Modern business is getting increasingly global and this process has a significant impact on the nature and peculiarities of contemporary advertising and publicity. Marketers have to take into account different features of the culture where the product or service is supposed to be sold and structure the advertising campaign in accordance with them. The same advertisement is unlikely to work with the same level of effectiveness, for example, in Iran and Iceland where the populations have almost entirely different lifestyles and traditions. This essay will focus on analyzing Canon’s print advertisements launched in Europe and India. The paper will explore the cultural aspects of these advertisements and analyze their effectiveness and appropriateness in the given cultures.
The European advertisement is devoted to the Canon PowerShot model, targeted to non-professional users who nevertheless want to enjoy high quality images and simplicity in operating the camera. It shows the central statue of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, which is considered to be one of the city’s major attractions. The fountain was completed in 1762 and features a very impressive combination of classical Roman-style statues arranged and decorated according to the Baroque traditions. However, the statue is digitally modified – in reality it has both hands down, but in the Canon advertisement it is holding a Canon PowerShot in its hand making a selfie.
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The second advertisement analyzed in this essay was made by the same company, Canon, but for a different model (EOS 1100D). This advertisement was printed in various Indian English-speaking journals and magazines and featured in the Indian web segment. It shows two palms joined together and decorated with traditional Indian mehndi (an ornament made with henna mixture, a typical bridal decoration). The mehndi depicts different symbols of India, including the famous Taj Mahal and an Indian Bollywood scene. The central place is occupied by a stylized drawing of a Canon camera. The slogan “Discover endless possibilities with new 1100D” is written in a traditional Indian script often seen in old books.
These advertisements represent different approaches to promoting the product in Europe and India. They both effectively appeal to the cultures of the nations where the company intends to sell its cameras. The European advertisement features a very popular sightseeing attraction in Europe that is likely to be familiar to any person fond of travelling. Taking into account that the PowerShot model is especially targeted for this group of consumers, this choice seems quite effective, as taking good photographs of tourist attractions is one of the main intended spheres of PowerShot application. Moreover, the statue from the Trevi Fountain creates string associations with long-lasting quality and long-time traditions of European art, which is also very important for the image of Canon as a company.
The same approach is taken in the case of the Indian advertisement. It shows that Canon pays close attention to Indian traditions. If the company launched the European advertisement in the Indian market, it would have a distinctly foreign image that would negatively reflect on the sales. Tungate writes that, since 2000, the Asian countries have been drawing more attention from the leading European and American companies and that “their attitude to the region has remounted from a steady simmer to bubbling enthusiasm” (235). More and more companies try to sell their technological gadgets and devices in this country because “India is the world’s largest democracy, with a growing middle class spurred by technology expertise” (Tungate 236). In addition, De Mooij argues that it is especially crucial for global brands to win the trust of Asian markets as they tend to prefer local producers to foreign ones. The author writes, “The most trusted car brand in India is the Indian brand Maruti. Most trusted soft drink brands in Asian countries are mostly local. In India, it is Frooty, owned by an Indian company Parle Argo” (De Mooij 38). Therefore, showing deep connection with the Indian culture is a very important step for any company that chooses to sell its products in this country. It is obvious that Canon exerts every effort to show this connection in the advertisement and make the product “feel local”. It makes the image of the Canon camera an integral part of the Indian culture represented by a number of small pictures included into the mehndi drawing.
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Another similarity of these advertisements lies in their almost identical target audiences although the scope of the Indian ad’s impact seems to be slightly broader. Both variants target active young and middle-aged people who enjoy traveling and are not indifferent to art and cultural symbols of their regions. These advertisements cannot be fully “read” without the minimum knowledge of the cultural history of Europe or India correspondingly. It can be partially explained by the fact that photography is nowadays presented not only as a mere means of fixation for the important moments, but also as a certain type of art.
However, the two advertisements make their arguments in slightly different ways. The European advertisement is, to a certain extent, humorous as the statue displays the same feelings and habits as any human. Moreover, it is made with the help of image editing software that adds a slight degree of fakeness to the general atmosphere of the image. The Indian variant produces an impression of a very simple picture, but it is likely to make the target viewer admire the skills of the mehndi specialist and the creativity of the marketers in general. It is possible that editing software was used here as well, but this fakeness is not obvious. The proponents of the European advertisement may argue that the Indian variant is too simple and does not contain any humorous elements that are very popular with the modern audience, but the Canon 1100D advertisement is obviously more harmonious and better at interweaving important cultural concepts into the general atmosphere of the image.
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It is very difficult to choose the advertisement that communicates its message to the audience more successfully while taking into account cultural aspects, but the Indian variant seems to be more creative and appeal simultaneously to different cultural symbols (mehndi, the Taj Mahal, Bollywood movies, Agra Fort, and others). It allows the advertisement to create a multidimensional connection with the target audience in contrast to the European advertisement, which features only a single cultural symbol. Moreover, this advertisement also intensifies the main message with the appropriate style of typography and a corresponding color scheme of very warm shades that can be also associated with the colors of the Indian soil, etc.
In conclusion, the two Canon advertisements launched at the European and Indian markets have both similarities and differences. They both appeal to important cultural symbols of the corresponding regions and focus on their significance for the representatives of the target audience. The advertisements employ quite an effective approach when promoting Canon cameras in different cultures taking into account all their peculiarities. However, they use slightly different methods of making their arguments as the Indian advertisement lacks the humorous element present in the European variant. Nevertheless, the Indian advertisement can be considered more organic in terms of incorporating important cultural messages into the marketing strategy of the company.