November 4, 2020
Paula Ribeiro

Expanding our business internationally can be exciting, but in order for this expansion to succeed, it is necessary to attract the international consumer and not send the wrong message, which can not only discourage the consumer from buying your product or service but can also lead to major losses for your company.

Many companies have learned the hard way that an ad or marketing campaign has to be carefully designed for a foreign audience. The use of national symbols, for example, is of paramount importance for a global brand as it can affect a marketing campaign even before it starts.

This was exactly what happened to the German car giant BMW when the company decided to use the UAE national anthem in a marketing campaign for a new car without considering the losses they could suffer from the campaign. The ad displayed the Al Ain Football Club players singing the anthem and then breaking into a run toward several BMW cars when they heard the sound of the engines. Although the brand was trying to arouse intense emotions, the end result evoked rage instead of passion. At a national level , the campaign was found incredibly offensive as it suggested their cars were more important for the players than their national anthem. The company explained its intent was never to offend, and although the ad has been quickly replaced by a new version, the brand sales felt the strong disagreement directly on their numbers.

Paula Ribeiro
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