Translating Advertising

by Alec Rudolph, Paul DiPasqua, and Drew Pearson

In the article Translation Advertising: Painting the Tip of an Iceberg, Marieke de Mooij writes that although global advertisement may have worked in the past, we are entering a new era of advertising in which there are factors that contribute to the effectiveness of an advertisement. These factors can all be traced back to a central idea: cultural values. Different cultures view the world in different ways. However, global advertising methods are being used because they are not only effective to the majority of viewers, but they are much cheaper. People who utilized these methods believe that, if done correctly, their ads could be “translated” by other cultures because they send a universal message of some sort that everyone could understand. However, some cultures may view attempted universal messages differently than others, so de Mooij writes that it is necessary for advertisers to incorporate culture-specific aspects to their ads to increase effectiveness. Cultural factors such as language, cultural symbols, and individualist/collectivist values are a few of these aspects. In this commercial, FedEx uses a prehistoric setting to get the message across. The idea is that educated people across the globe can understand what is occurring, since they presumably know about cavemen, dinosaurs, etc.


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