement will integrate Viacom's targeted advertising skill and national reach with technology from Comcast's Freewheel unit and data the on anonymized cable ...
Comcast, Viacom Team on Advanced Advertising EffortsCED
Viacom, Comcast sign advanced advertising pactFierceCable
FreeWheel Gets Bigger Ride Through Advanced Advertising ...Radio & Television Business Report
Viacom Corporate (blog)
all 14 news articles »

Red Herring

Alphabet Posts Strong Quarterly Profits on Advertising Boost
Red Herring
Google's parent company Alphabet has reported a huge profit increase in its latest quarterly earnings report, as it continues to corner the digital advertising market. The Mountain View-headquartered firm, which appears to have emerged from a series of ...

and more »
Google News

Take Advantage of Your Foes

Let's take an example that is easy to check: I... Read More

Persistant Advertising Will Do No Harm!

From my experience, I've been on many discussion groups and... Read More

Brand Young and You Brand for Life; Why Cinema Advertising is an Effective Tools for Marketers

In the world of advertising there are many forms of... Read More

How To Make Your Yellow Page Ads Work

I hear it often, "advertising in the Yellow Pages directory... Read More

Cross Cultural Advertising

"Culture is a like dropping an Alka-seltzer into a glass... Read More

Secrets to Profitable Mail Order Products

The most profitable mail order products are simple... Read More

3 Simple Steps to Getting Thousands in Free Advertising

Many entrepreneurs believe that they understand what public relations is,... Read More

10 Tips to Use Giveaways Effectively

Walk around any trade or consumer show and you will... Read More

How To Create A Better Brochure

Having a quality brochure makes a positive impression on a... Read More

LED Moving Message Displays

LED's are becoming more and more popular in all kinds... Read More

The Future of Voiceovers: Hold Your Tongue...Possibly Forever

"Do we need to cast a voice-over talent for this... Read More

Secrets And Top-Tips Of Mail Order Advertising

Good Advertising creates more production, thus greater consumption, faster turnover... Read More

Advertising For The Long Haul and Not the Short Term Gains

New Age Media Concepts issues its first article... Read More

Juice - Scam of the Decade or Opportunity of the Century

If you are an ardent web surfer and MLMer like... Read More

If You Invest Money on Advertising, then You could Save Thousands through this Simple Little Secret

A few years ago, I analysed the statistics of where... Read More

Custom T-shirts -- Put Your Company Logo on Cotton!

An effective way to gain company recognition is to order... Read More

Understanding Internet Banner Advertising

Banner advertising is an effective way of getting your advertising... Read More

Localized Advertising ? Door-to-Door Ad Distribution on the Fly!

Have you ever had to distribute door-hanger advertisements for your... Read More

Why Your Ads Aren?t Working

The president of a manufacturing company recently asked me, "Why... Read More

Electronic Display Boards

Electronic display boards signify high priority messaging, allowing you to... Read More

The TV Shoot, The Spoiled Brat, And A Painful Lesson

It was two days before our shoot. I was in... Read More

How to SAVE Yourself from Spending too Much Money on Advertising!

How much money have you spent in Advertising, Promotion &... Read More

The Benefits of Specific Advertising

The great Claude Hopkins (Author of Scientific Advertising) once said,... Read More

Yellow Pages Ads - Buying Secrets

Yellow Pages Ads - Buying SecretsOK- let's agree that many... Read More

Advertising Basics for Beginners

So many of us who have decided to do business... Read More