So, when is it appropriate to leverage culture in a marketing campaign? Here’s an instance where the use of culture is very effective.
As discussed in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Segmenting the Asian American market based on generational differences,” Indian Americans are the least likely to consider themselves to be typical Americans; and want to maintain strong ties with their country-of-origin. Thus, the use of cultural elements in the Vonage ad is both non-stereotypical and representative of the target audience – most likely 1st generation immigrant adults. As an East Indian, I found the ad to be both humorous and representative of the reasons why my parents make phone calls to India.
In the following case, the Asian American woman is depicted as a typical American. Unlike the Vonage ad, this ad is targeted at an Asian American audience that has come to see themselves as typical Americans – most likely 3rd generation Asian American. Thus, the Verizon ad is appropriately void of cultural elements as they would likely be viewed negatively (i.e. stereotypical) among those who have come to identify themselves as Americans.
In either case the imagery and the message is consistent with the attitudes, values and beliefs of the target audience. The key takeaway here: when developing marketing campaigns targeted at Asian Americans, a deeper understanding of generational differences is critically important. Missing the mark won’t just make for an ineffective ad–it could have a negative impact on your entire organization.
Other entries in the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon series:
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Part 1: The rise of the Asian population in America
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Part 2: Reaching the fastest growing population in America
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Part 3: Segmenting the Asian American market based on generational differences