The Global Advertising Plan

The strategic advertising plan usually is prepared in conjunction with the advertising budget. Basically, the plan outlines the marketing strategy, whereas the budget allocates the funds. Two major approaches to advertising in foreign cultures differ in their orientation: one is market oriented and the other is culture oriented.

The Market Analysis Model

This model is based on data and observation from several countries. It recognizes the existence of local, regional, and international brands in almost every product category. The two major variables are the share of market of brands within a category and the size of the category. A marketing manager must look not only as share but also at market size, growth rates, and growth opportunities. For instance, cola-flavored soft drinks are not nearly as dominant in Germany as they are in the United States. To generate sales in Germany, then, a soft-drink company would have to develop orange and lemon-lime entries. McDonald’s serves beer in Germany, wine in in France, a local fruit-flavored shake in Singapore and Malaysia, and even a Portuguese sausage in Hawaii, in addition to the traditional Big Macs, fish sandwiches, and French fries to cater to local tastes.

The Culture-Oriented Model

The second model of international advertising emphasizes the cultural differences among peoples and nations. This school of thought recognizes that people worldwide share certain needs, but it also stresses the fact that these needs are met differently from culture to culture. Although the same emotions are basic to all humanity, the degree to which these emotions are expressed publicly varies. The camaraderie typical in an Australian business office would be unthinkable in Japan. The informal, first-name relationships common in North America are frowned on in Germany, where co-workers often do not use first names. Like-wise, the ways in which we categorize information and the values we attach to people, places, and things depend on the setting in which we were raised. How do cultural differences relate to advertising? According to the high-context/low-context theory, although the function of advertising is the same throughout the world, the expression of its message varies in different cultural settings. The major distinction is between high-context cultures, in which the meaning of a message can be understood only within a specific context, and low-context cultures, in which the message can be understood as an independent entity. It is observed that Japanese has the highest-context culture. This model helps explain the difficulties of advertising in other languages. The differences between Japanese and English are instructive. English is a low-context language. English words have very clearly defined meanings that are not highly dependent on the words surrounding them. In Japanese, however, a word can have multiple meanings. Listeners or readers will not understand the exact meaning of a word unless they clearly understand the preceding or following sentences, that is, the context in which the word is used. Advertising messages constructed by writers from high-context cultures might be difficult to understand in low-context cultures because they may offer too much detail to make the point clearly. In contrast, messages authored by writers from low-context cultures may be difficult to understand in high-context cultures because they omit essential con-textual detail.

Agencies have to develop techniques to advertise brands that are marketed around the world. Some agencies exercise tight control, whereas others allow more local autonomy All of these techniques fall into three groups: tight central international control, centralized resources with moderate control, and matching the client. Henkel, a large German manufacturer of household and cleaning products, provides: example of how centralized management with similar products works. Henkel’s international strategy was designed to accomplish three goals: eliminate duplication of effort among its national companies, provide central direction for new products, and achieve efficiency in advertising production and impact. It included these steps:

  1. Identifying how a product fulfills a need or functions beneficially.
  2. Determining the common need or product benefit for consumers in Europe or larger area.
  3. Assigning that specific need or benefit to one product with one brand name.
  4. Assigning that brand to one brand manager and one advertising agency to develop and market.
  5. Disallowing the use of that one brand’s benefit, name, or creative campaign for any other brand in the company.

The organizational structure for managing international advertising depends heavily on the globalization-versus-localization marketing and advertising strategy. For highly globalized advertising efforts, there may be one advertising plan for each product regardless of the number of markets entered. For a product using localized advertising, there probably will be a separate advertising plan for each foreign market. For globalized advertising plans, the business is more likely to centralize the development and control of the advertising. Quaker adopted standardized advertising for Gatorade and its other international products. As a first step in implementing its pan-European approach, Quaker centralized advertising management for all of Europe. If the marketing effort, including the advertising, is more localized, then the company is likely to centralized advertising management in each individual foreign market. Colgate Palmolive Company decided to take a country-by-country approach in its advertising.