Week 12

Message refinement falls under the tricky issue of dealing with the chicken and the egg. This week’s reading fall in with the idea that your targeted message needs to be perfectly refined and tested before deployment. Sugary beverages, for one, struck a subtle challenge because no one hadn’t tried to remove them from kids hands before. That’s a tough market to figure out, as most of the competitors had figured out long ago that all it takes to sell them iya have a pitcher full of your sweet, sweet, nectar destroy someone’s wall. ohh yea.

The problem with a lot of campaigns, though, is that its expensive to run a long research program before launching a campaign, especially in the fast paced world we live in today. I feel like it should be used sparingly. 


The exceptions do exist, of course, as KFC figured out when therealized that “finger licking good” also translated to “eat your fingers off.” 

Pioneers in new markets should indeed worry about the research, but do you think it’s important for everyone to worry about?

Favorite marketing example of poor culture transition?

sorry for any typos, this whole post was written on my iPad.

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6 Responses to Week 12

  1. alanyskpl says:

    I can definitely see how the KFC slogan can be misinterpreted. It is essential to companies to take into consideration the cultural differences when launching a campaign. One example I remember was a Pepsi commercial a while back.

    Pepsi’s slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” translated in Taiwan to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.”

    Ancestors are no joke in Asian culture and its disrespectful to use such comparisons in marketing as bringing them back from their graves. Needless to say, this campaign didn’t fly very well in Taiwan and it failed to bring back the dead.

  2. Oh my goodness – both the KFC and Pepsi faux pas are so wrong (unfortunately the kind of make me laugh at their wrongness also). I came across this Kenneth Cole blooper of a social media marketing idea gone wrong. Maybe in this case, the marketing department should have taken a little more time and thought. In February 2011, someone at Kenneth Cole thought it would be funny to tweet, “Millions are in an uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo – KC.”

    From a distance, this may have seemed witty, but the company made light of a very serious and deadly situation for the Egyptians.

  3. naseemspeaks says:

    I remember the Kenneth Cole tweet! What a horrible move on their part. Another example of cross cultural advertising blunders: In Italy, a campaign for “Schweppes Tonic Water” translated the name into the much less thirst quenching “Schweppes Toilet Water”. I think that some of these translation mistakes don’t require message testing, just some actual thought into the campaigns and how to translate both the message idea and message appropriately.

  4. amandacbilly says:

    Oh god, poorly translated advertising is great. Other examples that come to mind:

    Coors. They translated their slogan “Turn it loose” into Spanish. Unfortunately, Spanish speakers understood it as “Suffer from diarrhea.” The American Dairy Association made a similar mistake with Spanish when they tried to translate their popular “Got milk?” campaign and wound up with “Are you lactating?”

    A little research would go a long way for these companies’ attempts to branch out into international markets.

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