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“It’s not just the connection that’s important — it’s the relevancy of the connection.” — Associate Marketing Professor Derek Rucker

“It’s not just the connection that’s important — it’s the relevancy of the connection.” — Associate Marketing Professor Derek Rucker

MOSAIC Week 2011

An interactive workshop on global advertising highlights the importance of connecting with consumers across borders

By Sara Langen

4/28/2011 - In the advertising world, creating a campaign for international markets can be a tricky undertaking. What works in the United States might not work in Brazil, and vice versa.

Advertisers need a thorough understanding of the culture they’re targeting to be able to craft an effective ad, observed Associate Marketing Professor Derek Rucker.

“We need cultural insights,” Rucker said. “I always want to know my target consumer. I need to know how my consumer responds. There are some things I would tire of, but that my consumer would love.”

Rucker’s remarks came during the Global Advertising Review workshop on April 19, one of the highlights of MOSAIC Week (April 15-22). The week featured a series of events celebrating Kellogg’s global diversity, including cultural activities, tastings of international cuisine and a series of workshops and lectures by Kellogg professors and business leaders.

During the Global Advertising Review, Rucker noted that devices such as storytelling and serial commercials might work in Japan, but they don’t do as well in the U.S.

He presented 10 international advertisements and asked attendees to evaluate their meaning and effectiveness in light of their cultural context.

“It’s not just the connection that’s important — it’s the relevancy of the connection,” Rucker said.

The advertising field can be fun and exciting, but it’s also incredibly complicated, Rucker said. To give students a tool for navigating the field, Rucker presented the ADPLAN framework, which he applies in his curriculum and in the annual Super Bowl Advertising Review. Each letter stands for one of the key factors in advertising strategy: Attention, Distinction, Positioning, Linkage, Amplification and Net equity.

The discussion turned to why established brands should advertise at all when they are already well-known. Rucker explained that a branding powerhouse like Apple still has to advertise to maintain momentum.

“One thing you see with recessions is that brands that pull out advertising are much slower to survive and recover than brands that don’t,” he said. “Even if I’m really big, I’m trying to attract new users all the time and defend my territory.”

MOSAIC Week also featured discussions on generational differences in the workplace, peace in the Middle East and growth in Europe, as well as a panel on cross-cultural relationships and a speech by McKinsey & Company principal Robert Mathis.

MOSAIC Week 2011 was sponsored by KSA Global Affairs, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and the International Business and Markets Research Center.