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Friday, March 27, 2009

Ad some local on me, or dub some ad on me?

One of the everlasting debates in multinational companies is to decide between local ads vs. dubbed versions of global ads. Although both school of thoughts enjoy a loyal fan base, the answer to this lies with specific situation based on which, the client can determine the way forward. Following are few of the issues to ponder while selecting any of the solutions.

- Creativity ideologically is beyond the language barriers. Which in turn allows it to convey its messages to anyone and everyone irrespective of their knowledge base and language preferences. Visual communication should carry the ease of understanding across any region without verbal aids. Foreign ads are favorable in this respect. Case in reference, Coke/ DHL has long enjoyed running foreign ads successfully due to their strong visual communications.

- Literacy plays a major role in the communication development phase citing reasons as “level of understanding”, “language preferences” or even “choice of wording”. In a country like Bangladesh, where literacy rate stands at 46-50% on an average, any English copy is sure to bomb in the effectiveness market. Many brands have switched to dubbed pay-off lines to convey their message (e.g. Tang) while other keeping the original (e.g. Warid Telecom and “be heard”) have drastically failed to make a connect with the consumers. Notable in this regard, a mix of Bengali and English words (commonly referred as Banglish) has worked wonders lately, i.e. Frutika “ektu beshii pure”.

- When a global communication is usually developed it keeps in mind a broader set of issues that helps in wide acceptability and usage across various languages. However, a fundamental issue is found to be lacking in most global commercials. While we all strive for providing a more personal, a more customized solution to all out customers, enticing them to buy our products looking at a global ad is a risky business. Communications that involve human interfaces and emotions are less likely to be taken positively since every nation/region has their very own style of expression.

- Many a country lacks the creative powerhouse or local know-how to develop a local ad for a global company that will be true to the original brand message. This lack of credibility also drives the clients to depend on foreign aids for their communication purposes, too. However, a country like Bangladesh, which has grown leaps and bounds in terms of creative ideas and executions, is unlikely to be such a destination. Over the past few years, the unprecedented growth and success the local advertising fraternity has enjoyed makes the choice of going ahead with a global communication in a bigger limbo.
I have tried to put in place, a few of the reasons, I find it obligatory to go ahead with a locally developed communication, but all said and done, it’s a value-driven decision and numbers, I would rather leave it to experts to comment on.
Sabih Ahmed, is a free-lance business blogger


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