Bob's Blog

Vive La Difference

vive_la_difference.jpgWe humans can be a funny lot, if you think about it. Naturally, I can speak from no other perspective than British, but from here, we like our holidays abroad, learning a few phrases in the native lingo so we can pretend to be fluent when we come home and then forget them after a fortnight. Yes, we like to embrace foreign cultures and be really ‘cosmopolitan’. Except, that is, until our foreign friends try and sell us something on our own soil. Dear me, no; that would never do. Let me elaborate.

For the sake of this piece, let’s use the United States. This is not a deliberate, anti-American rant, but simply the easiest example. If a television ad appears to promote the US as a holiday destination, not only would the American accent be acceptable, but we Brits would be suspicious if the voice over was in 1950s BBC English referring to the beaches as being ‘splendid’.

However, if the ad is for a product, then the voice over, and particularly the vernacular, grates. Personally, the only time I feel it’s acceptable for someone to ‘reach out’ to me is if they are drowning and I’m in a position to help. Otherwise, they may simply try getting in touch. As you know, there will be many examples that, if you’re honest with yourself, you feel really annoyed with.

Now here’s the twist. The Brits can only see things from their own perspective, obviously. Do not rule out the possibility – probability, even -  that there are some of our mannerisms annoy those from other cultures. So the advice for those from abroad who wish to trade over here, or those from here who wish to trade abroad, get a marketing company that is immersed in the culture into which you are trying to sell otherwise resentment and failure will surely follow.