Lost in Translation

in Fern Lee by on January 31st, 2017No Comments


Thank you Electronic Retailing Magazine for printing the following article written by Lori Zeller, Managing Partner of THOR Associates:

Given the deluge of information consumers face, it is even more important to think culturally when it comes to direct and brand response marketing.

 When attempting to build a brand, you must understand instant gratification, touchpoints, authenticity, credibility, and e-commerce tactics within their cultural settings. There are differences between Hispanic and Anglo consumers, which means that direct and brandresponse marketing must address each individual’s consumer journey.

In Spanish, the paragraph above likely would be written differently toconvey the parallel meaning. “Con diluvio en todos los canales de información con lo que el consumidor una sobrecarga, es importante que pensar ‘cuturally,’ especialmente en lo que respecta marketing de respuesta directa y la marca.”  It is not an easy task to translate words, feelings, or culture in marketing. Examples of English/Spanish translations that have gone wrong includethe wildly successful “Got Milk?” campaign. When used in Mexico, it attracted attention by asking “Are You Lactating?” The Coors beer slogan“Turn It Loose,” when converted directly into Spanish, directs consumers to “Suffer from Diarrhea.” (I think I’ll just have an orange juice, please.)

Parker Pen wanted its advertisements in Mexico to say, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” Instead, the company mistook the verb “embarazar” to mean “embarrass,” and the adwound up reading, “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

Now that’s something to write home about. Frank Perdue’s line, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” is similarly risqué in Spanish: “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate.” And back in the ’70s, the Braniff International Airways tagline, “Fly in Leather,” translated as“Fly Naked.”

Hispanic consumers in the United States present diversified culturalpatterns. How well the marketer enculturates its content for target consumers will have a direct effect on marketing success. An example? Dubbing an ad with the voice of someone who is obviously not Hispanic. McDonald’s carefully inserts “Me encanta” into its mostly English advertisements as a Spanish-language version of its tagline, “I’m lovin’ it,” to really appeal to the Hispanic consumer.

Another generic example would be to include the phrase “Your abuela’s cooking” in any DR cookware ad to acknowledge the grandmother as an important cultural influence for many Hispanics. The idea of enculturation lies in the company’s appreciating the nuances of culture and values to build credibility.

Values are just as important as reviews to Hispanic consumers. As Hispanic people assimilate into American culture, marketing KPIs become a moving target. Building a brand strategy must recognize major differences between Hispanic and Anglo culture. An example isthe focus on a larger sense of familyversus individuality; music and appearance also tend to rank high interms of cultural value, while conceptsof comfort, convenience, and expediency are more influential on the Anglo side.

Hispanics overindex for purchasing products and services through TV,digital, and radio channels. Alternatively, Hispanics underindex for print tactics. Hispanics are also three times more likely to place orders through an English-language site, even when viewing an advertising asset in Spanish. The Hispanic consumer also appreciates the ability to speak directly to someone when ordering.

Regarding authenticity and credibility, 75 percent of U.S. Hispanics speak Spanish only or are bilingual. Even English-dominant Hispanics show significant interest in Spanish-language radio and television, and are more likely than their Anglo counterparts to watch or listen to entertainment with friends and family. Hence, the market has higher response rates and brand loyalty to companies and brands that engage them with messages that are in-language and in-culture—40 percent more likely, according to Simmons Research. Digital opportunities are just as important. Google partnered with Ipsos MediaCT recently to study how language and culture influence brand consideration, trends in mobile habits, and variables that impact purchasing decisions among U.S Hispanics. Studying more than 4,500 U.S. Hispanics ages 18 to 64, the research uncovered compelling new insights and best practices for this audience, including the fact hat 76 percent of Hispanics access the internet on mobile devices.

It is imperative to keeping enculturation in mind while marketing in places the Hispanic consumer goes. Building a brand has everything to do with the consumer journey, and you can maximize reach in every channel from e-commerce to telesales if you respect the customer’s culture.

Special thanks to Craig Handley, CEO

and one of the founders of ListenTrust,

and Denira Borrero, principal and COO

of OmniDirect, for information included

in this article.


Government Relations for Direct Response Marketing with a Republican Administration

in Fern Lee by on January 4th, 2017No Comments

Thank you, Bill McClennan, from ERA. The following is a great synopsis of what Direct Response Marketers should consider with the new administration:

The Ultimate Direct Response Cheat Sheet for the Trump Era

by Bill McClellan on Jan 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM ERSP, FTC, Government Relations

Donald Trump Image.pngHello 2017!

It’s nice to finally meet you after all the bumpy election action we saw last year. I am expecting 2017 to be “Yuge”!

No really, the Trump administration is just getting started with all its ideas and policies. In the signature words of our President Elect “we have to figure out what’s going on.”

In order to have a smooth transition through these changes, I have prepared this “beautiful” Direct Response cheat sheet just for you. As we now say in Washington, it’s “Bigly” (or “Big League” depending on whom you ask).

So 2017 let’s do this!

What’s next for Direct Response?

There is both danger and opportunity for Direct Response marketers with Republican’s controlling both the Presidency and Congress.

The first thing you should know is that there will be a general effort to roll back the excessive regulatory environment that developed during the Obama years. That’s good news for marketers. Expect some high level relief at both the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This pressure will come both internally from Trump administration appointees as well as from the Congressional oversight function.

That’s not to say that the industry should expect less enforcement action initially. For now that will still be in place. So you should continue to be vigilant about your claims and substantiation in 2017. Also you need to keep an eye on your business compliance and best practices in the year ahead.

The Republican stranglehold on power will also be “Yuge” for ERA’s self-regulation program ERSP. Industry self-regulation is a Republican favorite. As new problems arise in the marketplace expect Congress to turn to self-regulatory bodies for solutions rather than rely on new regulations or even new legislative fixes.

What about Operation Choke Point?

Operation Choke Point is an Obama administration program designed to attack the banking and payment processing relationships with high-risk merchants, including: “As Seen on TV,” Telemarketing, Sweepstakes, and Get Rich Products. The program was reported on in early 2013 with the Obama administration going after third-party payment processors. The chilling effects of the initiative have left marketers with less access to the financial services they need to survive and thrive in today’s dynamic marketplace.

I expect that regulatory action from Operation Choke Point to subside in the upcoming environment. It’s hard to imagine a lot of enforcement collaboration among agencies in the Trump administration.

Additionally, there should be renewed interest in H.R. 766 – the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act. It prohibits a federal banking agency from formally or informally requesting termination of banking activities for reputational risk alone. If signed into law, the government would no longer be able to target industries like ours for political reasons alone. This proposal previously passed the House of Representatives and its Senate companion is currently being championed by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT).

The Dangers!

Online Sales Tax

Donald Trump has maintained an ongoing feud with the Washington Post and its owner Jeff Bezos. As you probably know, Jeff Bezos also happens to be the CEO for Amazon.com. During their feud, Trump focused on the Online Sales Tax issue and Amazon.com for not paying sales tax in many jurisdictions. Therefore my outlook has turned negative for this issue during a Trump administration.

Marketers should continue to support House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s Online Sales Tax efforts. The Chairman’s draft would require remote sales tax to be collected based on the location of the seller, rather than on the location of the purchaser. Businesses would only have to comply with 1 set of rules, and the risk of intrusive audit and unending litigation would go way down. This is a much fairer and simpler approach than the alternatives pushed by big box retailers. Along with our allies in the TruST Coalition, ERA will continue our ongoing support of Representative Goodlatte’s efforts.

Net Neutrality

Long dormant, Net Neutrality presents another resurgent issue of concern. Trump has appointed two longtime adversaries of the policy to his transition team. The passage of the Open Internet Order in 2015 was the result of innumerable legal, legislative and regulatory battles over many years. The order classified internet providers as common carriers that fell under Title II of the Communications Act. This designation prohibits these businesses from discriminating against competitive offerings on their networks.

Trump’s pick for FCC chair will have the power to set policy and reverse this order. As Republicans will control both houses of Congress there will be no hope of legislative relief. ERA will continue its vigilance and work to ensure that you do not have to pay excessive access fees to reach your customer on the Internet Service Providers “pipes”.


Cybersecurity has consistently been a high priority for Donald Trump as well. It is clear that he will follow through with his campaign’s emphasis on this issue. We should expect the military cybersecurity debate to spill over into the civilian Privacy and Data Security conversation as well. Marketers should expect legislative activity and regulatory action at the FTC and other agencies on proposals that explore how firms deal with data breaches and theft of information.

The Unexpected

Early indicators suggest that the Trump administration will be less stable than those administrations that we have experienced in our lifetimes, both Republican and Democratic alike. There is a higher probability of a negative Trump “surprise” moving forward. Any excessive enthusiasm over the potential of relaxed regulatory oversight should be tempered accordingly.

Stay tuned. For better or worse 2017 is going to be very, very exciting.