Marketing Error 101

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While marketing a product in a foreign country, the strategy of any market research team should be to make it easier for their new target markets to understand what the product is. Communication is the key for a successful marketing campaign.  They have to ensure that they communicate what exactly their product delivers in the native language and helps the product to become a part of the new culture.

Unfortunately, many established brands have learnt it the hard way.

When American beer maker Coors introduced its product in Spain with their “Turn It Loose” campaign, they paid little attention to what it would be translated in Spanish.  The tagline translated to “Suffer from diarrhea”. The marketing campaign immediately failed for the obvious reason.

An Established brand like Pepsi also failed to impress its market in Taiwan. Pepsi thought that sticking to their same marketing campaign and brand message, would make it easier for the consumers to identify and accept their product.  But the whole campaign “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” fell apart in Taiwan because its tagline in Taiwan actually meant “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”.

When launching a product into a market, a company has to select the appropriate logo which immediately connects with their market. A symbol that is easy to recognize and is the face of the product. Where tagline have failed on various international platforms, logos have also added to the contribution of failures.

london-olympics-logoLondon Olympics 2012 logo designed by Wolf Ollins was worth $800,000. When the logo was released, it didn’t receive the reaction it expected.  Many thought it looks like some comical sext act between the Simpsons, some thought it looks like the Indian religious logo Swastika. But the major unexpected turn of events were when Iran decided to boycott to Olympics, as they read the logo as Zion.


During the 1994 Soccer World Cup, Heineken came up with a new marketing campaign. They created a specialbottle featuring the National flags of the World Cup finalists. Saudi Arabia was one of the finalists for the World Cup and hence its National flag appeared on the beer bottle.  Heineken had to immediately withdraw its campaign after the bottles were launched because the National Flag of Saudi Arabia features a religious verse from the Holy book Quran, which had hurt the religious sentiment of the country.

Blog-communication-cartoonTransparent communication is the basic need for a successful marketing campaign. But still, established brands like Pepsi, Heineken and various other brands have overlooked this basic need and have landed themselves into the International brand failures list.

Thus, to launch a product in a new market, a campaign has to ensure that it takes into account the cultural norms, adapts the correct language, and respects the emotional sentiments of the people.











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