Building a global advertising campaign
Paul Gallant, Global Report
Eight lessons in how, where and with whom to choose an international marketing program
Companies aspiring to achieve a global awareness rivalling Nike, Coca-Cola and Apple shouldn't overlook the enduring appeal of Kraft's Philadelphia Cream Cheese Angel. The sassy angel debuted in Canadian TV commercials in 1994 and over the next 15 years, her "little taste of heaven" message was adapted for commercials in more than 35 countries, using different languages http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TYiN05QbS4&feature=related, performers, storylines http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb8_hPD7GN8 and styles of humour http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrPHRnyu8OU&feature=related .
Making the jump from a national advertising strategy to one that works internationally may not take $2.4 billion (the estimated annual global ad budget of Nike last year). And it might be born in a local ad agency office rather than on Madison Avenue. What it does require is figuring out how the sales pitch will play out across different markets, and finding the right advertising partners to help do it.
"With the Internet, which lets you sell all over the world, every company can consider itself a multinational now," says Peter Gerritsen, president of Transworld Advertising Agency Network (TAAN) http://www.taan.org, a Boston-based network of independent advertising agencies. "The question is when to start pushing your messages out to those other markets."
For companies with an established national advertising strategy, there is temptation is to work with their existing advertising firm to take their advertising into other markets, perhaps simply translating it for non-English audiences. But that can ring hollow in other cultures, even in countries as similar as the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., for example, appeals to patriotism are far more effective than in Canada, while self-depreciating humour works better north of the 49th parallel than below it.
"Don't just pick up and run," says David Gibb http://www.jwtcanada.ca/davidgibb , executive vice president and managing director of the JWT Canada, the office where the Cream Cheese Angel was born. "You should do your strategy work first. Really understand, in the market you're going into, who you're trying to connect with, what are they thinking and feeling, particularly around the category you're going to engage in and what's the competition doing, since the competitive landscape can be completely different." Oreo cookies might be beloved by generations of North American children, but they appeared on shelves in China just 16 years ago, unknown to Chinese consumers. On the other hand, Gibb points out, demographic groups, like the middle class in China, might have more in common with their middle class counterparts in North America than their poorer fellow citizens.
Here are eight quick lessons on how to advertise your company’s wares outside Canada.
1. The most obvious way to reach numerous national markets is a multinational agency, which has offices in many countries. There are roughly 20 of these global companies, including international agencies like JWT or Ogilvy and Mather. Holding companies like New York-based Omicom Group and Interpublic Group, London-based WPP Group (which owns JWT), Paris-based Publicis Groupe and Havas Suresnes, and Tokyo-based Dentsu have a portfolio of agencies that can work together to develop a cohesive multinational brand.
"With international agencies, it's an issue of co-ordination and control," says C. Samuel Craig, a professor of marketing and international business at New York's Leonard N. Stern School of Business http://www.stern.nyu.edu/faculty/bio/c-samuel-craig . "It's also an issue of getting the best ideas from around the world that can sell the product."
Terry O'Reilly, host of the CBC radio show Under the Influence and co-author of the book The Age of Persuasion: How