Category Archives: Cultural hotpot


Hand it to locals

How easy it is to put your foot in it. Or should I say hand in it. This image was going to be used by a big German company for an HR brochure. It was only for internal purposes, so why pull in foreign agencies? Enough people already had their finger in the pie. Well, when the first draft went … Continue reading


Magenta in Malaysia

Following a mega deal with Royal Dutch Shell, German Telekom off-shoot T-Systems is now actively operating in Malaysia after taking over its global DP systems. You may be familiar with the corporate colours of Telekom and as happens with many strongly branded companies, a mention of the name is enough to conjure up a world covered in flags, logos and … Continue reading

Expensive to make, not dear to customers

Use the news

Companies often use things happening in the news to inject their products with interest and move forward the AIDA process. But this recent idea caused a bit of a cafuffle. Obama Fingers. Yes, you read that right: OBAMA fingers, like fish fingers only with chicken. What in heaven’s name possessed the people at the company (and probably some over-zealous product … Continue reading

Certified by experts

German safety

I’ve been noticing recently the number of German advertisers who use “Sicherheit” (= safety; certainty) in their marcoms (marketing communications). I wonder if this is a cultural influence, relating to what Hofstede would call “uncertainty avoidance”. Two examples. One: posters for a new indoor adventure park called Sensapolis. I’ve not been to the place (apparently it costs a small fortune … Continue reading

Heineken cans in France

Dealing with alcohol

How differently alcohol is sold in different countries… Starting with some examples from Anja (thanks for your input!), it looks like the French are taking the issue of drinking during pregnancy very seriously. So seriously in fact that warnings now feature on cans. Whether this is a legal requirement I don’t know, but if it is then that can’t be … Continue reading

Source: Advertising Age website screenshot

Ethnic marketing

It’s good to see marketing issues becoming so big that they earn themselves a name in the marketing strategy books. We look at the changing nature of society in MM1, especially in Germany and the UK (where, respectively, the statistics tell us more Kebabs are now eaten than the iconic Hamburger, and more Chicken Tandoori is now eaten than the … Continue reading

What's that? Wanker?!

Keiner wankt

If ever you needed a good reason for not going to the European finals in Austria and Switzerland, then this is it. Apparently the Germans have picked a slogan for the tournament – although this is not the official slogan – but it’s being slapped on t-shirts and is bound to be seen a lot this summer. It refers to … Continue reading

David and Goliath battle it out. And NPO marketing won.

The power of consumer lobbying

Greenpeace know how to put an organisation under pressure when they want to. So when a major oil company decides it would be quicker and cheaper to get rid of an oil platform by sinking it in the middle of the North Sea, their PR department shifted into top gear and we saw NPO marketing at its best. Many observers … Continue reading


Hofstede helps

The issue of images and cultural references was once looked at closely by a PhD student and university professor in the United States. The 2004 study raised issues that should be debated more often in advertising agencies. Business really needs to look at this issue more closely, but I guess not many of us have enough time… The brains behind … Continue reading

Source: website screenshot.

Go away yanks!

I notice that Henkel, despite being so big (and surely employing thousands of native speakers of English) has not yet worked out how to formulate wording in a “culturally appropriate manner”. How about “Thank you for visiting our site. For more detailed information specifically tailored to United States visitors, please go to …” No. Instead we have the equivalent of … Continue reading


Selling Germany

I had a client in Germany who could not work out why all of his export managers sold so many products (in a technical market) while his sales were stagnating or in decline. To make things worse, he had to think up clever marketing strategies and expensive selling materials while his export colleagues did nothing more than turn up at … Continue reading