Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bib #19 "When is a cat not a cat?."

Garcia, Sara. "When is a cat not a cat?." Developing a single, strong, precise, motivating position is hard in one language, argues Sara Garcia: doing it in more that one requires an open mind. Admap. (1998): 1-5


This article I find very relevant is about the planners, researchers and marketing teams spend much time and effort trying to define a single meaningful identity for brands across international markets. While for some brands differences in the history of their development, product usage or the mix of markets make this impossible, it is still the marketer's dream. With a single succinct, motivating identity there is a good chance of being able to create a single advertising strategy and ultimately a single campaign.

However, en route to this dream goal, problems arise and the result is often trying to shoe-horn positionings into needs which they do not quite fit. To do this, the positioning is amended, reduced, manipulated and generally weakened. It is not quite the poignant concept we started out with. Why do we seem to be compromising and what can we do to enrich rather than impoverish?

This article demonstrated very well what went wrong with the recent Australian Tourism ad campaign which was launch globally last March 2006. The campaign which attracted a lot of attention the world over with it's selling line, "Where the bloody hell are you?" had to change some of its execution to suit local cultures in different national markets. The campaign was tailored to suit the Japanese market and because there is literally no swear words in Japanese thus limiting the effect intended of the selling line in the first place, the campaign had the "effect" it wanted reduced in some ways so that it could fit in a local market which is of course very compromising and risky. Compare these selling lines, "Where the bloody hell are you?" and the Japanese version, "Where are you?". Which one you prefer?

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