Posted by: practicalglobalrelations | February 8, 2010

Global Commercials: Things to Consider

Watch the two commercials below:

Notice some differences? While the two commercials are both advertising the Toyota car company, they display very different meanings. They each insinuate different reasons for why their viewers should buy a Toyota. The first commercial is saying that Toyotas are so fuel efficient that you can drive wherever you want, worry free. You can even play chase with your dog all across town. The second commercial suggests that Toyotas have a “strong attraction,” as written at the end of the commercial, and that a man may even want the car more than the attractive woman behind the wheel. I suppose it could also show that the car is fuel efficient enough to drive across town with a stranger following behind, but that was not the main point being conveyed.

Creating campaigns with commercials are very costly, not to mention also time consuming. It would be easy for a multi-national company to launch one commercial world-wide and call it good; however, cultural values are going to be a more important issue than price. A public relations or advertising professional must approach a new commercial campaign, or any campaign for that matter, ready to reflect the values, beliefs and realities of the particular culture they are distributing the campaign for. For example, in Europe energy and water prices are extremely high. So, when trying to promote a new appliance, it would be beneficial for the professional to keep this in mind by highlighting its “light water use,” for example.

In one of my PR classes, Strategic Public Relations Communications, my instructor showed a couple commercials made by Sylvania lighting company. The commercial was for “Dot-its,” a small light that can be stuck onto anything. The European commercial made a point to show that the light is battery powered and will not use any electricity. They achieved this by showing many people using the light on-the-go. The U.S. and international commercials even played different music in the background, which can also play a fairly large role in the successfulness of the campaign.

It is extremely important to be aware of international and cultural differences, especially when looking at what will make a successful commercial. Countries have different likes/dislikes, cultural values and forms of communication. A lot of thought must be put into every detail and decision, big or small, to ensure that you are promoting your company’s product in the best way possible.

These videos are products of YouTube.



  1. Nice choice of commercials. It will be interesting to see what Toyota comes up with for their next campaign considering their recent safety issues.

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