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I used this example for my Literature Review and I thought I must share it with all of you!

So ‘gesticulation’ is another significant factor when communicating with people from different culture. Just as one word or an expression can carry different meanings in different countries, hundreds of global advertising examples have proven the fact that gesticulations or body language differ from culture to culture.

In the United States, life-size Ronald McDonald statues with friendly hand waves can be seen in almost all stores. However, Ronald McDonalds in Thailand have both palms of their hands placed together as a sign of respect, which is how Thai people greet each other. By making this small change, McDonald’s mascot, Ronald McDonald has become truly Thai and truly local (Mueller 2004).



And since we are in the topic of McDonald’s, I want to add these two TV commercials from Japan.  I guess they’ve decided to let Ronald McDonald retire early. I personally think these TVCs are hilarious to the max :p

More from the book:

Marieke de Mooij, 2004, Consumer Behaviour and Culture: Consequences for Global Marketing and Advertising, Illustrated, Sage Publication, United States of America

Kevin Roberts, CEO worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, stated in 2002: “Anyone who wants to go global has to understand the local – their own local and the local of their customers. People live in the local. I’ve never met a global consumer. I never expect to. We define ourselves by our differences. It’s called identity – self, family, nation.”

Generalization of consumers and consumer behaviors is “wrong in principle and impossible in practice” (Mooij, M.D 2004, pp. 16). Lack of local sensitivity can result to the decline in company’s profit as well as to weaken brand image. Interesting fact people tend to forget is that when a country is developing, they always focus more on international (western) value but once the country is developed they will shift their focus back to their own historical values and preferences. Therefore advertisers must understand the situation of certain country and understand their culture before launching any kind of global advertising campaigns. There are indeed many globally popular brands such as Coca-Cola however, it would be a mistake to assume that everyone purchase/consume Coca-Cola for the same reason. Coca-Cola itself made the mistake of assuming that there is such thing as universal motivation. However, with the decline in their sales in the year 2000, they started to realize the importance of local markets which then led to the success of Coca-Cola’s advertising campaign across different countries.

“We kept standardizing our practices, while local sensitivity had become absolutely essential to success” – Douglas Daft, Coca-Cola’s CEO from Financial Times

A good example for successful global advertising as well as global brand building is McDonald’s. McDonald’s became very popular across different countries because they were able to adapt to local markets and local communities. They not only produce advertising campaigns suitable for each unique culture but also able to understand their consumers and therefore know what they want. This can be seen through McDonald’s strong menu across the world. Image below is just a few examples on McDonald’s menu which only can be found in certain countries.


1. Indonesia: chicken, rice, vegetable soup and drink as a set meal

2. India: big mac without beef (because Hindu people don’t eat beef), instead uses lamb and chicken

3. Germany: meal includes beer

4. Chilli: avocado sauce in the burger

5. Norway: grilled salmon wrap

6. Hong Kong: rice burger

7. Japan: prawn with sesame burger and

8. Japan: tamago (egg) burger

9. Canada/England: lobster burger

10. Hawaii: spam, sausage, egg and rice breakfast meal

I will discuss more on what are the important factors to be considered when launching a global-scale advertising campaign in my next blog post.


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