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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October, 1998 - ... open end


Subject:Re: Globalization
Date:Mon, 07 Dec 1998 07:29
Author:Pedro Meyer  [pedro@zonezero.com]
Reply To:forum1@hkw.kbx.de


on 06 Dec 1998 23:20 ||||||||Sa\|||m wrote:

I agree with Pedro that there are big differences between people - but what concerns me is the way the marketing forces (not market forces) are so effective in their campaigns throughout the world. They seem to be able to continuously generate new markets and build loyal audiences. They seem to understand what makes us tick - what makes us desire - what makes us consume.


I would argue the point Sam, by looking at it a bit differently. Go to any advertising agency, and they will acknowledge that they can not use the same advertisement on a universal scale. Each campagin has to be adjusted to the idiosyncrasy of each culture, age group, gender, etc. etc.

What will be effective advertising in Chicago in no way will work in Calcutta, or viceversa. So this notion of blanketing the planet with sameness is just not the case, it is something that came out of the rhetoric of the fifties and sixties, when "mass markets" where the counterpart to "mass production". You needed one in order to serve the other. It was thought that mass market campaigns, and that is how TV was intended in those days, would deliver the consumers that the factories required for their mass produced articles rolling off the assembly line. The fact is that it never came to be effective as a solution, to the point that in time and as the technologies allowed it, these notions where changed. Remember sometimes things do not get changed because the tools to do so are not there yet, even though the intentions are.

Move the clock to the end of the century, and what you have is no longer mass produced goods, but "just in time" manufacturing where the computer can be assembled to your specifications and still be manufactured in a cost effective way and delivered to you as if it was produced on a mass assembly line.

The recognition that your needs are not going to be the same as mine, is good me as a person, for the item being manufactured and the advertising that is required. My version of TIME magazine does not carry any advertising for things I do not care about, quite the contrary, it brings me ads of those items I am interested in, and I do want the information that those ads provide. (this is being played out supremely well on the internet... where advertising will be able to be delivered taylor made to YOUR particular needs, one by one). Why do you think that ecommerce is such a phenomenal growth story.

Just think about it, there are now starting with printing books to order, so that no book will ever become out of print. So if any one still harbors the notion that we are into an era of "one size fits all" they better take a good look around at what is really happening around the globe in that business world that allegedly is going to cover the planet with the same values all over. They don't even want to.

Having said all of this, I would invite you to consider that if the allegation is about appealing to the same psychological triggers to motivate us to buy one item over another, only using the localized version of the argument. In other words, using the knowledge of what it is that makes you choose one item over another, and then pursuing that sort of argumentation through advertising. Not even that is universal. There is advertising here in Mexico which would become an embarrasement to an advertiser in a culture that is more "politicaly correct". We have advertising here which would offend someone who could read the sexist messages that were made intentionally to be so, and which sell very well here.

So if anything is going to happen over the internet, it is that it will allow for the individualization of consumption to degrees never dreamed off before. And that can not happen if the cultural values are not being catered to at the same time.

At ZoneZero we have forums that are both in english and spanish, they are not mixed, they are separate, and what is interesting to observe is that the content of the spanish section is quite different to the one in english, even though the topics are the same. You can clearly perceive the variances in cultural approach to the same issues.

I hope to have advanced the discussion a notch, with these thoughts.


All best
Pedro Meyer


ZonZero Mexico, SA de CV
Ortega #20
Coyoacan 04000, Mexico D.F.
Mexico
tel (525) 554 3996/ (525) 554 3730
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http://zonezero.com



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