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CultureShocks Blog

Thigh will be done…a leggy new advertising strategy has hit Japan

  |   CultureShocks Blog

slogan translation, new advertising strategy, marketing technique japan

Where the Eye Goes, the Ad Goes



Women in Japan have the opportunity to reap the rewards of using their thighs as an advertising space for brands and companies. A girl’s zettai ryouiki – which translates roughly as “absolute territory” – is apparently the highly coveted space that lies between the bottom of her mini-skirt or shorts and the top of her knee-high socks. (more…)

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market localisation

“How about a Macca’s?”

  |   CultureShocks Blog


In a PR stunt rolled out by the fast-food giant McDonald’s, 13 branches of the restaurant in Australia will see their slogan translated to “Macca’s”, the nickname by which it is known across the country. This name change is part of this year’s Australia Day celebrations, and observes the fact that, as discovered by a recent survey, “Macca’s” is the country’s second most recognised Australianism, used by at least 50 per cent of the population (surpassed only by “footy”, referring of course to Aussie Rules football). Running for the entire month of January, the rebrand will see signage altered with the new name alongside the traditional Golden Arches, with a TV campaign to match.  Mark Lollback, head of marketing at McDonald’s Australia, has said of the move: “What better way to show Aussies how proud we are to be a part of the Australian community than incorporate the name the community has given us across all our channels, even our signs?” There have also been calls to have the colloquial term incorporated into the online edition of the Macquarie Dictionary, the national record of Australian English, officially recognising its position in the local language.


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Tesco packaging: Spaghetti or Salami?

  |   CultureShocks Blog

The picture as it appears on the side of the Spaghetti Bolognese packet. It's a Tesco's linguistic gaffe, linguistic gaffe or packaging error


Despite Tesco’s attention to detail, a piece of packaging managed to escape their notice and hit the store shelves with some questionable images.

An image appearing on their Tesco Finest range of Spaghetti Bolognese, featuring an authentic looking photo of dried meats at an Italian market turned out to feature some humorous labelling.

The photo had been on the packaging for “a long time” before an Italian-speaking customer pointed out that the signs in the photo actually read “Grandad’s balls” and ‘Donkey bollocks”. (more…)

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Red Flag For UAE National Day Trainers

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cultural misunderstanding in the uae national day

The News:

The German sportswear retailer, Puma, has pulled a line of limited edition trainers featuring the colours of the UAE flag after complaints that they were disrespectful.

These commemorative trainers were created to mark the 40th UAE National Day, but rapidly caused uproar amongst Emirati consumers.

The word’s third-largest sportswear brand released an emailed statement affirming that “Puma took the feedback from our consumers very seriously and has indefinitely actioned the removal of the shoe from all stores.”

Behind the News:

In Arab culture, the shoe is considered dirty because it is on the ground and associated with the foot, the lowest part of the body, which prompted complaints that featuring the national colours trainers was culturally insensitive.

Moreover, the flag is a sacred symbol for the UAE and due to this, many felt that Puma had trivialized it by using the flag’s colours on its trainers.

Puma issued a statement in which the retailer apologised for this grave cultural misunderstanding, emphasising that “the shoe was never intended to upset or offend our customers here in the Middle East, but to give the people of the UAE a piece of locally-created design as a symbol of recognition of this great occasion.”

An Arab expat working in the UAE said that “big brands have to realise that you cannot have one idea for the whole world. Each area you operate in has to be have tailor-made solutions. Especially here in the Middle East, where cultural sensitivities are key, you have to be very careful. “

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