Culture and Marketing

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Imagine watching an advertisement for launching a global product loaded with US baseball champs in Sri Lanka. Or how about watching a Bollywood actress promoting a drink in Mexico. What is lacking in these ads? A way to connect to the local people! The aim of an advertisement for products and services is to increase awareness and to influence people to buy your product. An ad that does not connect with people cannot achieve this effectively.

To be successful, an ad does not need celebrities. It should have the ability to touch people in someway. Knowing the local culture is a great boon to identifying how to design your ads. In a country like India with a billion+ population where the middle-class emphasizes kids development, most advertisements are designed around children. What does a cell phone company do with a child that is not even its target market? It uses the child to connect with people and leave a lasting impression about the ad. Then the product name spreads because people talk about the ad.

On the other hand, some companies fail utterly by just broadcasting their global ad. One size fits all works if the ad is designed appropriately. Some high-tech companies like IBM and Intel for instance have not managed to touch a wider audience through their ads in India just for this reason. They spend millions advertising every 10 mins or so on the most watched cricket matches without leaving any mark. Another important aspect is the acceptability of the ad. Will your ad turn off people? For instance, Round Table Pizza’s ad about the Knight becoming a stripper to afford such low prices was a bummer. Their next ad was about how family friendly they are. But the damage was done. Similarly, a mobile that supports two SIM cards is great. But that is spoiled by the ad that shows how the guy can have one SIM for each of his two wives.

An advertisement is not just about reach and awareness. Its about calling people for action. It should be concise and effective. And most importantly, it should gel with the local culture. Looking forward to your opinions / examples on effective and ineffective ads. Please leave your comments.


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