I remember reading lots of articles and anecdotes about companies making mistakes in launching, marketing and naming products or services and was reminded of a little book we had going around in JWT ages ago on getting Chinese translations right. It had this bit of wisdom in it:
One day I’d like to do something like the little book of culturally insensitive brands. I’ve been collecting lots of stories from across the ages and it still shocks me how in this day and age people with a narrow lens on the world allow these mistakes to happen.
Maybe one day.
Russell made a really good point in his Campaign column a couple of weeks ago. Just posting it here so that more people see it and it doesn’t get lost:
Planners and researchers, always looking for new insights into the same old markets, seized on ethnography as a tool a few years ago and delivered quite a few useful and revelatory insights. Quickly, though, it became clear that actual ethnography was slow and expensive. Not a problem for us, of course – we just invented a whole new version of ethnography unencumbered by conventional protocols or rigour.
So now there are two schools of ethnography – one means spending a long time getting to understand a particular community in depth, the other involves visiting someone in Reading and photographing their fridge.
We’ve turned ethnography from a social science to a commercial tool. That’s not valueless, not at all, but it short-changes practitioners of both schools to pretend they’re the same thing.
Taking a shortcut is no way of getting ahead in the advertising business
Something I’ve been thinking of using for 1-Up, just not sure how yet. Posting it here so I don’t lose it.