Thursday, November 01, 2007

Advertising in different cultures

I have just been commenting on Robi's blog. A post he had about Indian ads. I ended up saying a few things that I had once planned to use for a post of my own. If you like you can check his post and my comments here.

Also pasting it here so my readers can read it without jumping around.

Hi Robi,
First of all thanks for your comment on my blog.
This is what I had come to say when I saw this post. Struck me as quite interesting. I live in the UK so I don't get to see any Indian ads these days. Both the videos you have posted were hilarious; the first one I didn't watch after 59 seconds, it was kinda distasteful.
On the whole, I think, it is part of a copywriter's basic education to "know his audience" which would mean cultuaralizing (making my own word here for your concept) the ad campaign. I have lived in the US and seen their ad's, now I live in the UK and watch their ads, and of course, I have lived in India the most and seen a whole lot of their ads. I'd rank them, on the basis of personal preference, India then UK then US.
They are ALL tailored to their culture. If you ask me, American ads, 95% of them are just yak-yak, only words, either from an on-screen character (a celeb if possible), or voice over on images of the product or something like that. British ads have a strong weirdness factor in them, do something absurd on screen then relate it to the product with words.
Indian ads cover a lot of ground in variety and creativity. You can watch an ad for all of 59 seconds and not know what it is all about and then just see the name of the product in the last second and you are forced to nod and admit that it "makes sense".
I have been always interested in ads, they are quite fascinating in their novel, creative ways. I miss that living in a western country, here there is too much repetition of the same ads. In India, several new ads are released every week, (I am talking about TV spots), and it's fun to watch the new ones. Believe it or not quite a few ads earn their place in water-cooler chats and such.
So, coming back to your point, I think ads are already tailored to their target cultures - Americans want information as much as possible; if you convince an American with features and benefit you can force him/her to pick up the phone and order the item right away. Hence, the yak-yak ads.
British are nice, polite people with their straightforward mindset, genteel and gentle, always trying to act prim and proper. Hence the weirdness, once you got their attention with the absurd visual, feed them the information needed to make them buy.
Indian, it's simple, so many types of people, so many sub-cultures, so many mindsets, hence, so many styles of ads.
Well, that's my 2 bits, take it or leave it. :-)
Nice post, I think I am going to read some more of your posts. You have an interesting way of picking up on things and I like that.

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