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Cultural Dynamics. Take off the shoes to win. I was meeting with a group of Japanese businessmen in Tokyo, and our morning discussions had not gone well. For lunch my hosts rented a private room in a restaurant. As is the custom, they took off their shoes. I was wearing my dress

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Take off the shoes to win

I was meeting with a group of Japanese businessmen in Tokyo, and our morning

discussions had not gone well. For lunch my hosts rented a private room in a

restaurant. As is the custom, they took off their shoes. I was wearing my dress

cowboy boots and removed them. No sooner had we sat cross-legged on the dining mats than I began to receive the first smiles and laughter of the day. I was puzzled until one man said, "Mickey Mouse," pointing to my socks. My children had packed this footwear, which they had given me for my birthday. Not realizing I would be taking off my boots, I wore the socks. That moment in the restaurant was the turning point of the trip, and before I left Japan we had an agreement.

national differences in culture
National Differences in Culture
  • What is CULTURE?
    • shared system of values and norms that offer a design for living
      • Values: abstract ideas about what is good, right and desirable
      • Norms: social rules and guidelines that prescribe appropriate behavior in particular situations
culture quiz

Culture Quiz


Determinants of Culture

  • Social Structure
  • Group and individual
  • Social classes and mobility




Norms/ Values



  • Language
  • Spoken and silent


cultural issues
Cultural Issues
  • Technological and Material Culture
  • Communication and Language
  • Aesthetics
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Attitudes and Values
  • Social Organization
technological and material culture
Technological and Material Culture
  • Material Culture - tools and artifacts (physical things) in a society, excluding those physical things found in nature unless they undergo some technological change e.g. tree to Christmas tree or orchard
  • Technology - Techniques to make and use those things.

Technological and Material Culture

  • Effect on consumption
  • Car - Suburbs
  • Television - Advertising, Home Shopping etc.
  • Microwave oven - Food preparation and nature of the food consumed.
  • Sony Walkman, Cellular phone
communication and language

Communication and Language

Language as a Communication Tool

Verbal or Nonverbal Communication


Verbal - Language is a mirror of culture; 3000 languages

  • American - ok
  • Southern France - sale is worthless
  • Brazil - %%@@ **&
international marketing blunders
International Marketing Blunders
  • Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea."
international marketing blunders12
International Marketing Blunders
  • Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign:

è Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.

international marketing blunders13
International Marketing Blunders
  • The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem-Feeling Free", was translated into the Japanese market as

è "When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty."

international marketing blunders14
International Marketing Blunders
  • Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
international marketing blunders15
International Marketing Blunders
  • An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa),

è the shirts read "I saw the potato" (la papa).

international marketing blunders16
International Marketing Blunders
  • In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into "Schweppes Toilet Water.”
international marketing blunders17
International Marketing Blunders
  • Pepsi's "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into

è "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave," in Chinese.

international marketing blunders18
International Marketing Blunders
  • Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "it takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as

è "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”

international marketing blunders19
International Marketing Blunders
  • When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "it won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you".

è Instead, the company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant".

  • Holidays
  • Taboos and Consumption Patterns
  • Economic Development and Materialism
  • Muslims and Ramadan
    • Tunisia - market slumps
    • Saudi Arabia - pilgrimage to Mecca
      • Swedish co. for transportation system
  • Christians and Christmas
    • Dutch - St. Nicholas Day (Dec 6th)
    • Russians - Frost Man’s day (January 1)
  • Never touch the head of a Thai or Pass an object over it
  • The head is considered sacred in Thailand.

Some Cultural Facts

  • An American firm lost floor wax sales in Brazil because a change in the formula made the product less effective as a lighter fluid to ignite Sunday Barbecues.
  • Germans prefer salad dressing in a tube.
  • Kellogg’s Pop Tart failed in Europe, as many homes do not have toasters.
  • Mountain Dew soft drink in difficult to pronounce in Portuguese, and sales have been slow in these markets.
  • Two-liter pop bottle failed in Spain because of small refrigerators
  • Although 89% of Americans agree that everyone should use deodorant, only 53% of Australians agree with this statement
values and attitudes

Values and Attitudes

Marketing Activities

Wealth, Material Gain, and Acquisition

Work Ethic


Risk Taking


Status Symbols


values and attitudes26
Values and Attitudes
  • Colac Laxative in Japan - Richardson-Vicks
    • Psychological dimensions of constipation
    • discuss only in group - no westerners present
    • dissatisfied with slow-acting herbal remedies
    • wary western laxatives too strong
colac laxative in japan
Colac Laxative in Japan
  • Two little pills with natural qualities
  • “Three things to consider for stubborn constipation - salad, beauty exercise, and Colac before bedtime”
  • Levels of Participation
  • Literacy Rates
  • Emphasis on Specific Subjects

World Education League

Who’s top?

Some countries seem to educate their children much better than others? Why? No comprehensive answer has emerged yet but plenty of lessons are being learned

Economist 3/29/97

  • Design
  • Color
  • Music
  • Choice of brand names, packaging etc.

Aesthetics - Cultural differences

    • Avoid using triangular shapes in Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan.
    • The triangle is considered a negative shape
aesthetics cultural differences
Aesthetics - Cultural differences
    • The number 7 is considered bad luck in Kenya and good luck in the Czech Republic and Magical connotation in Benin, Africa
    • The number 10 is bad luck in Korea.
    • The number 4 means death in Japan
aesthetics cultural differences33
Aesthetics - Cultural differences
    • Red represents witchcraft and death in many African countries
    • Red is a positive color in Denmark
social organization
Social Organization
  • Family Unit
  • Peer Groups
  • Role models