Learning The Culture


For any business that is globalised, without a doubt, knows they need to acculturate (Algie 2014) to the countries they are trading in. But every now and again, marketers seemingly forget this or just assume ‘it worked here therefore it shall work there’ – But this is not always the case especially if you don’t check language translations. Below is an example of a situation where marketers didn’t correctly acculturate their marketing communication to the countries they are communicating to:

General Motors Corporation

In the 1960’s, General Motors Corporation starting selling their Nova vehicle in the U.S market. It was successful and so in the 1970’s entered the Latin America market. The sales though weren’t as successful. After a while, General Motors Corporation realised why. Nova, in Spanish, can be written as 2 separate words No Va  which translates in Spanish as “it doesn’t go”. General Motors Corporation instantly changed the name of the vehicle to something that acculturates correctly and sales since improved to be as successful as all other markets they were in (Zullo 2004 & Snopes 2011).

No va.  No va.

The above example is a case of a promotional problem where the intended marketing message wasn’t consistent with the language of the targeted culture due to the product name translating poorly due to the culture’s meanings of those words (Algie 2014).

There are two other types of mistakes you can make in cross-cultural marketing (Algie 2014):

  •  Product problems
  •  Pricing and distribution problems

Product problems simply is the neglection to modify the product’s physical characteristics, appearance and colour etc. to suit local customs and tastes (Algie 2014). Pricing and distribution problems though occur when local economic conditions aren’t addressed to see if things like smaller packaging (lower price per unit), shopping frequency and store size etc. are different in this culture compared to the culture the product/service was originally traded in (Algie 2014).

Whilst the General Motors Corporation example is good to explain the effects of not acculturating to the country you are selling to, this example, which still today is used in marketing textbooks, has since been disproven as an urban myth and never really happened (Snopes 2011). Nevertheless, it shows why you need to learn the culture.

Thank you all for reading my ‘J.G On Consumer Behaviour’ blog. This is the last post after roughly 10 weeks of blogging. Hope you all enjoyed it and learned more about why you shop – the behaviour of consumers.


Algie, J 2014, ‘The Influence Of Culture On CB’ PowerPoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 29 May 2014.

Zullo, A, 2004, World’s Dumbest Crooks: And Other True Tales Of Bloopers, Botches & Blunders, Scholastic Inc., New York.

2011, Don’t Go Here, Snopes, viewed 3rd June 2014, <http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.asp>.

2011, Nova, image, Snopes, viewed 3rd June 2014, <http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.asp>.

Algie, J 2014, ‘The Influence Of Cross-Cultural CB’ PowerPoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 29 May 2014.


All Class…


We all see how our society is defined by ‘social class’ – the division of members of a society into a hierarchy of distinct status classes (Algie 2014). You may belong to the upper class, working class or even the lower class depending on your individual socioeconomic status. You may not realise it but our classification into a particular social class may have a direct impact on our eating and dietary habits.

As the number of social classes can vary due to different types of classification systems, for this blog we are sticking to lower class which we will simply define as ‘lower-income’ individuals. But anyway back to the impact social class has on our eating and dietary habits…

Lower-income neighborhoods frequently lack full-service grocery stores and farmers’ markets where residents can buy a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products (cited in the Food Research and Action Center website 2013). This shows that lower class people are unlikely to have a significant opportunity to purchase healthy and/or essential foods.

But lower-income communities have a greater  availability of fast food restaurants, especially near schools (cited in the Food Research and Action Center website 2013). This is especially concerning as the fast food restaurants take advantage of the lower class through their pricing (i.e. they are inexpensive). Also, children are more likely to enjoy fast food as it is simpler to eat and placing these fast food restaurants near schools also takes advantage of this. It doesn’t really help much with the fight to lower childhood obesity.

And lastly, lower-income youth and adults are exposed to disproportionately more marketing and advertising for obesity-promoting products that encourage the consumption of unhealthful foods and discourage physical activity (cited in the Food Research and Action Center website 2013).

Even though the sourced information in this blog is from the United States of America, as you can see, if you are from the lower class, you are more likely to come into contact with marketing of some form that communicates fast food/unhealthy products. This, in turn, influences our consumer behaviour due to the factors of being a part of the lower class i.e. lower income, housing affordability (and hence location of residence) etc. leading to lower class people being more likely to buy fast food/unhealthy products than upper class people. It simply is all class…


Algie, L 2014, ‘Social Class Influences on CB’ PowerPoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 22 May 2014.

2013, Why Low-Income and Food Insecure People are Vulnerable to Overweight and Obesity, Food Research and Action Center, viewed 27 May 2014, <http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/why-are-low-income-and-food-insecure-people-vulnerable-to-obesity/>.

Mark Lennihan 2009, Fastfood, image, Associated Press, viewed 27 May 2014, <http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2009/03/oxymoron-depart.html>.

Gone Viral


Nowadays, viral marketing is a common term. You are very likely to have heard of it. Whilst it is a common term, it is a relatively new term which has been developed through the recent rise of new media. Viral marketing is any marketing strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to other individuals and usually consists of the combination of word-of-mouth techniques with electronic communication through several types of media channels (Algie 2014). The extensive ‘passing on’ of marketing messages is like how a virus spreads and hence why it is called viral marketing. Whilst it utilizes multiple types of media, it is categorised as a ‘strategic marketing application of word-of-mouth’ (Algie 2014).

In the video above, you see a case study of a very successful viral marketing campaign for ‘The Dark Knight’ film known as ‘Why So Serious?’ – named from one of the quotes by the character The Joker during ‘The Dark Knight’ film. It draws their target audience in by using a engaging storyline with a good use of interactivity to it – allowing their target audience to be ‘a part of the story’. It indeed reached a large portion of their target audience with over 10 million people taking part in the viral marketing campaign at least once.

In viral marketing, motivation to pass on a marketing message to another individual can vary from each person targeted in a viral marketing campaign (Schiffman et al. 2014, p. 300). In the ‘Why So Serious?’ viral marketing campaign, the interactivity and engaging storyline drove the motivation for targeted individuals to continue following and being a part of the story as they found it fun and probably are huge fans of the Batman franchise.

Viral marketing, though, is also one of those few forms of marketing that can have an unintended negative effect where individuals are receiving bad marketing messages of a business from a third-party. Unlike word-of-mouth which would affect businesses whose target audiences are very local, viral marketing of a negative message of a business by a third-party can very easily end up taking place on a global scale. The consequences of this can be very difficult to reverse so marketers would have to be ready to fight any unexpected negative marketing of your business by a third-party. This is marketing as we can now see it today. It has ‘gone viral’.


Algie, L 2014, ‘Social Influences On Consumer Behaviour’ PowerPoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 8 May 2014

Ekalavya Bhattacharya, 2009, Dark Knight – Viral Marketing Campaign, online video, 26 February, YouTube, viewed 13 May 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpuC7HhCPWA&gt;.

Schiffman, L et al. 2014, Consumer Behaviour, 6th edn, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW.

Change That Attitude


Everyone has attitude but for marketers, they focus on your brand attitude. An attitude is a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way with respect to a given object (Algie 2014) – in this case, a brand – thus, brand attitude.

Think of a brand you really like – here you have got a positive brand attitude. Now, think of a brand you don’t prefer – here you have a negative brand attitude. If you compare your brand attitudes with someone else, you might find they have a different brand attitude. Brand attitudes though, can change and it is the job of the marketer to increase or maintain a positive brand attitude – after all, no brand wants a negative brand attitude. This is especially a case after a public relations ‘disaster’.

Below I have given two examples of how two brands help trying to restore their consumer’s brand attitude. The brands – Ford and Holden – are both from the car industry and have a generally positive brand attitude in the community.

Ford Australia

Nearly one year ago, Ford Australia said it will close its Australian manufacturing plants in October 2016, with the loss of hundreds of jobs (2013). This caused a shift in their generally positive brand attitude to a negative brand attitude as a result of this news so Ford Australia immediately begun the work to return it to a positive brand attitude.

Their marketing efforts were very little noticed as they probably decided to continue their marketing campaign as per normal but in October last year, I did notice they made a subtle attempt to make consumers’ change their attitude of Ford Australia back to positive.

It is possible to alter attitudes towards companies and their products by pointing out their relationship to social groups, events or causes (Algie 2014) so about 4 months later, Ford Australia signed a sponsorship deal with last year’s International Fleet Review in Sydney by providing live sites for spectators to watch the ceremonial fleet review, air displays and fireworks & light show spectacular via large screens located around Sydney Harbour.

'Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review Spectacular' Online Video Screenshot

The made an association with the International Fleet Review in their advertising through a Twitter hashtag ‘#FordSalutes’, their own exclusive YouTube broadcast of the event as well as taglines like ‘Proudly Supporting Our Australian Heroes’ and ‘Committed To Australia’. The last tagline is what was there to change consumers’ brand attitudes back to positive after they made the manufacturing plant closures announcement.

Some people did notice what they were trying to do but a majority of the public didn’t and with 250,000 people at their live sites and 2.8 million people viewing their exclusive YouTube broadcast, they certainly achieved their brand attitude strategy.

Holden Australia

A few months later in mid-December, Holden was now in the same situation – Nearly 3,000 Holden workers are set to lose their jobs over the next four years as the iconic manufacturer winds down its Australian manufacturing operations (2014). The brand attitude shift from positive to negative for this brand was even stronger as they were the ‘national’ car manufacturer leaving their own country.

They too immediately begun reversing the shift in consumers’ brand attitude from negative back to positive but unlike Ford, it did not work just as well. In fact, for most people, it made it even worse.

The video above is how Holden responded to the brand attitude shift – the ‘We’re Here To Say’ campaign – but the marketing message they communicated was interpreted the way they intended to as people read it as a clear lie as they are not staying but in fact, leaving. This is true in regards to Holden’s car manufacturing divisions but Holden intended the audience to see that they are staying to sell vehicles and other services in Australia even though their car manufacturing divisions are leaving the country.

Tthe fault in this campaign was that Holden didn’t focus on their vehicle selling divisions etc. – they just focused on the tagline ‘We’re Here To Stay’ and so the audience just instantly related their campaign to the car manufacturing divisions since they were, at the time, recently announced to be leaving Australia in the next 4 years. This also points out another fault – unlike Ford who waited about 4 months to start their campaign, Holden started their campaign immediately.

Holden’s campaign may have backfired on them but it shows the power of advertising in influencing consumers’ brand attitudes. Hopefully with these two examples, you have been able to see what brand attitude is and how marketing can influence your own brand attitude.


Algie, L 2014, ‘Attitudes and Attitude Changes’ powerpoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 1 May 2014

Holden, 2013, We’re Here To Stay, online video, 19 December, YouTube, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XZndLtBfoU&gt;

2013, Ford Australia to close Broadmeadows and Geelong plants, 1,200 jobs to go, Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, weblog post, 23 May 14:01, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-23/ford-to-close-geelong-and-broadmeadows-plants/4707960&gt;.

Imagination 2014, Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review Spectacular, online video screenshot, Vimeo, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://vimeo.com/89403647&gt;.

2013, Holden to cease manufacturing operations in Australia in 2017, Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, weblog post, 14 January 17:37, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-11/holden-to-cease-manufacturing-operations-in-australia-by-2017/5150034&gt;.

Don’t Blink And You’ll Miss It


In the above video, a clear example of subliminal advertising is shown to you. Hopefully, you all were able to test the limits of your own absolute threshold during the video above.

The absolute threshold is ‘the lowest level at which an individual can experience a sensation’ (Algie 2014) and this is what sets the standards and definition of subliminal advertising. From person to person, the absolute threshold can vary as you saw in the above video, some people actually saw the subliminal advertising (I don’t know 2007). Did you? I’m sure you might have spotted the ‘Olay’ subliminal ad as that one is just visible.

Given that in the above video the stimuli you saw was very rapid, there is a chance the people who saw this live sub-consciously developed a perception of those 5 brands – This is called ‘subliminal perception’ (Since there is a reasonable chance you were expecting to see a subliminal ad in the above video, the effect it had on you may be significantly lower).

There is some doubt though among some psychologists as to whether subliminal perception does occur or not. As I mentioned above, you were most likely expecting to see a subliminal ad in that above video so the subliminal perception effect on you may be significantly lower. This is one way the influence of subliminal messages may be affected. They can also be affected by an individual’s threshold levels (as mentioned briefly before), the distance, the control of your position, viewing, the control of your attention and a generalized effect (Algie 2014).

Since there are so many variables on the effect subliminal perception has on you, that is why there is doubt as to whether subliminal perception does occur or not. Extensive research shows that behavioural changes do not occur due to subliminal advertising as well as it not sub-consciously ‘commanding’ you to act upon a subliminal advertising message (Algie 2014). Some evidence though shows affective reactions may be influenced by subliminal advertising (Algie 2014).

Deep inside us we may have an influenced perception of brands due to subliminal advertising but how would we know? That is why subliminal advertising is illegal in some countries. Channel Ten’s ARIA Award coverage may be Australia’s only proven case of subliminal advertising on television but if it still is occurring in other forms of media in Australia, we would need a human with eagle eyes to spot it. But for most of us, we don’t blink and still miss it.


Algie, L 2014, ‘Perception’ powerpoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 3 April 2014

I don’t know, 2007, Aria Awards Subliminal Ads – Media Watch responds, online video, 5 November, YouTube, viewed 7 April 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXcSWTb9zz8>.

Eye Of The Shopper


Consumer behaviour is influenced by many things but nothing influences a consumer more than motivation. I’m sure a lot of you have seen the episode of ‘The Simpsons’ called ‘Scenes From The Class Struggle In Springfield’ (1996). If you can’t remember it, it is the episode where Marge Simpson buys a Chanel dress before using it to impress and fit in with Springfield’s upper class citizens. This episode clearly shows the motivation that consumers can have. If you haven’t seen the episode before: spoiler alert!

Motivation derives from needs…so cue Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs!

Maslow's_Hierarchy_of_NeedsIn the image above (2009), you can see the 5 levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in the pyramid. In the Simpsons episode, we now see Marge Simpson has develop a need for belonging in the upper class citizenry & esteem (through friendship and respect of/by the upper class citizenry) after an old classmate of hers (who is now part of Springfield’s upper class citizenry) taking an interest in her Chanel dress and inviting her to visit the Springfield Country Club. When the original Chanel dress Marge purchased is torn to shreds, her level of arousal reaches a point of intensity that motives her to go buy another Chanel dress in order to maintain that need.


Motives come in two forms: rational and emotional. When consumers select goals based upon objective criteria, they are motivated rationally and when consumers select products/services based upon personal or subjective criteria, they are motivated emotionally (Algie 2014).

Back to the Simpsons episode. At the beginning, we see Lisa and Marge considering whether or not to buya discounted Chanel dress. Marge is considering not to buy it due to her rational motive that not matter how much she wants the Chanel dress, she shouldn’t ‘spoil’ herself with a new dress when the rest of the family don’t have the opportunity to buy what they want. Lisa Simpson then points out that Marge never ‘spoils’ herself and should just buy something she wants for once (see image below):


This motives Marge emotionally and she decides to purchase the Chanel dress on personal/subjective criteria which in this case would include her opinion, fashion sense, financial criteria (affordability) and value determination (value for money).

Hopefully this example of consumer motivation through The Simpsons shows you how you are motivated to purchase something and what types of motivations lead you to making a purchase or not. So if you got the motivation to buy something, you’ll see it – it’s all in the eye of the shopper.


‘The Simpsons: Scenes From The Class Struggle In Springfield’, 04/02/1996, DVD, 20th Century Fox

2009, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, pyramid depicting the 5 levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Wikipedia, viewed 4 April 2014, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Maslow%27s_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg.

Algie, L 2014, ‘Consumer Needs and Motivation, Personality and Self-Concept’ powerpoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 27 March 2014

IKEA: Subliminal Shopping


I am good at reading/viewing atlases, maps and satellite images in order to figure out where I am plus I am also good at figuring out how to get to somewhere easily without these resources but there is one thing that I haven’t done that would prove once and for all that I have these talents and that is…

…visiting an IKEA store.

I have heard about how you can get lost easily in IKEA after you start impulse purchasing – but this is no accident, it was meant to happen! Why? Because IKEA uses their retail environment in combination with your mood & behaviour to keep you shopping in their store.

The four factors of your behaviour (time in store, money spent, decision process, exploration) (Algie 2014) begin as you enter the store – you know the immense size of the store so you plan to limit the time and money you spend inside whilst avoiding making purchase decisions yet you want to explore IKEA (something you can’t avoid at the beginning). Your mood is defined as ‘low arousal’ at the beginning since you are avoiding purchase decisions yet you have pleasure in IKEA (Algie 2014). The retail environment (Algie 2014) of IKEA then subliminally ‘warps’ your sense of direction and shopping resistance but how?

The music, odours, lighting and temperature of the store drifts you into the dreams of your perfect home and your mood is now ‘high arousal’ (Algie 2014). The size and design of an IKEA store prevents you from seeing outside or any possible reference points to guide your way around and the maps IKEA provide don’t seem to help much either due to their simplistic design so when you wake up from your perfect home daydream…you are lost and somehow now the holder of a full trolley.

Without realising your behaviour has changed subliminally – you’re now over your time and financial limit, made too many purchase decisions in IKEA’s favour but yet you now don’t want to explore anymore – you want to get out. The crowding of IKEA’s retail environment doesn’t help too and so your mood heads straight back to ‘low arousal’ and you shift to displeasure (Algie 2014).

You will eventually find the exit…a few hours later and leave with everything you dreamt of but didn’t intend to spend on. There is a quick way out of IKEA but for now it seems only possible during a store evacuation – ‘More than 2000 people have been evacuated from IKEA in Tempe due to a fire in the shop’s loading dock’ (Hoh 2014).

To finish this blog for the week, here is an IKEA-based spoof of the trailer for the movie ‘Gravity’ made by 9GAG.TV which pretty much shows what I have just explained through it’s humorous narrative:


IKEA, 2013, 2013 IKEA Retailing Facts & Figures, online video, 16 October, YouTube, viewed 25 March 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM7omxXUyYk.

Algie, L 2014, ‘Consumer Decision Making’ powerpoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 20 March 2014

Hoh, A 2014, ‘IKEA store in Tempe evacuated after fire’, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 February, viewed 25 March, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/ikea-store-in-tempe-evacuated-after-fire-20140203-31wjj.html.

9GAG.TV, 2013, Lost In IKEA Might Be Worse Than Getting Lost In Space, online video, 25 November, YouTube, viewed 25 March 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1BzqFMQKio.