MARKETING MIX: SOAP BOX; Local flavour for a global message is common sense

The fact that Coca-Cola has ‘broken ranks’ with the other global American mega corporations and appointed 30 advertising agencies to bring a creative local flavour to the global message seems to have surprised most seasoned observers.

The fact that Coca-Cola has ‘broken ranks’ with the other global

American mega corporations and appointed 30 advertising agencies to

bring a creative local flavour to the global message seems to have

surprised most seasoned observers.



The fact they are achieving business success with this policy seems to

have surprised observers even more. As a seasoned observer myself, I’m

surprised they’re surprised.



All the best advertising textbooks agree on one thing: that you must

know who you’re talking to if you want to create truly persuasive

advertising.



This means not only knowing what sort of people they are but what media

they consume, what they feel about products or services on offer and

what they feel about competitive products and services. This information

cannot be amalgamated across a spectrum of national boundaries because,

as I learnt at school, you can’t add apples and pears.



This is why we find the following recent quotes from current and ex-

creative directors of multinational agencies bemoaning the preponderance

of ‘international’ work: ‘London is now handling a tremendous amount of

European work; often bland, lowest-common-denominator stuff,’ and ‘You

do marvellous work even the young spurters at spring-green agencies

envy, but only get assessed on the pan-European stuff that started life

far from home, over which you have no influence.’



The Ecu even seems to be dropping in the minds of battle-hardened Euro

businessmen like Bill Jones, managing director of Disneyland Paris, who

has discovered ‘the European consumer anticipated at the launch of

Disneyland Paris doesn’t exist’. Surprise, surprise.



The US Advertising Age seems to agree, stating in September that

‘sophisticated global marketeers no longer manage international brands

largely by developing ideas at headquarters then exporting them to local

markets’.



Oddly, the increasing harmonisation in Europe seems to be causing a

hardening of local issues, not only between countries but also within

them. The Times recently stated: ‘It would seem that a loss of national

identity in the EU is inspiring an explosion of reasserted regional

identities.’



Thus Scotland demands more than the return of the Stone of Scone; the

prosperous Northern League wants out of Italy; and East and West Germany

are squabbling.



Yet there are still massive global agency wins. Colgate pumps dollars

550m (pounds 352m) into Young & Rubicam, IBM commits dollars 400m

(pounds 256m) to Ogilvy & Mather, Fiat and Oz tourism consolidate into

DMB&B. Is it just megalomania, corporate neatness, economic imperialism

or the need for a quick-fix solution or short-term savings? Who knows,

but it doesn’t seem to be anything to do with business success.



Pepsi vs Coke is well documented. Mars is being ‘outmanoeuvred’ by

rivals such as Nestle, which says being too global means you ‘lose

efficiency in communication’.



So maybe we’re returning to an era of advertising common sense - talking

to people we know rather than people we don’t.



Tom Rodwell is vice-chairman of Court Burkitt & Company



Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message