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CultureShocks Blog

What Was Tiger Woods Thinking?

  |   CultureShocks Blog

The News:

While “serious” brands such as Accenture and Gatorade dropped Tiger Woods like a hot potato when his extramarital affairs suddenly went public, the more edgy global footwear brand Nike took a calculated risk and stood behind him.

On the back of Tiger Woods’ emotional apology and return to the US Masters green, Nike aired a commercial that directly addresses his behavior and subsequent penitence. In the ad, the golf champion’s late father Earl returns from the dead and asks Tiger what he was thinking – and what he has learned.

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Where Google went wrong with China

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google-vs-china1

As this blog demonstrates, global brands sometimes shoot themselves in the foot because they do not take local culture difference and sensitivity into account.

However there is such a thing as being TOO oversensitive.

Google’s strategy in China has been to portray the brand as completely Chinese. This “when in Rome do as Romans do” tactic has now gravely backfired.


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Gestures Speak Louder Than Words

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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

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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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