November 12, 2008

Adaptation is more than just translation

These are two samples of advertisement produced for world's most famous btand Coca-Cola. One is used for Arab countries and the second one is for America and European countries. Actually, Coca-Cola is very good at adaptating its products on the world market. Some producers do not spend much time and money creating adaptations for foreign audiences. The only thing they do is translating the characters' voices. But as practice shows, it ias bad strategy.
Nowadays Coke is considered to be the world's symbol of globalization beacuse there definitely no country on the Earth where people do not know Coca-Cola logo. But I think it happened not juct because the company is spending tons of money for commercial. It is because they spend it in a right fashion.
In 2003 Coke had three different slogans to promote campaign in English speaking countries: "Real" (for US and Canada), "Make it real" (for UK and Ireland) and "As it should be" (for New Zealand Australia). Even if it seems there is no huge difference in cultures between these regions Coca-Cola found them.
But some companies fail when they translate their slogans even in different languages. It happened some years ago when American Airlines wanted to announce that new leather chairs are installed in their planes. The translation of their slogan "Fly in leather" sounded like "Fly nude" because of wrong translation.
The main mistake producers do when trying to adaptate their commerical overseas is that they forget adaptation has to do more with interpretation than with translation itself. To make foreign public love your products requires deep understanding of local people's cultural values and lifestyles. A can of cold soda in the sand is something what is so understandable for citizens of Arabic countries who are surrounded with deserts. A Santa coming to your house on Christmas Eve is more European stereotype of holiday and, hence, the symbol of happiness.
The slogans of the same product can have different word content in different languages. The main point here is to be sure the idea, but not just the words are transferred in a right way.

November 2, 2008

Logo-stuff: pay less for promotion

Some people like to wear clothes with huge logo embroided. I am hesitating if it's personal taste issue or just good job of advertisement agencies who make the brand be an icon. The logo promotes both: consumer and business holder. The logo of well-known company on you jeans for example is way of promotion for someone who wears it. It's like those who wear D&G are ususally percieved as rich and stylish people. And if any celebrity wears the unknown label clothes with this mark's logo the producing company becomes popular in a minute.

And how is about your school logo? Are you likely to wear stuff with your school logo if you are not studyning in Columbia University or Cambridge? I can see a lot of people in AU campus wearing school logo apparel for classes. Sometimes when I go out I can see some guys wearing all these T-shirts and pants with AU logo in downtown or around Dupont Circle. I think this is really heplful and free of charge promotion for school. Students, especially those who are in their undegraduate studies tend to be willing wear school logo clothes because it gives them the feeling of belonging to community.

As it is free way to promote school among prospective students and their parents wouldn't it be better for university stores to sell apparell with, let's say, AU logo for low prices? Stylish design, low prices and all sizes suggested is the way to make AU logo clothes more popular. Now let's see what we have in our campus store.

Last month I bought pants in our store. I really wanted some stuff with AU logo because to study in American University is something cool for Kazakh girl. So, only I could afford was the pants for abot 40 bucks. I saw the same pants with no logo in Target for 10 dollars. Besides, the sizes I could find were too big for me. I am going to do the gift for myself for Thanksgiving and buy a hoody with SOC logo. I think it is goung to cost about $60. But there is still almost no stuff with SOC logo in campus store, Dean's office staff promised me to order some. I hope this hoody will help me to promote myself in Kazakhstan and hope it will help to promote AU as I am going to wear it off campus. But isn't it too expensive price for mutual promotion?

P.S.: I am sorry if this picture is not appropriate for class clog. It's only I have with my AU logo pants.

October 28, 2008

Celebirty and Sports Endorsements...

Do companies use celebrity and sport endorsements because they really want to connect these people to their products or because it just looks cool to have them?

I bring you two examples. The first is a commercial from Macy's and the second is for Guitar Hero: World tour.

The Macy's commercial is actually quite genius in terms of celebrity endorsement. Macy's, itself, has all of these celebrities' products and in turn, these celebrities have to endorse their products and the store that sells them. It's all about the connections that are made within the commercial. Macy's wants to be connected to the celebrities and the celebrities want to be connected to Macy's; it's the best solution for their products to be sold.

Another smart aspect of this commercial is that not only do the celebrities play themselves in the ad but they also play off of what the public perceives them as. For example, Jessica Simpson is seen as ditzy which makes it humorous when she knocks the power cord out. Macy's introduced these ads last year and they are still shown on television.

You have baseball's Alex Rodriguez, skateboarding's Tony Hawk, swimming's Michael Phelps, and basketball's Kobe Bryant... pulling off Tom Cruise's Risky Business dance number... to promote Guitar Hero: World Tour...

Why? The choices for this ad are rather strange. Why these sport stars? Why the shirt and underwear scene from Risky Business? Why this for Guitar Hero?

The range of people playing Guitar Hero go from age 14 to probably 25 or so. I don't know how many of them are going to correlate the ad to Risky Business. They might see the ad and wonder why these athletes are dancing around in pink shirts and underwear/shorts (in Kobe's case).

It would have been a better idea to parody something a bit more recent or popular. Some might argue that that scene is a classic, but with the decline Tom Cruise's popularity, that scene is bound to been seen less and less favorable.

October 22, 2008

Treating Malaria in Cambodia

It is a simple but very sucessful public communication campaign designed by the Cambodian Ministry of Health. The advertising is very appealing to the publics, particularly to rural people because the whole scene is exactly the same as a real situation in a remote area. It is also a practical snapshot of Cambodian rural community where many people struggled with malaria.

Since the advertising has been launched in 2002, the Ministry of Health has reported a dramatic drop in death toll involved with malaria. The rural Cambodian citizens misunderstood that the decease was caused by their misconducts toward ancestors and natural spirits.

Fortunately, this advertising makes them aware that the desease can be cured easily and effectively if they take medicines as recommended by the doctors. This is really a great discovery and change, which have saved many lives.

October 19, 2008

Levi’s Reminds You of Your First…Button-Fly

Remember when you were so carefree you’d say and do everything? Levi’s does. The Levi’s commercial appropriately entitled, First Time, takes viewers through a sexy mini film.

The commercial begins with the sound of the ocean in the background then a young girl who takes off her shirt and asks the teenage guy she’s with, “You’ve never done this before right?” He answers no and she tells him it’s her thirty-fourth time. The camera then pans to her pair of Levi’s as she’s unbuttoning the first button then she unbuttons his while he tells her that he doesn’t know if he’ll be any good at it. The “it” is what keeps viewers tuned into the commercial. What are they about to do in public scenery with their clothes off? The background music makes creates a romantic yet sleazy ambiance.

Let’s get back to the visuals. The girl continues unbuttoning her Levi’s while the guy tells her he’s scared. Halfway into the commercial they giggle as they stair into each others' eyes and she asks, “Don’t you trust me” in a very dramatic tone that’s full of breath. He then gives her a gentle nod and continues to unbutton his Levi’s. The commercial makes an obvious attempt to make viewers reminisce to a time when they owned their pair of button-fly Levi’s.

Towards the end of the commercial there is a shot of the couple’s behinds with the camera focused on the famous Levi’s pockets. This is a fantastic camera shot, being that nowadays the fashion industry is saturated with hundreds of jean brands and they’re all trying to beat the original jean, Levi’s. The next shot shows the couple holding hands near the ocean as they stand on a deck in their underwear. Meanwhile the music playing in the background plays, “You say yeah, but this is now and that was then. Put a dollar into the machine and you’ll remember when.” Then the two teenagers innocently jump into the water holding hands. The last camera shot is of the teenagers in the water as they hold hands. The over imposed slate reads LIVE UNBUTTONED 501 LEVI’S with the LEVI’S tag in red in the bottom right-hand corner and the Web site in small white letters in the left-hand corner.

Everything about this commercial is sexy yet innocently as it takes the viewer back to when life was, carefree, simple and spontaneous. The commercial does a fine job igniting feelings while immersing into a brief movie-life exchange through the actors. Though some may find it a bit risqué, it is a tastefully shot and every frame is delicately edited to deliver Levi’s message. It sure made me want to go get a pair of Levi’s button-fly jeans. You know you had a pair! Don’t worry we won’t tell True Religion, Citizen of Humanity, Rock & Republic, Diesel, nor the rest.

How to save a squirrel

Animals are lovable. Especially squirrels, which are around us everywhere, everyday. Sadly, they often fall victims to cars. As this commercial shows us, with good tires, they don't have to.

Bridgestone introduced its commercial on Super Bowl Sunday and people fell in love with it instantly. So did I. I take it as another example, that thanks to animals advertising can be funny and enjoyable to watch (not fake as the Cesar example from last week).

We have a classic case; squirrel driven by hunger ends on the road snacking on a yummy nut. Suddenly a fast car is approaching and squirrel starts screaming in panic. So does the raccoon, owl, rabbit, mouse, grasshopper, turtle, deer and other squirrels, each with its own voice, some louder, some less. Also the driver's (lets assume) wife is screaming in shock and fear of poor fury animal's life. But the driver is calm. He knows he has great tires and they will save them from tragedy. In this moment some viewers may have gotten confused that it was a car commercial, but a close-up look at tires reassures everyone that it's not the car that matters, it's the tires. Do you want to save the squirrel? Get Bridgestone.

Commercial has a happy ending. Calm as an Englishman, driver goes around the squirrel and continues its ride. It's Bridgestone or nothing, the slogan says. One squirrel life was saved, at least in the commercial. And for the rest of us, we just spent 30 seconds watching something actually funny.

October 15, 2008

haute couture delivered to your inbox

A friend has recently introduced me to a new form of advertising--the elite online sale. The basic concept is that a friend who is already a member has to invite you to join. Once you're been invited, you are able to sign up to be on a mailing list. You then receive daily or weekly email updates about exclusive sales of high-designer items. Name brands like Marc Jacobs, Waterford, Laundry, Kate Spade and Kay Unger are some of the names that are offered at steep discounts.

To up the hype, once you get into a sale (most of which only available for a set amount of time) you have to rush to beat the other buyers. As items are put in shopping carts or purchased, icons saying "on hold" or "sold out" pop up. The faster you are able to get to the sale, the more likely you are to fine something you want. And once you find it, you have to act quickly to buy it before someone else does. Rush!

Wow, they have really hit female shoppers hard. They are offering exclusive items that most people can't afford at prices that are much closer to their normal price range. Get it now before it's gone. You are forced to make an impulse buy. Return policies vary from site to site, many not offering them at all. Purses, clothing, watches, sunglasses, crystal, home items. You can get all these luxury items--if you act fast.

This is a great way to advertise without having to spend a lot of money. These websites are bringing the store to your local inbox. They don't have to carry the overhead of a storefront. They don't have to pay for advertising in magazines or on television. They have an ad that is builds a sense of urgency, makes the receiver feel special (for they are getting an email only a few people are allowed to get) and sell the product. And their only advertising cost is designing an email and a website. That's a good ROI.

Oh, gotta run, I just got an email about a hot sale...

Sample sites:

October 14, 2008

Promoting a PR Firm

Very often, public relations firms are hired to promote a person, an organization, or product. These firms have to be creative, too. However, what about themselves? How should a PR firm promote themselves? Should they be strictly business and professional? Or should they show that they have a sense of humor?

If you visit the websites of one of the bigger PR firms such as Edelman or Ogilvy, they're more clean-cut and straight down to business. However, for boutique PR firms who aren't as well-known, their websites have to grab the potential client's attention while still portraying a professional look. Some firms like JS2 Communications have catchy music and flashy graphics. They also include a "Team" page which shows the members of the firm, which allows the potential client to see who they will be working with.

Lots of boutique PR specialize in certain areas. For ID PR, their specialization in within the entertainment industry, mostly as publicists of our favorite actors and actresses. One of the interesting sections of their website is the "Giving Back" section. For most of us, we see celebrities as these wealthy individuals without really helping others; it's a negative image that ID PR wants to remove, thus the inclusion of the section in the website.

One PR firm website that I came across is Maloney & Fox. At their "Happy Place" section, you can download the firm's theme songs, one of which plays on the opening page. You can also sign-up to be on the mailing list to get free stuff. Lastly, the firm made self-promotional videos or “advermations," as they called them. One of them is below.

As a PR person, I find myself strangely drawn to these boutique firms. They have more shots of personality than the larger firms. I would like to work for a fun, hard-working group of people, even if it's based solely on their websites.

October 13, 2008


If you’re one who gets up bright and early on a Monday eager to start your day, you’re one of few. However, ESPN’s new “Alarm” television commercial sure gives its audience a new incentive to starting their weekly routine on Monday. This commercial is part of a new ad campaign for ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

The first line of this commercial may resonate with many viewers: “Monday, back to the grind for you and your alarm.” How many times do you find yourself hitting the snooze button on Monday? How many times do you find yourself frustrated with minor things in the office on Monday? Whether there’s a paper jam in the printer or a conference call you forgot to make, most of these happen on Monday. This commercial is right on target with its audience and has a strong way of emphasizing its message through the imagery and sound.

On Monday everyone wants to dream a little longer. Everyone hopes to wake up and realize that it’s Saturday and you still have a couple of days before going back to work. The first shot of the guy sleeping and the sound effect of the alarm clock beeping in the back perfectly open the scene for the commercial. The sound of an alarm beeping is probably one of the most annoying sounds. Though this may annoy the viewer, it also intrigues the viewer to keep watching to find out why that annoying sound is playing.

With the same beeping sound in the background, the commercial then takes the viewer into the character’s high-fetched dreams. The character is dreaming he’s in a recording studio with MC Hammer and he’s wearing 80s parachute pants. Then Hammer complains about the beeping and the character is woken up by the reality of his alarm interrupting his sleep. The narrator then says, “You realize its Monday and you’ve got to go to work, but with Monday, comes Monday Night Football.” The commercial then takes a different mood by showing the character smiling as he’s getting ready for work. In the next shot, he’s smiling and then he’s watching the game and the Monday Night Football tune plays. The announcer then says, “Your Monday morning can’t touch this.”

The commercial is not only humorous and entertaining, but also informative. It effectively reaches its 80’s babies audience while appealing to wider spectrum through its humor. As annoying as the beeping sound is it proves the point and leads the viewer to every shot. Mondays won’t ever be the same.

Cesar's blue disaster

There are commercials that work. They may not be funny or cute or amazing, but they work. And then there are commercials that are overdone, not very appealing, and don't work that well. Cesar dog food commercial belongs to the second category.

First thing that hit me, was that incredible amount of blue color. Why blue? And why so much of blue? Blue sky, blue car, blue sea, blue scarf on that woman's head and even her tank top is blue. What's up with that blue color? I appreciate that her sunglasses are not blue, but maybe her eyes are, who knows. Obviously, the point of the blue was that Filet Mignon Cesar is packed in blue but other Cesars are packed in yellow, pink, green, dark blue, red, so why blue only? One of their other commercials is all pink. For some reason it isn't as disturbing as all the blue in this one.

It's not only the color. Everything about this commercial seems so fake. Who would be so irresponsible to let his dog sticking out of the car when driving in a convertible? And what is that weird green thing covering the plate on which the food is being served to the poor by blue color surrounded doggie? I think it's supposed to be salad, but why does it look so plastic?
I don't understand another thing. Westie (West Highland White Terrier) has been a Cesar dog ever since I can remember. It is great because Westies are adorable dogs and very photogenic compared to for example Chihuahuas. I know, because i have both. But they are also known for being very stubborn, wild and very hard to tame dogs. So why would they make this beautiful dog look so unnatural and fake and so very lovey-dovey? Have him run around fields and play outside where you feed him Cesar, don't make him part of this ugly Barbie-like commercial.

There are only two things that are likable here. I like the "Cesar, Love Them Back" slogan. It goes straight to the point, and it isn't fooling anyone. Your dog loves you, you love him back, you give them good quality food like Cesar is offering. I like the music, too. I think it is playful and fits for a dog commercial, if only that commercial was better.

I love dog commercials and my dogs love Cesar. If I wasn't a long time buyer of Cesar this commercial would no way convince me to give it a try. If Cesar wants to have their commercials be like this, they should change their mascot dog to Yorkie. They will still have their terrier, but a little more fitting for their blue, lovely format. I'm sure Westies would appreciate this decision.

A Snapshot of Phnom Penh (Cambodian Capital)

It is more like a documentary rather than a commercial advertising. Interestingly enough, It provides a snapshot of Cambodian Capital City, Phnom Penh. This short documentary shows some interesting cultural, and historical places in Phnom Penh, including Royal Palace, Independence Monument, Killing Field and Wat Phnom, which is the only biggest sacred site in the city. Generally recognized as the pearl of Asia, Phnom Penh has boosted great development in the past 5 years.It is to accommodate three satellite towns in the next five years.

The documentary is informally produced, so its quality is not very good. The tour guide is good but there should be a better one as there are a number of well-trained guides who speak standard English and have in-depth knowledge about the city and its history. Also, the camera man is not very professonal. Many shots are not good enough. Their angles are poorly selected. More importantly, the documentary does not well represent the beauty of the capital itself because it fails to show other elegant structures of the capital such as satellite towns. In short, it is not appealing enough to foreign tourists.

October 9, 2008

Office clerk gone mad or gone ad?

First I want you to watch this video.

What would you think about if you saw it? Would you think it's real record of how office clerk is tired of his routine work. May be his boss asked him to type 500 pages of PDF text in MS Word. Who knows.
This video was one of the most popular in CIS (former USSR area) Internet for about month last year. People were feeling sympathy to this guy because they seemed to share his feelings. Office workers tend to be in depression sometimes, particulary when it's annual reports' deadlines. Yes, they even tend to have psychosis. But is it possible to be so mad to fight with your colleagues without any reason? I couldn't believe it. That is why I was waiting for the continuation of the story. It happened.
Month later after the video beated the downloading record the promo campaign of new movie started. The movie's name is WANTED with Angelina Jolie. The main character is office clerk who is in a moment appears to be a killer. Why? Because he hates his job's routine.
What I think is that this video was a pre-promo for the movie. We all heard about product or brand placements in movie. But there is also movie placement as the PR-approach. According to movie's box office, this approach seems to be very successful one.