In marketing and advertising, creativity and culture rule. I’ll rewrite your text—or redesign your entire marketing concept—so that your message goes over well.


Imagine the following ad for a car manufacturer: A mountain range in the background, the new model is confidently plowing through deep snow. The slogan above the picture reads, “Born for the snow.”

How well would this ad resonate with a Middle Eastern audience? From both a linguistic and visual standpoint the message must be relevant for the respective region.

When the shoe pinches

The context of a marketing campaign may not always be appropriate in other countries. A popular manufacturer of athletic gear had the flag of a country printed on sneakers in honor of the

country’s 40th anniversary. Unfortunately this concept backfired: feet and shoes are associated with dirt in this region.


Does the product name work abroad? The same word can have a completely different meaning in other languages. The product name “Fartfull”—meaning “speedy” in Swedish—may be appropriate for the Swedish but not for the U.S. market.

And if a slogan is based on a witty play on words that makes sense in one language but not in the other, then it will have to be newly created in the other language—different wording, same message.

Other countries, other priorities

Priorities too may vary in other countries.

The marketing survey of an American birth control pill manufacturer showed an interesting result: The number one priority for American women regarding birth control was convenience. For Hispanic women, by contrast, the top priority was discreetness. Based on

this result, the manufacturer developed two marketing campaigns for the U.S. market: One for English media with the marketing message being the convenient use of the product. The other campaign was advertised in Spanish media with a focus on the discreetness of the product.