Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

How brands are gearing up for the mother of all competitions: Hyundai (South Korea)

No Comments » Written on June 3rd, 2014 by
Categories: South Korea
Tags: , , , ,

South Korea is still reeling from the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry over a month ago, which claimed the lives of over 300 passengers, most of whom were high-school students. In this news clip, the presenter notes how the mood is very subdued compared to four years ago, and how many sports outlets, which would normally be bustling hives of activity, are deserted.

This has affected the marketing strategies of companies across the country, with most high-profile brands choosing to limit their promotional activities as a mark of respect for the tragedy.

Hyundai have released a series of ads that are, if anything, quiet and reflective, in stark contrast to the bright, bombastic tone of some of their other TVCs.

For example, the ad below starts with a plaintive piano melody and emphasizes the value of solidarity.

How brands are gearing up for the mother of all competitions: McDonald’s (Japan)

No Comments » Written on June 3rd, 2014 by
Categories: Japan
Tags: , , , ,

In the run-up to this summer’s football frenzy, McDonald’s Japan has added some alternative country-specific options to their menu, such as a “France burger” and a “Spanish omelette muffin”. See below for their TV ad:

The Brazil burger, which features football-shaped buns, is already creating a buzz on Twitter, with lots of Japanese people sharing their amusement in photos and posts.

McDonald’s Japan is also encouraging customers to vote for their favourite promotional burger via various social media platforms. The incentive is a QR code that offers you a discount on a promotional meal that changes every week (see screenshots below).

However, this seems like quite a long-winded process and the discount campaign has attracted some negative comments on Japanese social media. In a country where efficiency is revered, it is unlikely that many Japanese consumers will feel the desire to participate in such a time-consuming exercise.

One perplexed Japanese commentator wrote: “Why don’t they offer ‘British burgers’ as part of the campaign menu? Football was invented in England! They should at least have fish and chips!!” Now that’s food for thought.

17_McDonalds (Japan)2


17_McDonalds (Japan)


How brands are gearing up for the mother of all competitions: Coca-Cola (Mexico)

No Comments » Written on June 3rd, 2014 by
Categories: Mexico
Tags: , , ,

Brands can also ride the crest of a wave of optimism to generate positive associations.

Coca-Cola developed a dedicated social platform for fans to show their support for the Mexican national team. They can sign in using Facebook, Twitter or G+, upload a text, video, audio or picture message and share it with everybody.

At the same time, a huge Coca-Cola truck (“El Camión del Optimismo”) is touring the country. Inside, people can record messages of support or even add their voice to a mass recording of a classic Mexican song, “Cielito Lindo”.

How brands are gearing up for the mother of all competitions: Coca-Cola & Lidl (Greece)

No Comments » Written on May 30th, 2014 by
Categories: Greece
Tags: , , , , ,

In Greece, Coca-Cola are partnering with Lidl to offer two tickets to the final of this summer’s tournament. To enter the draw, Lidl customers need to retain their receipts and use them to fill out an online form.

By combining Coca-Cola’s brand appeal with Lidl’s low-cost charm, both companies look set to capitalize on the football fever that’s brewing this summer.

18_Coca-Cola & Lidl (Greece)

18_Coca-Cola & Lidl (Greece)2

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11 Words You Should Never Use in Sales or Marketing

No Comments » Written on July 3rd, 2013 by
Categories: UK
Tags: , ,

129_11 Words you should never use in sales or marketing

Samples are helpful. Demos are often effective. But what is the primary tool used to convince potential customers to buy?


Whether spoken or written, words make sales happen.

Or not.

Too many salespeople (and marketers and advertisers) use the same words to describe their products and services. Pretend I’m a potential customer or client.

Here’s how I react when you use the following words:

“Customer focused.”

Talk about redundant; should you be anything but customer focused?

If your goal is to imply that other providers are not customer focused, tell me how: Faster response time, greater availability, customized processes or systems… tell me in concrete terms how you will meet my specific needs. (If you don’t know my needs and therefore can’t address them, shame on you.)

“Best in class.”

There are two problems with that phrase: Who defined your “class,” and who determined you were the “best” in it?

My guess is you did.

Still, maybe you really are that awesome. So prove it. Describe your accomplishments, awards, results, etc.

As a customer I don’t need best in class, I need best for me–so tell me, in objective terms, how you can provide the best value for my needs.

“Low-hanging fruit.”

You say, “We’ll start with the low-hanging fruit.” I hear, “We’ll start with really easy stuff you are too stupid to recognize or too lazy to do yourself.”

No one wants to hear they have low-hanging fruit. Just describe, in cost/benefit terms, how you prioritized your list of projects or activities.

“Exceed expectations.”

That’s admirable goal, and one every business should aspire to, but exceeding expectations is an internal goal. Tell me you will exceed expectations and exceeded expectations instantly becomes my expectation. (I know that’s kinda Zen.)

Tell me what you will do, every time. If you consistently pull that off, I’ll be delighted.

Always let the customer judge whether you go above and beyond.


The ever-increasing pace of commoditization means few products or services have no like or equal for long. If I’m considering hiring your firm or buying your products, “unique” (like “exclusive”) sounds good but describes nothing.

Instead tell me, in concrete terms, how you are better.

“Value added.”

This term is often used to imply I’ll get something for no or very little incremental cost. That means what I will receive isn’t value added–it’s part of the overall deal.

So tell me the deal, explain all the options and add-ons, and help me figure out how I can take full advantage of what you provide.


Margaret Thatcher once said, “Power is like being a lady; if you have to say you are, you aren’t.” Show your expertise instead.

“Social media expert” often reads as “We have Twitter and Facebook accounts and even know how to use them!

“Implemented social media campaigns for ACME that generated…” lets potential customers evaluate your level of expertise and your suitability for their needs.


Experience is only a partial indicator of expertise. If you’re a contractor you may have built 100 homes… but that doesn’t mean you did a good job.

Any reference to experience should immediately quantify that experience.

“Exceptional ROI.”

We all seek a return on investments and we all love a great ROI. But without access to my numbers you can’t accurately calculate my ROI. Therefore your estimates are either theoretical or based on another customer’s results. Either way, I know your estimates are incredibly optimistic and that my results will definitely vary.

“Provides an exceptional ROI” reads as “…you’re a terrible businessperson if you don’t do this.”

Show the costs, don’t hide anything, and trust me to calculate my own ROI. If I’m not smart enough to do so, I probably don’t have purchase authority anyway.


Long-term business relationships are great, but we will never be partners because while your hand will reach into my pocket, my hand will never reach into yours.

Still, maybe one day I will see you as a quasi-partner… but that’s something I will decide on my own based on your performance, not on your marketing.


I love a turn-key solution as much as the next guy, but few solutions truly are.

No matter how comprehensive the offering I always wind up participating more than I was led to expect, so when I hear “turn key” I’m naturally skeptical… that is, unless you thoroughly break down what you will provide and what my participation will be, both during implementation and after.

Turn-key is in the eye of the beholder.

The customer is always the beholder.

Article taken from the Huffington Post on 3 July 2013.

Are computers the future of translation?

Machine translation – using a computer to translate one human language into another – is the sci-fi dream that’s coming true. While the claim of translator droid C-3PO in the Star Wars films to be “fluent in six million forms of communication” can’t be matched by current computerised systems, Google Translate does already offers 57 core languages, giving over 3,000 possible language permutations. So surely, it’s only a matter of time before human translators are out of a job?

Or maybe not. Existing machine translation systems are more about complementing human translation rather than replacing it, and here’s how they do so.

The Internet means an exponentially greater amount of content is being published than at any time previously in human history. There is more information out there than there has ever been. But accessing this information can be difficult. For example, less than two percent of all Internet content is currently available to the world’s 280 million Arabic speakers. Machine translation allows them to get at the other 98 percent.

In fact, anywhere that the utility of the information is more important than its presentation or nuances, machine translation performs an invaluable service.

To give a commercial example, in foreign-language versions of Microsoft’s technical support pages, some of the articles are machine-translated and others have been translated by humans. Users are asked whether the information solved their problem – and the proportion of yeses is identical for the machine and human-translated articles.

Likewise, mechanised translation facilitates communication. Every day, people around the world use it to translate emails to and from others with whom they have no language in common. That has to be a good thing.

The next step is to apply this to verbal communications. And sure enough, this January Google duly unveiled an “alpha” version of Google Translate’s “conversation mode.” Speak into a mobile device, and this will speak back a translation of what you have said in another language.

Yet for all the staggering advance in machine translation, no computerised system can achieve even the consistent grammatical accuracy of professional human translators, let alone their fluency or style. Why is this?

In recent years, automated efforts have increasingly focused on so-called statistical machine translation, the approach that underpins Google Translate. In Google’s own words, “it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents, [and] by detecting patterns in documents that have already been translated by human translators, [it] can make intelligent guesses as to an appropriate translation.”

Essentially, it scans through millions of human-translated documents looking at each sentence/phrase/word, and then looks in the translations to see how the two languages’ words and phrases map to each other. This means it can be used for any combination of languages for which there is a large enough “corpus” or body of text. It also means new languages can be added in fairly short order; in response to last year’s Haitian earthquake, Google Translate added Haitian Creole to its list of languages in less than three weeks.

But it is entirely a data-driven process. The software is not trying to “understand” the words it is translating, let alone the nuances of social convention, cultural context and tone. And that is why for anything that is designed to engage the emotions, machine translation remains a long way from being a viable solution. Information, it seems, moves much more easily between languages than presentation.

This applies not just to literature and poetry, but to the creative translation, known as transcreation, that is needed to engage consumers in advertising and marketing communications.

For instance, it is important to remember that machine translation is typically a process initiated by the reader. Someone has already decided they are interested in the text, and that is why they are getting it translated.

But with advertising, this interest cannot be assumed, it must be created. In the era of information overload, audiences need a reason to bother with content. That reason might be humour, passion, intrigue or elegance of style, but it will almost certainly be something that is not machine-translatable.

As Wayne Bourland of Dell’s Global Localisation Team comments, “In a recent usability study conducted in Germany, Dell observed that buyers who needed to form an emotional connection as part of the purchasing process were both distracted and disappointed by translation errors.”

And of course, anything that requires creativity or originality is almost by definition not suitable for statistical based machine translation – because a system that only leverages past translations can never come up with something as creative and original as a human being.

Ultimately, good translation is a creative process. Machine translation is an incredibly powerful tool, but thinking it can replace human translators is like thinking an oven can replace a chef.

Opinion article by James Bradley, Head of English Copy at Mother Tongue Writers

Time for tea

No Comments » Written on October 25th, 2010 by
Categories: France, UK, USA
Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s pretty obvious that wine can’t be advertised the same way in France as it is in the UK. And this isn’t only because there are so many rules that restrict the marketing of alcohol in France (for example, you can’t advertise in cinemas, on TV or in stadiums). The fact is that the French and British have a totally different attitude to wine (how often they drink it, how much they drink, how much they are prepared to pay for it, and so on) – and this different attitude requires a different marketing approach. In France, the emphasis is more on the year, the vineyard, the tannin, and the traditional processes used to make it – while in Britain (probably due to the fact that Britain has very few vineyards), marketing copy generally tends to focus more on the exotic locations which the wine is from, often trying to sell some sort of dream rather than just a beverage (probably the reason why some ads look like they are from a travel agency rather than a wine company).

However, less obvious, is the different approach which companies must take to their advertising of tea and coffee in these two markets. The French are traditionally coffee lovers, and the Brits are known to be partial for a good cup of tea. While these nationalities are changing their habits slowly – with coffee shops popping up all over the UK, and tea becoming more and more popular over the channel, there are still great discrepancies in people’s attitudes towards these two products. More or less everyone in England has a kettle – surprisingly this is not the case in France, where it is much more common to see a coffee machine in somebody’s kitchen. In the UK, we consider a coffee machine to be somewhat of a luxury item, rather than a staple household appliance.

It’s important that a company’s marketing strategy reflects these differences. In the UK, for example, you would focus your campaign on people who didn’t actually have one of these machines. In France, you would have to consider your target as already having one and convince them to replace it. Needless to say that there are two different approaches – in the wording, visuals and so on.

In the USA (a former British colony which was also French for a short period), it is interesting to note that the coffee machine is actually the item every household has – and it is very seldom to see a kettle in the kitchen. So they are very much like the French in this regard. Perhaps their drinking habits could in part be down to an iconic event in American history called The Boston Tea Party – a demonstration in 1773 by the citizens of Boston who (disguised as Indians) raided three British ships in Boston harbour and dumped hundreds of chests of tea into the sea; organized as a protest against taxes on tea. Perhaps this is why Americans started drinking so much coffee!

Aurélie, New York