Theoretical and Practical Perspectives
The Globalization-Localization Continuum
Examples of effective globalized campaigns clearly do exist, just as do examples of ineffective ones. Similarly, there are numerous examples of both more- and less-successful localized campaigns. The pros and cons of both approaches to international advertising will continue to be debated. Many companies have moved away from viewing globalization as an all-or-nothing phenomenon and instead have chosen to employ a modified approach—standardizing some elements of their promotional plan ← 198 | 199 → while customizing others. The question is, in fact, one of degree, with globalization and localization at opposite ends of a continuum, and with many shades of adaptation between the two extremes.
A classic example of this modified approach is a campaign developed by Coca-Cola. A good number of years ago, the firm’s advertising agency, McCann-Erickson, created an award-winning commercial showing Pittsburgh Steeler football star “Mean” Joe Greene giving his jersey to a young boy who had offered him a bottle of Coke after a tough game. However, the advertisement could not be used outside the United States for two reasons. First, Joe Greene was unknown in foreign markets, and second, American football is not nearly so popular abroad as it is in the United States. Rather than abandon the concept, the agency adapted it to other countries by creating advertisements featuring stars of the more popular international sport of soccer. Advertisements in South America used the popular Argentinian player Diego Maradona, and those in Asia used Thai star Niwat as the heroes of the...
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