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CultureShocks Blog

Gestures Speak Louder Than Words

  |   CultureShocks Blog

gesture

The news:

The Polish city of Sosnowiec launched a campaign to encourage tourists from the French cities of Roubaix and Les Meraux, and Morocco’s Casablanca to visit the city. The campaign ran both on and offline and featured two young, attractive models seen to be gesturing in a positive way. The gestures, unlike in Poland where they have positive connotations, are highly offensive and can be considered sexually abusive in the Mediterranean and some Arab countries.


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Inaccurate Cultural Advice Worse Than No Advice At All

  |   CultureShocks Blog

microsoft-poland2

The news:

A company photo published on Microsoft’s website recently caused a scandal after it appears that the company had followed inappropriate cultural advice. On the company’s US website the photograph depicts a scene of an Asian man, black man and white woman of various ages seated around a table. This was supposed to show equality within the company in regard to race and age. For the firm’s Polish website, the image is “photo-shopped”, with a white man’s head placed on the black man’s body. This spurred outrage with bloggers and tweeters around the world. The image was hurriedly removed and Microsoft issued an official apology although they gave no explanation of why the image was edited.


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Citroen Controversy as Company Re-draws Balkan Nations

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citroenmapnew-citroen-logo-lg

The news:

As part of its promotional material, Citroen published a map which has caused controversy and potentially damaged the brand’s reputation, particularly in Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro. The map depicts an incorrect division of land and it appears that the borders of Balkan nations that fought wars in the early 1990’s have been re-drawn. Bosnia is merged with Serbia and Croatia, Montenegro is merged into Serbia, and Slovenia has been given a large slice of Croatia. A month after the image was published Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro sent protest letters to Citroen. Citroen replied with a letter of apology stating that all copies had been destroyed and distribution had been called to a halt.


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Swine Flu Satire Sinks Schweppes Campaign

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swine-flue-schweppes

The news:

Schweppes released in the UK what was to be viewed as an ad that took a humorous and light hearted approach to advertising by making consumers laugh about serious, darker issues that they are currently facing. The image is titled ‘how to get a seat on the tube’ and depicts a man seated in an empty carriage wearing a sombrero and holding a box of tissues, reminding people that “Swine Flu” originated in Mexico. The ad caused outrage in Mexico and was pulled immediately, running only for one day in the Times paper after discussions between holding company Coca-cola and the Mexican Embassy.


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Beyonce unwelcome in Malaysia

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beyonce

The news:

Beyonce’s planned performance in Malaysia, part of her world tour, may be cancelled due to Malaysia’s opposition Islamist party protesting against the singer’s show. They succeeded two years ago in preventing her from visiting due to “moral issues”. The group claims that such unclad acts promote sexual promiscuousness and are a bad example for the nation’s youth. It is not just Beyonce that has spurred protest from the group but also other Western artists, who in some cases have adjusted by wearing more clothes than usual on stage. Judge for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/user/beyonce?blend=1&ob=4.


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Nigeria blasts Sony ad over “Criminal” portrayal

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sony-nigerian-millionaire

The news:

Sony’s commercial has caused uproar in Nigeria, with official complaints that it portrays a negative image of the nation, suggesting Nigerians are untrustworthy and prone to partake in criminal activity. During the ad one of the actors states that “you can’t believe everything that you read on the Internet” or he’d be a “Nigerian millionaire by now”. The Nigerian federal government claimed that by releasing such a statement Sony is ruining the country’s image. Sony apologised and edited the ad accordingly, changing the phrase to exclude Nigeria completely from the ad.

The Nigerian federation has also bashed the new and very successful sci-fi blockbuster film ‘District 9’. It includes a Nigerian gang of criminals, gangsters, prostitutes and cannibals, using the name of the former president as that of the gang leader. The suggestion of such negative associations with the population and particularly the idea of cannibalism have caused the film to be banned in the country and a letter has been sent to the production company asking that the scenes containing Nigerian references are deleted.

Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDGG9e00XPk

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Denmark’s sexy brand image takes a beating

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visitdenmark

The news:

The senior operations director for tourism agency Visit Denmark stepped down after a promotional video made to encourage international tourists to visit Denmark was released online and then criticised heavily by the media. The video tells the story of an attractive new mother whose baby is the product of a drunken one-night stand with a foreign tourist. She is in search of the baby’s father due to the fact that she is unable to remember his name or nationality because she had been too intoxicated. The video has caused backlash, as it is perceived to send out a negative message about the nation, unprotected sex and promote promiscuousness.

Watch on http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8258473.stm


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Homophobic chocolate

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snickers-homophobic-chocolate-ad

The news:

Snickers, a brand owned by Mars produced a global TV ad, which interestingly, only created a scandal in the United States. The Human Rights Campaign, an American gay rights group, judged it homophobic and the campaign was pulled – not just in the US but globally. Despite the fact that the ASA in the UK hardly received any complaints, and UK consumers found the ad amusing Mars still pulled the plug here. The spot features the A Team’s much-loved Mr. T in a 4×4 firing Snickers at a speed walker after launching the tirade, “You’re a disgrace to the man race. It’s time to teach you to run like a real man.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bUxi_Eo6fU

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WWF’s 9/11 Brazil ad causes worldwide blogger outrage

  |   CultureShocks Blog

wwf-ad

Printed only once in a local Brazilian newspaper, now criticized globally via the web. A damaging example of the power of digital and its sometimes unintended effect on brands.

The news:

An ad made by DDB Brazil for WWF was printed only once in late 2008, in a small local paper in Sao Paolo before being pulled. The ad shows a shocking image of lower Manhattan, the World Trade Centre still standing, surrounded by airplanes flying toward the city. This image was made to illustrate the number of lives lost in the 2004 Asian tsunami, which was much greater than those lost in the terrorist attack in 2001. A video including this image was submitted to this years ‘One Show’ in New York and months after the ad was pulled a blogger has came across the full video showing the events of 9/11 followed by this image on the show’s archives. The blogger posted it online and the image has spread fast around the blogosphere causing a vicious and angry uproar with posts, comments and tweets circulating the news. Following these events both DDB Brazil and WWF have issued statements on their websites apologising for the ad and stating that it was due to the “inexperience of some professionals on both sides and not bad faith or disrespect toward American suffering” that the ad was ever released. Both companies deny any involvement with the making of the video claiming it was made by an unknown source that used their image.

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Racist games console (2006)

  |   CultureShocks Blog

playstation-racist-ad

The news:

Sony launched an ad campaign for its new ceramic white Playstation Portable in the Netherlands in which a white woman, embodying the new product is gripping jaw of a black woman, in a superior and aggressive way.

The ad has been judged racist and unacceptable. In response, Sony initially defended its actions citing that there were around 100 images created for this ad designed to show the contrast in colours of the PSPs, including ones where the black woman is dominant. It eventually pulled the ads after rounds of criticism.

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