Commercials, their ideas and symbols

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Lingvisten, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. Lingvisten Senior Member

    I think it could be interesting to find out, which symbols and ideas the commercials use in different countries. Does it depend on the countries state of development or maybe on other things? I could start by writing my perception of the tendencies in Denmark and Russia.

    Denmark: Danish commercials have, as I see, two tendencies: a humoristic and a nostalgic. The nostalgic is what interests me the most. It represents itself through coziness, something from the old days, before the world got "mad", family values, relaxed, and the idea of little Denmark as a country isolated and unaffected by the sorrounding world.

    Russia: the tendencies in Russia is, in my oppinion, also nostalgic. It seems like inverted soviet propaganda. In the commercials the future, factories, modernity is presented as something frightening, and the past, rural, original russian, before western influence corrupted it all. A slogan from kvas brand Nikola says it all: квас не кола - пей николу.

    In the mean time, most European commercials, that reaches Denmark, has a more modern and technological fealing, except the over-the-top melodramatic storck commercials (merci, werthers, and so on). Is the larger european countries less nostalgic, or are the difference only due to the different types of products. (food, candleholders, beer = local; electronics, cars, clothes, watches = foreign).

    How is it in your country?
  2. AngelEyes

    AngelEyes Senior Member

    English - United States
    In the United States, you see a difference, depending on whether we're talking about radio commercials or TV commercials.

    I can speak about radio commercials personally because I've written them and I voice them. Knowing your "market" (your target audience) is everything, so it depends on where you live. Big cities are more liberal and smaller cities tend to take the safe route.

    Competition also drives how "over-the-top" you will go in your script. Businesses are always looking for a way to stand out from the crowd. The stiffer the competition, the more risks they're willing to take. The spots could be sexier, more naughty words, and more flamboyant in presentation.

    Money is always an issue. There are more advertising dollars to spend on the bigger markets, so they're more professionally done.

    One thing really doesn't change, though, and I would guess it's this way all over the world. The standard emotions that always tug at people's heartstrings and pocketbook never change. The nostalgic always sells. We humans are so controlled by our heart's emotions. :)

    And keep in mind the biggest advertising times of the year are all the most emotional ones: Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day - these are the big ones in the U.S.

    Also, we all love to laugh, so you can never go wrong with humor. But humor is elastic - it changes with every country. What I would laugh at, you might not think is funny. British humor flies right over my head! Advertisers love to buy funny commercials, geared to the local audience they're trying to target. It reflects on their business. It makes the buyer think that they can identify with that business, and thus, that product, and they'll be more interested in buying it. Humor sells like nothing else, in my opinion.

    To get more personal, I have found a trend that's growing. Business owners love to voice their own commercials, which I think is usually a terrible idea. They can't read their script naturally and it usually stinks overall. :eek: But they're paying the bill and, believe me, I bet there's one thing that's universal: The sales-person will do and promise almost anything to get that sale!

    I'm curious about other countries. Do you find that in your commercials, the reader talks so fast that sometimes you can't even understand them? That they give you so much information jammed into a 30 or 60 second spot that your head is spinning and your mind just shuts down?

    This is another troubling trend I've noticed. The client wants to give you their whole life history, it seems. They think that the more they throw at the consumer, the more likely it is that they'll hook that buyer. I believe the opposite is true. I think people turn off these commercials because they find them over-whelming to process and irritating to listen to.

    Sometimes I have to read so fast to get it all in, I sound like I'm on speed.

    Because TV commercials are visual, you move into the more sexy, provocative areas.

    And in both venues, celebrities bring in the dough. I don't think that most Americans realize how some of our most famous American stars go over to foreign countries and do their commercials. Stars want all that money, but they don't think it's chic or "cool" to peddle stuff at home in their own country. It's a form of hypocrisy, I believe. But most of us don't even know they're doing it.

    Do you like those commericals and are you swayed by the star-power of these Americans to buy those products? Or do you avoid them precisely because you feel you're being manipulated by a greedy American?

  3. ernest_

    ernest_ Senior Member

    Catalan, Spain
    In Spain most advertisements are imported from other countries, so they are the very same adverts that you can see in other European countries. As a matter of fact, some of them are not even dubbed - I don't usually watch this sort of things, but I'm pretty sure that every now and then they run an advertisement in French and some other in English, probably, in an attempt to play the "exotic" "exclusivity" card... the tricks they use are pathetic right enough, to be honest.
  4. yecru Member

    UK - English
    You're right, the ones from big multi-national companies (especially sportswear, mobile communications and others) are often the same in many European countries, and just the voice-over and maybe some other small details are different.
    From what I saw in Spain, this wasn't very common except for adverts for perfume/aftershave, for which I saw them in both French and (American) English. In the UK, it's more or less the same, you can see the odd short advert for perfume/cosmetics in French (because it's considered sexy/chic) but to my knowledge not in any other language.

    On the other hand, I've noticed from flicking through Scandanavian channels on satellite TV that they put a lot of adverts (and not just short ones with simple slogans) in English. The strange thing is that I've seen ones which use British actors/voice-over artists which don't even appear on the television here, which makes me think that they are made especially for the Scandanavian market in English.
  5. Lingvisten Senior Member

    In Scandinavia, they usualy don't bother dubbing the commercials. L'oreal - French/English, Fiat - Italian, and many other in English (they probably expect, that every Scandinavian understands English fluently). It depends on the type of commercial. The French/Italian/Spanish is probably to give it an ecxotic sense, and to signal quality. I could hardly imagine commercials in German, Polish or even Swedish, Norwegian. The commercials in English are often from multinational companies, but wether they are produced for the Scandinavian market only, I can't tell. Starring in them are sometimes British or American superstars, but I don't think the "star-factor" is doing any difference. The commercials, that sticks in your brain are the Danish ones. The multinationals are often percieved as distant and cold.
    It strikes me, that we often think of the over-the-top melodramatic commercials as being German. Don't know why? Don't even know if they are German, but corny and nauseating sweet commercials are instantly thought of as German. Tuborg has even made a commercial making fun of this kind of commercials. In the Tuborg ad it is called: "German chocolate music".
    Do such "commercial prejudices" excist in other countries?
  6. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    I don't know if this is the best example. Commercials for food products in general, and traditional ones in particular, such as kvas - a fermented drink, often play on the notions like "family recipe passed from generation to generation", "grandmother's kitchen", country-style etc. This is true for commercials covering anything from hickory-smoked sausage in the US, to a pasta sauce in Italy, to a Belgian beer to a Russian kvas.

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