Advertising Abroad

January 2nd

As my career aspirations are to go into advertising, I decided to pay close attention to how different countries executed their ads.  I honestly expected many of the advertisements to be done in a similar fashion as they are in the United States, with a taste of different culture of course.  What I came to find was different from what I was expecting in some countries.  As I have visited eleven countries during my study abroad experience, I decided to discuss the advertising of three countries I noticed the most difference.  These countries are as follows: Norway, Ireland, and Italy.

The first country is Norway. It is where I have called home for almost five months and have had the most exposure to advertising. Compared to the United States, Norway is far more practical in their advertisements as they focus on the importance of the product being advertised. For example, when they conducted beer advertisements, it was solely about the percentage and cost, rather than identifying the brand.  This is different from the United States where companies like Budweiser produce advertisements like their well-known puppy and Clydesdale commercial that appears almost every Superbowl.  Those commercials are more about establishing a brand and even though the product is not introduced in the ad until the end or somewhere in the middle.  Instead it gets an emotional response.  In Norway, I saw only one advertisement that seemed it was trying to get an emotional response and it was for a charity that was promoting supporting Syrian refugees. Though it did make sense to influence people to support the refugees, it was still a rather practical add in terms of the information it shared.  The only emotional aspect was the use of young child as the picture, looking sadly at the camera.

The second country that had a different style to advertising was Ireland.  Ireland is a rather small country with a population of approximately 4.5 million people. One of the largest and most popular companies from a global level is Guinness brewery and Jamison Whiskey. These two companies dominated advertisements on billboards, buildings, local magazines and newspapers.  Everywhere we went there was an advertisement for Guinness that has been the same for several years.  They have maintained their classic ‘zoo’ theme that has been around for many years.  However, their advertisements around the United States are more modern and fit to match this market. However, all around Ireland they still primarily use the zoo themed advertisements. I spent time in both Dublin and Galway, which are about three hours apart by train.  It was pretty unique and cool to see that the advertisements that worked so long ago are still used to draw in customers across Ireland regardless of what part they are from.

The final country that I found to be similar to the United States was Italy.  While I had to do a lot of translating since I don’t speak Italian, to fully understand what was going along with the picture or images on the ad. Though, the ads did an incredible job of drawing attention and providing an understanding of what was being offered with just the images, I found that humor and sex were two of the main components used in the ads. There were limited emotional ads, which I found interesting because a lot of the Italians I met while abroad were rather passionate and emotional about most things.  However, I think that humor and sex are more of an enticing draw based on their culture.  They love to have fun and laugh, and the discussion of sex is not taboo there as it is in the United States.

All three of these countries have shown an interesting focus for their advertisements based on the cultures and practices that they do. While there are some similarities to those in the United States, it is interesting how uniform some of the advertisements can be across smaller countries like Norway and Ireland, and how open some countries are about topics that would make most Americans uncomfortable to acknowledge from a company if not appropriate. By experiencing this first-hand, this allowed me to learn a lesson about how important understanding the culture and practices of a company are when executing advertisements for prospective companies.

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