Brand Marketing Search Engine

Monday, December 04, 2006

Brand culture failures: Hallmark in France

Hallmark greeting cards have proven immensely popular in both the UK and the United States. Catering for every special occasion – from birthdays to weddings and from Mother’s Day to passing your driving test – the cards are sent by thousands of people every single day of the year.

The signature (or ‘hallmark’) of Hallmark cards is the ‘special message’. The advantage of buying from Hallmark is that you don’t have to think about what to write – it is usually all written for you. ‘Thank you for being such a special daughter.’ ‘These birthday wishes are especially for you,’ and so on, normally followed by a rather sentimental poem inside.

While this formula may be successful in many countries, it has not proved universal. For instance, when Hallmark tried to introduce their cards in France, no-one bought them as people preferred to write in the cards themselves. Furthermore, the syrupy sentiment inherent within the preprinted messages did not appeal to the Gallic taste. After a few months Hallmark admitted defeat and withdrew its brand.

Lesson from Hallmark

Brands need to acknowledge cultural differences. Very few brands have been able to be transferred into different cultures without changes to their formula. Even Coca-Cola and McDonald’s vary their products for different markets.

Translation troubles

Often the problems inherent in international markets relate to translation trouble. The language of commerce may be one which everyone understands, but many businesses have made massive branding mistakes when trying to replicate the success of their advertising campaigns in markets where their native tongue isn’t spoken. Outlined below are just some of the biggest faux pas that have occurred through international marketing.

1 comment:

quynh nga said...

Thank you so very much for posting this intersting article. I am graduate student majoring in Marketing and this lesson is really helpful.