It isn’t easy to break into new markets, especially across continents. Cross-cultural marketing is more about adapting your brand to the new environment than trying to have the consumer adapt to your brand. An image, or message that works in an established market probably needs to be modified in order to succeed in a separate context where life experiences have shaped audiences differently. Pull&Bear’s #bemorebarrio, is a new campaign launched just for this purpose.
Our first impression of the Spanish retail fashion giant, Pull&Bear’s, #bemorebarrio campaign happened to be the Boyce Avenue cover, and the first thing that came to our heads when we saw the hashtag was an Impala with hydraulics in Southern California. Having worked in advertising in Spain, we know that “barrio” there has a much different, and positive connotation than in the U.S. So, we decided to dig a little deeper. Once we found out more we were able to determine that #bemorebarrio was a campaign advocating for inclusion and community across a globalized society.
Thats great and all, but that took some research, and to be completely honest, we still aren’t too sure about what the main idea still is. While the concept is inspiring and unifying and we do think that being “neighborhood” is something that resonates across cultures, we feel that the message is complicated. Pull&Bear might be trying too hard to impose an idea that would work well within a Spanish market on the global consumers they are trying to bring in, like the U.S., China, or Australia.
That’s when the confusion begins. Having your consumer look into the meaning of the words used in your campaign and having to search through your site to understand the concept, doesn’t sound too realistic. How many people will bother to check Pull&Bear’s website after seeing a #bemorebarrio music video, if they don’t understand what’s going on? Maybe their research yielded some positive results, but the jury is still out to see if this strategy will be effective and if the delivery of their message will be able to reach the multicultural audiences they’re targeting.
The campaign has a couple of things going for it, especially when it comes to attracting millenials: An Australian band wrote a song specifically for it, six other ‘Youtube famous’ artists from around the world were given the opportunity to do their cover versions and are featured in music videos showing their neighborhood, all of course while wearing the brand’s clothes, which by the way, we love. They are right on target picking influencers from their chosen segment, through a platform that they identify and thrive in. It’s an excellent idea, and might just be what makes this campaign a success, not their hashtag, or their long explanation of their intended message on their website.
Al Ries, the father of brand positioning, once said: “The best approach to take in our over-communicated society is the oversimplified message. You have to jettison the ambiguities, simplify the message, and then simplify it some more if you want to make a long-lasting impression.” In Pull&Bear’s case, there are several messages piled up on top of each other, which makes it difficult for the audience to grasp. Somehow we feel that all these elements that are trying to make Pull&Bear a universal brand, are not working together seamlessly to close the deal. Although the concept and parts of their strategy are perfect for their target, their message might not be sharp enough. But, like we said, the jury is still out on this one.
What do you think? Is this a hit or miss? in these days of cross cultural marketing, how can we bridge cultural divides through branding strategies?