Nov 9, 2001

COMMENT: Local views will aid in navigating creative minefield after 9/11

Advertising is clearly playing a significant role in America's

catharsis.



Patriotism (if handled appropriately) is bringing people hope. Agencies

have taken the lead in understanding changing customer opinion, and a

raft of new campaigns have helped Americans adapt to their new

reality.



Equally, Asian agencies need to lead their clients - but where to? For

us, the task is deeply complex. Asia's reaction is multi-faceted,

unexpected and at times perhaps even contradictory to that of the West.

The result is that few clear patterns are emerging about an 'Asian'

viewpoint.



The key to reacting appropriately is to understand that different

countries see the crisis from different points of view. Each sees the

situation through a lens of their own concerns, and brings cultural

assumptions that can be very unexpected.



In much of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, Muslims view the US

bombings in Afghanistan as an attack on them - even if they were

horrified by the attacks on New York and Washington. US brands doubtless

need to develop damage limitation plans, yet asking themselves all the

while: is all what it seems? In Indonesia, for example, many people

believe the anti-US rioters are being paid.



Hong Kong and Singapore, perhaps true to their natures, seem gripped by

the psychological impact of a recession that was already gathering pace

before 9/11.



So what advice can we give to those who want their marketing to be

'appropriate'?



Above all, Westerners and expats need to recognise that for many Asians,

9/11 was not the rude awakening that it was for many of us.



It didn't shatter the Asian sense of security (because few Asian

countries would be direct targets themselves). It didn't alter the Asian

perception of the world geo-political order (because Asia as a trading

bloc and diplomatic entity is much what it was before). It remains

largely, at this point, an economic catastrophe. Our marketing

approaches must be born of this reality. We, as an agency community,

need to understand the implications of the Afghan war from a local point

of view. That involves talking to each other - agencies need to

encourage a frank and uncluttered dialogue to harness local points of

view.



We also need to tailor our messages to address human problems, resulting

from the crisis, from local people's perspectives - but we shouldn't

feel the need to make the new reality a focal point if it does not

belong.



Already, recurrent news images of war and destruction are beginning to

be seen as "boring", and there is a desire for happier, lighter

imagery.



And finally, we must remain constantly alert to hidden messages that

might be conveyed inadvertently. One Indonesian bank is believed to have

recently changed its ad layouts to depict local currency rather than US

dollars. Little matter that Indonesians want to save dollars - the bank

did not want to risk being seen as unpatriotic or too pro-American.



COMMENT: Local views will aid in navigating creative minefield
after 9/11

Advertising is clearly playing a significant role in America's

catharsis.



Patriotism (if handled appropriately) is bringing people hope. Agencies

have taken the lead in understanding changing customer opinion, and a

raft of new campaigns have helped Americans adapt to their new

reality.



Equally, Asian agencies need to lead their clients - but where to? For

us, the task is deeply complex. Asia's reaction is multi-faceted,

unexpected and at times perhaps even contradictory to that of the West.

The result is that few clear patterns are emerging about an 'Asian'

viewpoint.



The key to reacting appropriately is to understand that different

countries see the crisis from different points of view. Each sees the

situation through a lens of their own concerns, and brings cultural

assumptions that can be very unexpected.



In much of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, Muslims view the US

bombings in Afghanistan as an attack on them - even if they were

horrified by the attacks on New York and Washington. US brands doubtless

need to develop damage limitation plans, yet asking themselves all the

while: is all what it seems? In Indonesia, for example, many people

believe the anti-US rioters are being paid.



Hong Kong and Singapore, perhaps true to their natures, seem gripped by

the psychological impact of a recession that was already gathering pace

before 9/11.



So what advice can we give to those who want their marketing to be

'appropriate'?



Above all, Westerners and expats need to recognise that for many Asians,

9/11 was not the rude awakening that it was for many of us.



It didn't shatter the Asian sense of security (because few Asian

countries would be direct targets themselves). It didn't alter the Asian

perception of the world geo-political order (because Asia as a trading

bloc and diplomatic entity is much what it was before). It remains

largely, at this point, an economic catastrophe. Our marketing

approaches must be born of this reality. We, as an agency community,

need to understand the implications of the Afghan war from a local point

of view. That involves talking to each other - agencies need to

encourage a frank and uncluttered dialogue to harness local points of

view.



We also need to tailor our messages to address human problems, resulting

from the crisis, from local people's perspectives - but we shouldn't

feel the need to make the new reality a focal point if it does not

belong.



Already, recurrent news images of war and destruction are beginning to

be seen as "boring", and there is a desire for happier, lighter

imagery.



And finally, we must remain constantly alert to hidden messages that

might be conveyed inadvertently. One Indonesian bank is believed to have

recently changed its ad layouts to depict local currency rather than US

dollars. Little matter that Indonesians want to save dollars - the bank

did not want to risk being seen as unpatriotic or too pro-American.



Source:
Campaign Asia
Tags

Related Articles

Just Published

1 day ago

Asia-Pacific Power List 2024: Edward Bell, Cathay ...

Soaring to new heights, Bell has navigated the turbulence of the past year with finesse. With a return to profits and brand awareness scores climbing by 16%, the airline's ascent is undeniable.

2 days ago

Fresh colours, new fonts: Inside Crunchyroll's rebrand

Merging classic with contemporary, the anime streaming service brings the focus on the fun and joy of anime with new visual assets.

2 days ago

Tech On Me: What Disney's leak tells us about ...

This week, we cover the hack on Disney's internal communications, how a loophole in TikTok is putting minors at risk, and how workers suffer during Amazon's Prime Day among other tech headlines in the region.

2 days ago

Arthur Sadoun on defying doubters, Q2 revenue ...

Publicis CEO talks to Campaign at Q2 results.