You are on page 1of 85

Thesis Report Submitted to:

By: Megha Gupta PGDPC XV 15-415


Vernacular Advertising


The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime. Its always a team- whether supporting you internally or motivating you from outside, working together and achieving the objective in real sense. And hence, I would like to extend my warm gratitude towards the people who helped me grow and supported me in my thick & thin. I would like to give a word of gratitude to Prof. Ramola Kumar, Dean, The Delhi School of Communication, New Delhi for providing the opportunity to work on this intriguing project and for her constructive criticism during project evaluation, which helped me to make necessary improvements. Thanks are due to Miss Rupanjali Lahiri, Miss Sony and Miss Piyali for all their assistance and reminders which helped me in completing my project on time. I am deeply indebted to all those who gave their valuable inputs in my primary research and guided me towards a conclusion. Finally, my greatest regards to the Almighty for bestowing upon me the courage to face the complexities of life and complete this project successfully. At last but not the least I would like to thank my family for everything Ive achieved till date.


Table of Content S.No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Topic A-B-C of Vernacular Advertising Current Scenario of Vernacular Advertising Vernacular Content in India Bi-lingual Advertising in a Multi-lingual Country Identity constructions in multilingual advertising Vernacular advertising: Are we doing it wrong? Advertising in the vernacular: global speak v/s local is lekker? Straight from the horses mouth A Step Ahead Advertising decision making in Asia: "Glocal" versus "Regcal" approach Response , Analysis & Conclusion Questionnaire Page no. 5-7 8-12 13-29 30-36 37-38 39-45 46-56 57-64 65-66 67-74 75-88 89-91


A-B-C of Vernacular Advertising

Just like Vernacular Literature is literature written in the vernacular- the speech of the "common people", Vernacular Advertising means using a local language or dialect native to a region or country rather than a literary, cultured, or foreign language. It aims at companys goal of getting in touch with their desired target audience by using the local language of that particular country or state to ensure a better and a long lasting impression. The world is now becoming a global market for an ever-increasing and varied number of companies with a common aim: to sell their products to as many consumers as possible. However, the globalization of the market also means that companies nowadays are addressing an incredibly varied target, with many different languages and, more importantly, cultures. International advertising in the 21st century is not about ignoring or overriding cultural differences, but about understanding, accommodating and harnessing them in the service of global brand building.

Vernacular advertising includes: - A sign of progress - Don't just talk, engage - Speaking to the target audience: Ads are generally an intrusion in one's life, so I believe the approach to creating work should be as simple as what audiences want to see, don't be the interruption. And one of the ways to achieve this is by packaging our messages in a way our audiences just might want to engage with - Honda's live TV ad, Cadbury's Gorilla, etc. - Tap in, tune in: There are many insights in any country that we can tap into to help us create relevant and memorable advertisements that not only solve our clients' business problems but deliver in the creative stakes. Insights that maybe we've become desensitized to but the world is probably waiting to lap up and it's high time we took bigger advantage of that.

There are many insights in this country that we can tap into to help us create relevant and memorable advertisements that not only solve our clients' business problems but deliver in the creative stakes. Insights that maybe we've become desensitized to but the world is probably waiting to lap up and I believe it's high time we took bigger advantage of that, from a relevance

and effectiveness point of view, is a godsend in a time where budgets are tight and advertising is being called upon to become more accountable as a business solution. Perhaps, what we see as obvious does not work. When I talk about vernacular advertising, it is just not traditional radio advertising that I am aiming to discuss. There is some conventional thinking which suggests that radio (due to its specific reach) is primed for advertising in the vernacular, and the common assumption is that vernacular radio advertising makes sense and works in harmony to promote better brand value. Unfortunately, radio spend still constitutes a very small piece of the media pie when TV is added into the mix.



Vernacular Content market in India


A brief overview

India poses a unique challenge in terms of diversity in languages spoken. There are 22 constitutionally approved languages spoken in India and over 1600 regional dialects. Even though Hindi is the official language, many people in India do not speak it at all. Almost every state in India has more than one dialect. Most languages have their own script. This diversity in languages spoken across the length and breadth of India indicates that Indian language content/technology is not synonymous with any one language. There is a need for promoting different languages across regions in order to reach out to the masses. Understanding of the language diversity is not complete without an understanding of the potential of these languages.

10 | P a g e

Out of the total literate population in India, 37% are English literate in urban areas and 17% in rural. The remaining (i.e.63% in urban areas and 83% in rural) are not familiar with English. This
11 | P a g e

population is spread across different socioeconomic classes and speaks and read different languages. Their non familiarity with English has alienated them from using technology tools such as Internet and mobiles. This opens an opportunity for vernacular content to increase and tap the non-English knowing literate people.

...mistake one would make, is in equating India as a localized market to another localized market, say Russia, or China, or even Brazil. The dynamics are completely different, and in that perspective, India is pretty much unique. The only geography that comes even close to what India is would be the European Union...

- A localisation expert with a Large Software Company

12 | P a g e

Pattern of Print Vernacular Content Consumption in India

Traditional media have been successful in generating a mass appeal by offering content in Indian languages They have recognized the potential of Indian language content as a tool to reach out to the masses and increase their user base. In fact the popularity of these languages is so high that they surpass the user base of English. If we take into account the top magazines read in India the list includes only one weekly magazine in English. The others are all in vernacular language. The Hindi television channels have achieved exceptional success compared to their English counterparts. For example, Star TV, which came to India as an English channel has now slowly converted into a completely Hindi one. The preference of Vernacular over English or any other foreign language is clearly depicted by the table that follows:

13 | P a g e

Not only Hindi newspapers, but other regional language newspapers such as Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali have surpassed English newspapers in terms of readership. No English

14 | P a g e

newspaper has been able to match the subscriber base of the regional dailies. Apart from content another success mantra of these top newspapers is the huge user base in India.

Vernacular Content Consumption in Radio and Television

Television seems to be the most evolved medium of communication and access in India, in recent times. Various organisations and public institutions that intend to communicate their messages to individuals have used this
15 | P a g e

medium effectively. Similarly, seekers of information and entertainment have always tended to use television as one of their preferred sources. Radio has enjoyed a similar success, albeit in limited ways. Historically, radio is the one of the oldest form, of mass communication in India. The spread of this medium is wide and all-inclusive. Radio is popularly known as the most personal of all media. It seeks to reach the individuals and not the masses. Although in existence for a long time and expanding to all sections of our society, Radios role in including different formats of content has been quite recent.

In 1990s, due to liberalisation, India witnessed introduction of satellite television. Gradually channels were introduced and by 1996 there were more than 60 television channels. Presently, there are more than 300 channels available for viewing on television in India. The striking development during these years has been the audiences clear choice of watching regional and local content than foreign content. The number of hours of television programming produced in

16 | P a g e

India increased 500% from 1991 to 1996. From 1996, this number has been growing at even faster rate. Following such demands, television content is increasingly being provided that has local information such as local community news, prices of agricultural produce for farmers, climate, and local entertainment programs. Such content is being provided in languages and dialects the locals are familiar with. As a result, there has been spurt in regional and localised content on the television.

17 | P a g e

Radio, due to its earliest introduction in our society, has primarily focussed on localised and regional content for quite some time. This is evident from the fact that AIR has 215 broadcasting centres covering almost 100% of the Indias population. Liberalisation policies in this medium have been a gradual occurrence. These policies have been initiated since 1999 where in the government decided to privatise the FM radio sector. Recent policies (in 2003 and 2005) have allowed operators to air diverse program formats and have also eased up regulations to include radio programs aired by not-for-profit organisations such as universities and civil society organisations. The radio industry is projected to grow to INR 17 Billion by 2011. The most common factors in widespread deployment of the above medium are spurt in consumption and provision of local and regional content as well as liberalised initiatives by government. Audience groups in India are varied in characteristics due to demanding and contextualised patterns of communication. It has been well described in previous sections that Indias language characteristics are extremely varied as can be found anywhere else around the globe. Further, these groups are located in different geographical conditions as well. They also belong to different socioeconomic classes causing a different perspective and outlook of the society. Television and radio have recognised these and are responding to such demands. The content on these mediums, as a result, are regional and localised in deliveries resulting in high penetration. Internet can take cues from such development and gear its content towards these specialised
18 | P a g e

markets if it expects to increase its penetration rates in the country. It is with this premise the current report explores the viability of regional content over the Internet.

Regional content consumption

19 | P a g e

Mass Entertainment Hindi and regional language channels attract almost 80% of the total TV viewership in India. Not only this, even the Hollywood films are dubbed in Hindi and other regional languages to tap into the maximum potential market. In addition, a deciding aspect in ensuring widespread penetration of television has been the fact that the government in the past ensured that they provide regional and multi-lingual content through state-sponsored television channels. Television ownership has been increasing in the past few years. Penetration of television stands at more than 50% on a national basis as per recent National Readership Survey (2006). In urban households, this penetration is at 75% and in rural areas the penetration is at nearly 40%. In sum, for television, content and infrastructure has played an important role in ensuring high percent of penetration in the country. Penetration of Internet and its services, similarly, can be provided a fillip by providing appropriate infrastructure and relevant content to citizens of the country.

20 | P a g e

Consumption of Vernacular Content over the Internet

The consumption of content available over the Internet is quite restrictive in nature. The table, besides, illustrates various applications used in vernacular language by active Internet users. In spite of the high popularity of Indian languages in the traditional media these languages do not show a significant performance when it comes to the World Wide Web. Email and News are the top 2 applications used in Indian languages.

21 | P a g e

Consumption of Indian language content is high among the Internet users in the Non Metros. The town class wise growth of the Internet users in India shows that even the smaller cities are seeing
22 | P a g e

an influx of Internet users. People in the non metros have a higher propensity towards using local languages in their daily lives as compared to their counterparts in the Top Metros. This growth coming from non-metros is a good sign for the Indian language content over the Internet as the need for Indian languages increase with increase in the number of internet users from non metros. As evident from the graph, the geographical market for online vernacular content is largely concentrated in the Non Metros. While at an overall level 45% of the Indian-language aware people translate into actual users the conversion is higher in the Small Metros and cities with less than 5 lakh population. Out of every 10 Indian-language aware users in these cities 6 people have translated into actual users. Even though the awareness of online vernacular content is over 80% in the Top 4 metros the awareness to usage ratio is lowest in these cities.

23 | P a g e

Although most of the Internet users in India are familiar with more than one language, it is only that users in smaller cities are avid users of applications and services offered in local language. The table below enumerates applications utilized in various town-class.

All applications have a higher usage in the cities beyond the Top 8 Metros. These cities are witnessing a high growth of Internet users; resulting into higher demand for Indian language
24 | P a g e

content over the Internet. Email is the most used application across all cities. However there is a marked difference between the usage of Indian language email and across cities. Online news, followed by Text chat is the next sought after application in Indic language. The awareness v/s usage is low for applications like Online ticket bookings, Online banking, Online job search and Matrimony. Less than 3 % of the people who are aware of these Indic applications translate into users of these contents. Usage of search engines in Hindi is driven by the relevance of the content searched.

25 | P a g e

Bi-lingual Advertising in a Multi-lingual Country

Code-Mixing in Indian Language Advertisements

In the Indian subcontinent, there is a large consumer base for which English is not the dominant language. Advertisements targeted at this population frequently incorporate English words, in Bangladesh (Banu and Sussex , 2001) and India (Bhatia, 1987, 1992, 2001, 2006; Bhatia and Ritchie, 2004). Figure 1 is an advertisement for a medication. The text is predominantly Hindi written in the Devanagari script but English words, such as tablet, cough, and fighter, occur written in Devanagari. In addition, the product name, Kuka, appears on the bottle and box in the Roman script.

26 | P a g e

As is the case with bilingual advertisements in the Expanding Circle, this advertisement uses English words to convey a modern impression. However, as Bhatia (1992) points out, this mixing is not confined to English for Indian languages are relatively open and borrow from other languages, including non-Indian languages. Hindi, for example, permits mixing from three languages Sanskrit, Persian, and English.
27 | P a g e

Code-Mixing in English Advertisements

The second type of consumer base reads material in English but also knows an additional Indian language. Advertisements here have to walk a fine line between incorporating Indian languages and avoiding the stigma of poor language. However, the past decade has seen an increasing use of bilingual advertising in India. Figure 2 shows the slogan from a lifestyle product.

Code-mixed Slogan: Hungry kya? Literal translation: Hungry are you? Meaning: Are you hungry?
28 | P a g e

Here are some features of this slogan: Code-mixing. Two languages have been mixed within a single slogan. Hungry is an English word, whereas kya is Hindi. Matrix Language. The matrix language is Hindi, with English words inserted. This can be deduced from the word order, which follows Hindi word order, SOV. Script. The slogan is written in the Roman script. Lack of italics. Foreign words are usually written in italics but neither of the words in this advertisement is italicized. This slogan is only an illustration; in the section following further examples of such code-mixing in English advertisements have been listed.

Degrees of Code-Mixing in English Advertisements

Code-mixing between English and Hindi has become a common advertising strategy in India. More than 900 advertisements were examined from the following categories: beverages (100), household products (109), food (63), household durables (262), business products (76), and

29 | P a g e

media (303). With the exception of advertisements for business products, most of the advertisements in the remaining categories used code-mixed slogans. English matrix with Hindi words: The matrix language is English with Hindi words inserted in the Roman script. There are very few examples in this category.

Example: Ford sells the Ikon car as The Josh Machine (The powerful machine).

Hindi matrix with English words: The matrix language is Hindi with English words inserted; however, the entire slogan is written in the Roman script and no words are italicized. This is, by far, the most common type of slogan.

Examples: Tata tea : Taste kaamyabi ka! Coca-Cola: Life ho to aisi! Pepsi: Yeh dil mange more Revive starch: Super kadak Haldirams: Taste mein naya twist
30 | P a g e

Harvest Gold Bread: Bakwaas advertising, First class bread Kissan Ketchup: Just lagao. Kuch bhi khao Radio City 91 FM: Relax ho jao. City mein kho jao Radio Mirchi: Doosri ladki pe maari line, Girlfriend boli "I am fine". Mirchi sunnewaale, always khush Nestle: Taste bhi health bhi Nature Fresh oil: Khao light, Jiyo life! Himani honey: Yehi Asli Honey LG refrigerators: Life jum jaaye: Raho healthy, Badho jaldi Godrej washing machines: Banaye Life Haseen

Code-mixing between English and Indian languages has become a common advertising strategy in India. As Bhatia points out, Indian languages are open and borrow words from other languages, including non-Indian languages, and we now see a similar trend in English advertisements in India.

31 | P a g e

As the examples in this paper show, code-mixing in English advertisements is highly creative and not a sign of linguistic deficiency. Code-mixing is a marketing strategy that appeals to urban youth in metropolitan cities by using the language they usea mixture of English and Hindi. For sociolinguists, the shifts in bilingual advertising may provide a more accurate picture of language use than we get from educational and government policies.

32 | P a g e

Vernacular advertising: Are we doing it wrong?

The topic is a bit controversial and a lot of people might not agree (even if they are bereft of a proof) with what follows. Although, there have been opinions and articles promoting Vernacular advertising but are they just a surface study of a much deeper concept? The topic is highly politicised and - depending on the reader it is bound to be branded either a complete trash or a well reasoned opinion.

In her 2005 Marketing Web article, head of the language laboratory at the Vega School of Brand Communication, Noluthando Xate wrote: "It's an established fact that consumers respond better to communication in their mother tongues." There are over a 100 such articles, all expounding the importance of mother tongue communication, all citing the mushrooming number of vernacular print publications, all citing the staggering listenership radio commands (which, by the way, is actually in decline), all quoting uTatu Mandela and his famous, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language it goes to his heart".

33 | P a g e

Well, anyone can understand the logic behind this sentiment. People do feel a stronger affinity to those who speak their language. People like to stop and eat at a place offering their food in a completely foreign location. How about gol gappas in Malaysia? You feel a profound sense of belonging and delight when someone greet you with "Namaste" and people respond back with "Namaskar". But this often does not translate well in a commercial context. I do not find telemarketers any less irritating when they speak to me in my own language. I don't find their "great deals", "exclusive packages" and "today only" offers any more persuasive because they are delivered in my region. It depends on what you're selling; which, in the advertising context, means it depends on the idea. Idea trumps language Let's examine some consequences of an over-emphasis on language: Fuelling Translation If people respond better to communication in their own language, simply translating an English concept into a vernacular language should have the desired effect, right? Translating an English
34 | P a g e

concept into Hindi or any other regional language for that matter should be as good as building a better mouse trap. The disclaimer often used to negate the possibility of translation is that "ad campaigns often use nuance and wordplay and when this is translated the subtleties of the language tend to get lost in translation". This is simply not true. I cannot think of an ad in recent memory that has suffered a bad translation job. The industry is so hyper aware of this potential pitfall that, over the past two years, translations have been immaculate. Translators are brought in from the word go, and the new catch phrase is "translating concepts, not words". A lot of articles follow this line of thinking; praising bad ideas for delivering bad concepts in a certain language. If the idea doesn't matter - if all that matters is an effort to look politically correct by producing ads in vernacular - than it's a tacit approval for ads to be translated. Boxing in Creative This is the point where this can create major conflicts in opinions. But putting emotion aside - can we accept that sometimes it's possible to get a really good concept aimed at people in a "foreign" language? In this current climate, any popular or not so popular advertisement campaign would
35 | P a g e

probably have been translated in Tamil, Telugu or Gujarati with the language Subtitles. It gets ridiculous, but that's what you get when you prioritise language over idea. Conversely, by asserting that people respond better to communication in their OWN language, we consign vernacular communication to only those brands that speak to the region specific. Currently, when targeting Indians, the default language is English or Hindi. Since majority of the foreign brands are already investing so much on campaigns, it's unlikely we'll see a vernacular ad for a Blackberry, BMW or the Westcliff Hotel, because of course, the majority of that population will respond better to communication in their own language English, Hindi or Regional. Boxing in Regional Creatives Because of this emphasis on language, many regional copywriters are hired based on their ability to write in the vernacular and not on their ability to develop creative ideas. They are hired as glorified translators - excluded from certain projects, their non vernacular ideas dismissed and disregarded; their vernacular executions bought because they are not fully understood.

36 | P a g e

And, of course, if mother tongue communication is so important, we need to reach the largest sector of people in their mother tongue. Since we are unlikely to have 11 TV executions on air, the regional writer is unlikely to ever see his mother-tongue work on television. So what is the essence of this? Let's brief in the right ideas not the right language Unless we're talking to a region specific or going on AIR radio, let's ask for relevant ideas and not vernacular executions. When we agree that a concept is right, let's not debate language Let's not bomb a script because it's not in vernacular or English or French or Spanish ... if it works. Let's go ahead with that without trying to bring changes which might spoil or kill the idea completely Lets consider the brand history, personality and tone of voice There's something disingenuous about L'Oreal Paris speaking in Haryanvi versus an Indian favourite; especially when there has been no effort to "regionalise" the idea.
37 | P a g e

Let's get real about the issues In his 2009 article titled "Vernacular advertising comes into its own", copywriter at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Kamogelo Sesing "wonders" how the Asian and Latin American countries get it right at Cannes every year with work done in their native tongue. The answer's pretty simple: Could it be because they've got Asian and Latin American mother tongue copy writers working in their agencies? If we agree that there is a paucity of good vernacular work in India; if we are worried about English hegemony and losing the diversity that makes us a rainbow nation; maybe we should have agencies that look more like "rainbow agencies". We hide behind mother tongue communication, asking for more vernacular work when what we really want to say is that we want a representative industry. It seems to me we're a bit scared of stating the obvious and justify the need for transformation with spin about the importance of reaching people in their own language. A more representative industry will naturally result in more mother-tongue communication, with no forced fake translations.

38 | P a g e

Tackle the issue not the symptom. As discussed above, by creating a furore over mother-tongue communication specifically, we've actually created more problems for ourselves. Let's stop having special' awards for vernacular advertising It smacks of the disabled Olympics. The Gold award for the SABC New Voice Award for nonEnglish Radio this year went to Draftfcb Johannesburg for the Vodacom campaign "Bua FM Part 2". According to Biz-Community, the campaign was also a winner in the "main" Radio category, whatever that means. The fact that this year's new voice winner was also awarded in the "main" category illustrates the redundancy of the new voice award as a whole. If you have listened to the Doom commercial that won last year's award, you too might find it as brilliant. Why was it judged as the best of the vernacular ads? What does this mean? Why it was not judged on the strength of its concept beyond language?

39 | P a g e

Advertising in the vernacular: global speak v/s local is lekker*?

*local is lekker popular slogan promoting South African culture, produce, etc which otherwise means pleasing or enjoyable.

The easy answer would perhaps be yes: when consumers watch, read or listen to a commercial, they want the communication to be in their home language. The answer is not all that simple, however, and there is no magic formula... Taking a step back and reflecting on the past few years it is undeniable that a plethora of media avenues have suddenly mushroomed, these have created a dizzying myriad of options available to the average marketer and offers a bouquet of interesting alternatives, including among others, mobile marketing, branded taxis and busses, road shows, social network sites and the large untapped potential of more conventional internet avenues.

However, has anyone given any thought to the language they use in their adverts? There is some conventional thinking which suggests that radio (due to its specific reach) is primed for advertising in the vernacular, and the common assumption is that vernacular radio advertising makes sense and works in harmony to promote better brand value.

40 | P a g e

Unfortunately, radio spend still constitutes a very small piece of the media pie when TV is added into the mix. As such this paper aims to explore the value of using vernacular advertising in TV adverts... Specifically exploring whether or not consumers can recall vernacular ads, if so which are top of mind and as a secondary objective looking at drawing conclusions as to whether or not vernacular advertising aids relevance, brand appeal, persuasion and understanding.

Let us have a closer look at it with a study based in South Africa!

41 | P a g e

Two-phase study

Embarking on the journey to discover how important language actually is, two phases of research were conducted.

The first, in August 2008, was a qualitative phase which consisted of five two-hour focus groups comprising one English, one Afrikaans, one Zulu, one Xhosa and one mixed black vernacular (Venda, Sesotho, Tswana). Respondents aged 25-35 were recruited and groups were mixed male and female. The limited number of groups was a result of limited budget; however a spread across language, gender and race was achieved and as such the findings are valid in terms of "formative" research (i.e. the findings were used to inform the design of the quantitative study). These findings also helped to gain a better understanding of the quantitative results as well as helped explain quantitative findings.

The second phase was a quantitative ad hoc study in which 400 consumers spanning LSM A and LSM B, 18+; male and female in the greater Gauteng were interviewed. [LSM: Living Standard Measure]

42 | P a g e

It is also important to note up front that language is merely one piece of the creative pie and that many other elements drive overall resonance (music, character selection, cultural references etc), as such this research offers only a topline view into vernacular advertising and in all likelihood this topic could be explored further.

So what did the research uncover - just how important is language?

Overall the answer is not all that simple. Consumers found it difficult to separate their views around vernacular programming and vernacular advertising. Qualitatively, African language respondents singled out the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) as doing much to accommodate all 11 languages on television, and news was cited as a prime positive example. Furthermore, a sense of justice prevailed in these groups about language issues on TV because everyone is paying the same TV license fee.

Some responses included: What comes to mind is that there is provision for all the languages in the country and as we all get to pay the same license fees, people are getting what their money is worth, especially in terms of addressing all the languages, LSM A: Zulu-speaking.
43 | P a g e

I think that they are trying; there are more languages that are used now, although the time is limited. They probably will increase the slots as time goes on, LSM B: Xhosa-speaking.

Yes there is Swati and Ndebele now; they are trying to accommodate everyone, LSM B: Ngunispeaking.

However, the other side of the coin does not look as shiny: Afrikaans respondents felt particularly disenchanted about the diminishing levels of their language on television these days and find that both African languages and English are becoming more and more dominant. Both English- and Afrikaans-speaking respondents felt that there was little justice in paying television license fees as there is little for these language groups to watch.

I think that paying TV licenses is ridiculous because I cannot understand 90% of the stuff that they show on those (channels)you cannot really watch anything else because it's normally all other languages, LSM A: English-speaking.

44 | P a g e

Exciting discovery

Whilst the grumblings about program selection continued throughout the groups for both Afrikaans- and English-speaking respondents, there was an exciting discovery to be made around the resonance of vernacular advertising amongst consumers in general

When respondents were questioned about whether or not they could remember TV ads in their home language, top of mind vernacular advertising was almost non-existent.

I don't think there are any Afrikaans ads, I haven't seen one yet. LSM A: Afrikaans-speaking.

One normally sees only English ads, one is so used to seeing English advertisements . That one can't actually think of an Afrikaans advertisement, LSM A: Afrikaans-speaking.

Non-existent to me, LSM A: Nguni-speaking.

I don't have any in my language, LSM B: Nguni-speaking.

45 | P a g e

It did emerge that perhaps consumers found it difficult to remember the language used in advertisements, as many advertisements use a mixture of English and vernacular advertising, or use township slang.

There are so many ads with African people but they are in English now, LSM A: Nguni-speaking.

I like it, it carries a lot of township style, you cannot it is Zulu or Sotho. It is a crossover thing, LSM A: Nguni-speaking.

An eclectic mix

When a few respondents did mention ads top of mind, these executions were not completely in the vernacular, but were rather an eclectic mix of languages.

If I'm not mistaken there was a Hilux advertisement with two guys, a white guy and a African guy, and when they had to change tyres, and he has the African guy from the back of the bakkie sit in the front of the bakkie, and when they got a flat they had to change the tyre, and when they had business they changed the sticker on the side of the bakkie, so when they go out to a white
46 | P a g e

guy, or a African guy, LSM A: Afrikaans-speaking.

She spoke about that one of the ice just now, and I actually forgot about that Klipdrift one, that was one, you know, that type of advertisement, because it is quite Afrikaans, they should produce more advertisements like that, that is what I would say, LSM A: Afrikaans-speaking.

Quantitatively, the results are not very different, with only 46% of LSM A consumers able to recall that they have seen vernacular advertising, but when asked to verify these ads, almost half could not remember what ads they had seen. Vernacular ads that did manage to break through the proverbial clutter include, amongst others, KFC (30%), Cell C (17%) and Chicken Licken (22%).

A similar picture can be seen in LSM B, where half (50%) of respondents remembered seeing ads in the vernacular. The vast difference here however, is that almost everyone who remembered an ad could recall what brand the ad was for (87% could recall what brand advertised in the vernacular).

In LSM B, the list of brands that consumers could remember stretch a little further than the ones cited in LSM A. These include, amongst others, KFC (46%), Cell C (19%), Chicken Licken (18%),
47 | P a g e

OMO (14%), Vodacom (14%), Domestos (14%), Dawn (11%), Nedbank (10%) and Vaseline (10%).

The language used must relate to the target

With such little recall, are vernacular ads all that important then? What do they in fact add to overall brand perceptions? The answer? A lot and then nothing

Looking at a lot': generally LSM B consumers feel that ads in the vernacular are more appealing (67% agree), relevant (77% agree) and persuasive (62% agree). However this means nothing if advertisers do not get the cultural mix and the language nuances right:

The Xhosa must relate to someone that you are targeting, speak the township Xhosa. If you are selling All Star tekkies and you speak Xhosa, speak the Xhosa that I can relate to the Tsotsi language, LSM B: Nguni-speaking.

Again, the script should be originally in that language, don't try and bring an English script and then translate it. You should have the script in Zulu originally, because you find a lot of things that
48 | P a g e

come out in English and they try to translate it to Zulu and it doesn't have the impact that it is supposed to have, LSM A: Nguni-speaking.

I think also they need to try and understand the people that they are talking to. If they want to talk to Tswanas, they must first understand the culture of Tswanas and how best to portray that, LSM B: Nguni-speaking.

A shopping list, but no magic formula

LSM A consumers are mostly indifferent to vernacular advertising, with no clear feelings either way. Whilst some consumers agree that vernacular advertising is more appealing (48%) and relevant (54%) the majority of consumers are not persuaded to purchase brands based on language alone. Some 72% actually disagree that language will drive their purchase decisions.

Everyone does however, unanimously agree that English ads are equally as good as advertising in the vernacular (65% of LSM B consumers agree with this message as do 78% of LSM A consumers).

49 | P a g e

So what can advertisers and marketers do to ensure that their brands really benefit from vernacular advertising? Ticking off as many of the following might help:

Don't translate from English, create proper vernacular scripts instead Use the right dialect Simple language is best - don't confuse consumers Use the right characters And make it catchy/entertaining

The above is certainly a shopping list of elements that one would need to consider, but unfortunately there are no hard-and-fast rules creating powerful ads. There is no magic formula and as such marketers will need to continue testing and refining concepts to ensure they resonate with consumers.

50 | P a g e

Straight from the horses mouth

A question on Vernacular Communication was posted on a Social Networking Site by an expert. The excerpts are as follows:

51 | P a g e

52 | P a g e

53 | P a g e

54 | P a g e

55 | P a g e

56 | P a g e

The opinions of experts on a much debated topic further underscore the ambiguity around it. Although, the outlook is quite subjective, but there are firm believers as well.

Speak the local language

One sensitive approach to international image is employed by J.P. Morgan: It runs its overseas advertising in the language of the country in which the ad appears. Though research shows that better than 90 percent of their primary target audiences in Europe read and understand English, Morgan has preferred to talk to a French CEO in French, a German Controller in German, an Italian businesswoman in Italian, and so forth. The company feels this emphasis the indigenous nature of Morgan offices abroad while also underscoring the banks internationally. Bruce Roberts, former Morgan Vice President, said, We set out to maintain consistency in the graphic appearance of all our ads, including those run overseas. When we prepared an ad to announce the opening of a new office or move to a new

57 | P a g e

location, the corporate format was used. And when an office in a particular country needed an ad to describe its capabilities in that market, it was designed to bear the distinctive Morgan look. A single basic format, in the proper language and context, respects local needs and says, This is a J.P. Morgan message.

58 | P a g e

A step ahead

New Multilingual Advertising Portal Launched Until now there have been many advertisement portals in almost every country and language and there have been many portals in English is the first multilingual portal with built in translation support where the advertiser post his/her advertisement in local native language and then can select a number of target languages to have it posted in. This unique added value will make it possible for everybody to buy and sell domestically and globally without multilingual competence. eliminates the language barriers that exist today. About is a unique web-advertising portal, which offers everything what other web portals of this kind do. So what makes the unique then? has an exclusive added value - a cost effective translation support for all posted advertisements. Thanks to this extraordinary service your advertisement or a message might be posted, viewed and understood in as many languages as you, as an advertiser select.

59 | P a g e

But the question which arises is that a mere translation of an advertisement would do justice to its creative or its planted idea? Well, the answer still remains yes or may be no!

60 | P a g e

Advertising decision making in Asia: "Glocal" versus "Regcal" approach

The concept of "Glocalization" started with the realization that Asia was not 'westernizing' but in fact was 'modernizing'. The key to modernization of consumer markets is their ability to adapt incoming influences and blend them into the fabric of their identity, not adopt the foreign influence wholesale. Glocalization is much more than the simplistic "think global, act local" but requires identifying the degree to which needs and the stimuli which trigger them are universal or local (World Executives' Digest, February 1997). Due to higher income and education levels, greater travel opportunities and exposure to different cultures, individual Asian markets are becoming much more similar in terms of personal aspirations and spending behavior. Many multinational firms are applying regional strategies across Asian markets. Some scholars also emphasize "plan globally and act locally" (Blackwell et al., 1991) and "think globally, act locally and manage regionally" in the Asian markets. Regionalism is becoming a significant trend and it is therefore important for multinationals to rethink their Asian strategies. The advertising

61 | P a g e

environment in Asia is also moving its focus towards Asian as the Asians make up over 50% of the world's population. India and China alone contribute approximately 41% of the worlds population. As Asian markets grow, multinationals need to gain a better understanding of these markets before formulating their advertising strategy. The major objective is to propose new advertising process categories to be included in the traditional "Global-Local" continuum approach which will be useful for researchers and practitioners in understanding the decision-making structure in Asia and also to provide them with a new conceptual framework for future research. Other objectives are to investigate: (1) the degree to which a multinational's headquarters is involved in the advertising process for an Asian market, and (2) the relationship between the degree of commitment and the extent to which advertising is standardized in the region. Many multinational companies, which consider the Asia-Pacific to be an important part of their global business, tend to delegate some of their managerial functions to the region by establishing a regional office or headquarters in Asia. The degree of decentralization affects the extent of regionalization as decentralized companies are more likely to have a local or regional presence than highly centralized ones (Hulbert and Brandt, 1980). Peebles et al. (1978) suggest that the multinational needs to have a certain degree of control over its subsidiaries in order to fully

62 | P a g e

implement standardization. It is also agreed by Rau and Preble (1987) that the degree of standardization is determined by the extent of the multinational's control of international operations. If the foreign and home markets are similar, with close headquarters-subsidiary communications, marketing techniques tend to be more standardized. Hulbert and Brandt (1980) point out that the extent of control by the parent company over its subsidiaries depends on the degree of delegation, and the level of formalization and supervision. The need for better communication and control stems directly from the motivation for integration or coordination, which is in turn a function of the extent of interdependence within the system. Martenson (1987) also emphasized that better coordination between the headquarters and a subsidiary is more important than standardization of operations. The best way to exploit a resource optimally is not through centralized direction and control, but through a cooperative effort. Bartlett and Ghoshal (1986) conclude that the headquarters should look upon their subsidiaries as sources of information and expertise to create competitive advantages. Kirpalani et al. (1988) investigate the factors influencing the degree of control the headquarters has on a subsidiary's advertising strategy decisions. The degree of an MNC's head office control can be described by a combination of nine major variables: advertising objectives, budget, main

63 | P a g e

theme, market research, copy layout, test market decisions, final decision, control of advertising budget and media selection. High head office control over subsidiary advertising is mainly exercised in strategic decision making. In contrast, low head office control is found for most tactical advertising decisions, such as copy layout and media selection. There is a relationship between the extent of headquarters control and the MNC's origin. For example, there is a tendency for Canadian firms to have a high degree of control, US firms to have a lower degree, and European firms to have a medium degree (Kirpalani et al., 1988). It is generally agreed that a good coordination between the headquarters and its subsidiaries is the major driving force behind the formulation of a standardized advertising strategy. The headquarters' management tends to have a significantly higher level of participation in establishing advertising objectives and budget, but is less involved in creative strategy and media selection decisions which are consistent with the findings of Wills and Ryans (1977). As the subsidiaries mature, in regard to strategic resource planning, the head office's ability to control the subsidiaries' strategies is greatly reduced (Prahalad and Doz, 1981). Global Approach (Centralized Decision Process, Standardized Advertising Approach): A firm with a higher degree of centralized decision making is more likely to adopt a standardized advertising approach. As a result, all strategic elements are kept consistent with the home market, while the
64 | P a g e

tactical ones are adapted to the local environment of each market. The Swiss company L'Oreal S.A., a producer of personal-care products, determines its positioning strategy and main message at headquarters level for three Asian markets. The main reasons for the centralized process are to have consistent offers available to consumers world-wide and to keep both advertising agencies and clients working more closely together. For all three markets, most strategic elements follow the same strategy as for the home market while tactical ones, such as talent, language and media buying, may differ. Local Approach (Decentralized Process, Differentiated Approach): Some food brands are more localized in terms of advertising, but the local subsidiary is still required to obtain final approval from their headquarters. For example, Sara Lee Inc. has all advertising decisions made jointly by the headquarters and the local agent (except for the budget and media buying), as input from both parties is essential for obtaining a balanced view in each of the three Asian markets (their products are not marketed in China yet). Sara Lee Inc. also appoints a local advertising agency in each market. As a result, except for the advertising objective and main message, all other advertising elements such as positioning, target audience, creative execution, use a different strategy from that of their home market. At the American company Welch Food Inc., all advertising decisions are made jointly by the headquarters and local distributors in all three
65 | P a g e

markets. The team approach is used in order to utilize the expertise of both Welch Food Inc. and local distributors, and to ensure better coordination between both sides. Apart from the target segment, which is kept the same as the home market, all other advertising elements in the Asian markets differ from the home market. For Fuji Photo Film, the total demand and market share varies from market to market, so the local subsidiaries are left to decide their own advertising strategies. This is because they have a better understanding of the local market. The headquarters usually decides the world-wide themes. Each subsidiary also appoints its own advertising agency locally. Except for the determination of the target segment, all other advertising elements use a different strategy from the home market. Honda Motors leaves the final decision to the local distributors who are in a better position to target the appropriate consumers in the Asian markets.

Regcal Approach (Centralized Process, Regional Approach): The "Regcal" approach is made up of "reg" (regional) and "cal" (local); that is, it uses a local adaptation on a regional basis. Some firms which have a centralized process may adopt a regional approach. For example, Nescafe, from Nestle NA, carries a world-wide branding policy

66 | P a g e

adapted to a local context. Most strategic decisions are determined by both parties while the tactical ones are left to the subsidiaries. Apart from the target segment, all advertising elements employ a regional strategy. Another brand, Carlsberg beer, runs a corporate image campaign in Asia and carries out world-wide sponsorship activities. This means that strategies regarding target and positioning are usually formulated by the headquarters, leaving other tactics to be determined by the local subsidiaries. As a result, all advertising elements are standardized. Each of these examples reflects the importance of adopting a regional strategy in the Asian region.

Glocal Approach (Decentralized Process, Standardized Approach). This approach is a combination of the "Glo" (global) and "cal" (local) approaches. A successful global brand like Coca-Cola adopts a "Glocal" strategy, allowing most decisions to be determined by local subsidiaries or distributors. The headquarters develops global campaigns for its major brands (Coke, Fanta and Sprite) and the local offices may or may not follow these proposals because they are responsible for their own profit and loss accounts. The headquarters has declared that advertising standardization is not a compulsory company policy, but a consequence of their joint headquarters-distributor decision

67 | P a g e

making. The main reason for the local offices to adopt a standardized approach is mainly due to the identical target groups and attitudes in some markets. Henkel KGaA distributes its products through a third party with most decisions mutually agreed upon by headquarters and distributors, particularly those on the advertising budget. The target segment has to be locally modified owing to different pricing strategies in each market. However, the decisions on product positioning, main message and creative execution are determined by the headquarters. All major advertising decisions are standardized except the decisions on target segment, advertising objective and the language used.

68 | P a g e

Responses (41)

Male Female

20 21

49% 51%

Q1) How many languages are known to you? 1 (Just Regional) 2 (Hindi & Regional) 3 or more (Hindi, English & Regional) More than 5 2 3 35 5% 7% 85%


69 | P a g e

Q2) What do you do when an advertisement comes while you are watching a programme?

Zip the channel Put the medium in mute mode and start doing my work Watch the advertisements Watch the advertisements if the product is meant for me

7 5 13 16

17% 12% 32% 39%

70 | P a g e

Q3) When did you last see an advertisement in your regional language? Today Few days back A week back A month back Don't remember

10 5 2 6 18

24% 12% 5% 15% 44%

Q4) Which medium did you see/hear it on? Radio Print Media T.V. Internet Outdoor Other 7 3 23 2 4 2 17% 7% 56% 5% 10% 5%

71 | P a g e

Q5) Advertisement in local language as per you, is most suited toRadio only Print media only Radio & Print media Radio, Newspaper & T.V. Other

7 4 9 21 0

17% 10% 22% 51% 0%

Q6) How often do you come across such regional language ads? Quite often Once in a while Very rarely

14 13 14

34% 32% 34%

72 | P a g e

Q7) What would you preferRegional language ad Standard language ad Both 2 23 16 5% 56% 39%

Q8) Which advertisements grab your immediate attention? Hindi English Local dialect Amalgamation of two or more languages Any of the above

10 11 1 15 4

24% 27% 2% 37% 10%

73 | P a g e

Q9) Would you prefer seeing advertisements in your local dialect? Always Sometimes May be Never

4 17 17 2

10% 41% 41% 5%

Q10) Which advertisements do you think are more reliable? Hindi English Regional Language doesn't matter!

5 6 1 29

12% 15% 2% 71%

74 | P a g e

Q11) What are you likely to remember more?

Foreign model endorsing a brand in English Local model endorsing a brand in regional language Indian model endorsing a brand in Hindi Other

10 4 22 5

24% 10% 54% 12%

75 | P a g e

Q12) What according to you persuades more?

Talking in foreign tongue but still fulfilling your needs Talking in your dialect to try and understand you better None of the above

11 16 14

27% 39% 34%

76 | P a g e

Q13) Whom do you think the advertisements in regional languages target?

All People who just know their regional language Illiterates only No one, complete waste of money

11 28 1 1

27% 68% 2% 2%

Q14)Which genre of advertisements fit better in regional language bracket? FMCG Technical product Agricultural or agro based products Lifestyle products Other

13 3 22 1 2

32% 7% 54% 2% 5%

77 | P a g e

Q15) Living away from your home town, would you still like to hear or see advertisements in your language? Definitely May be Never

12 25 4

29% 61% 10%

Q16) a. Regional language advertisements for you symbolize? - Reflection of culture 1 9 2 3 4 5 7 12 9 3

78 | P a g e

Q16) b. Regional language advertisements for you symbolize? - Better understanding 1 13 2 3 4 5 10 7 5 4

Q16) c. Regional language advertisements for you symbolize? - Higher degree of association 1 8 2 3 4 5 10 11 8 1

79 | P a g e

Q16) d. Regional language advertisements for you symbolize? - Sense of affinity 1 4 2 3 4 5 7 9 17 2

Q16) e. Regional language advertisements for you symbolize? - Other 1 2 3 4 5

3 3 2 0 30

80 | P a g e

Conclusion Various Global giants entered Indian sub-continent and realised that the tool for penetration in this geography is adapting to Indian culture whether in terms of taste, pricing, packaging, naming or language. Big Daddys like Google and McDonald too had to reformulate their strategies to cater to Indian market. Following their footsteps, there is a brigade of companies who have understood this fact well. But, Vernacular Advertising- to be or not to be typically depends upon two major factors: 1. Target Audience 2. Brand Image There are no set rules for Vernacular Content in Advertising and a vernacular ad can fail as badly as a non-vernacular for its content. Language is only a medium and has no role beyond that. Image is a function of where, how and with whom, the brand is seen. Its how the brand chooses to conduct itself across all the touch points; its not limited to communication.
81 | P a g e

The risk in language is not image but the nuance. Most ads are conceived either in Hindi or English and then translated to the many Indian languages by translators who do not have enough understanding of the brand, the audience, message, and the hence end up doing an assembly line translation. A young college going lad associates himself with cool things in life and will be put off with a brand which uses vernacular to talk to him. Similarly, a brand will have to use vernacular if the target segment is the Rural Rich. Therefore, keeping in consideration the brand image and the target audience a brand intends to address, determines the language of an advertisement.

82 | P a g e

Theoretical Foundation of Thesis: Vernacular Advertising Bibliography

Web links:
1. 2. etingweb+detail&pid=71621 3. 4. * 5. ** 6. +local+languages&source=bl&ots=2hfi3x3YP2&sig=Y7qecYUisXqTLIdChvKYsnW4RmU&hl=en&ei=PV0xTZG gOcjTrQelpKyYCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CGEQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=book s%20on%20advertising%20in%20local%20languages&f=false 7. vf35783 | P a g e

O&sig=cRmDomvH14YVKO2cui0_04mmR0o&hl=en&ei=PV0xTZGgOcjTrQelpKyYCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result &ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CE4Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Books & Magazines:

8. Advertising, Commercial Spaces and the Urban Anne M. Cronin Series: Consumption and Public Life Palgrave Macmillan 9. The Language of Advertising by Angela Goddard 10. Vernacular Content in India Report by IMRB 11. Advertising as Multilingual Communication By Helen Kelly- Holmes 12. Advertising and promotion: an integrated marketing communications perspective By Belch*** 13. Marketing corporate image: the company as your number one product By James R. Gregory, Jack G. Wiechmann # 14. Global Marketing and Advertising: Understanding Cultural Paradoxes
84 | P a g e

By Marieke K. de Mooij 15. Adweek 16. Pitch 17. Impact 18. Brand reporter 19. Campaign India 20. Afaqs Footnotes: *A summary of IAMAI and IMRB research on active rural internet users ** Discussion forum ***Chapter 20: Global v/s Localized Advertising # Pg. 218: Speak the Global language

85 | P a g e