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Tutor JC Earle 's Column

Gaining insight into Localised Advertising English

Jul 12, 2016

Understanding Advertising in the English-speaking world could be very different from what you might use in your own culture. It has to be said that there are very distinct differences between various countries where English is spoken as a first language and what your approach should be in getting your message heard by these English “sub-cultures”.


One of the biggest, if not the biggest influence on global English would have to American culture. American movies and television shows which are popular throughout the world introduces terms and phrases that often find their way into everyday conversation, which means that if you want to communicate with your customers through advertising on a global level, you need to be familiar with the contexts in which certain phrases are used.


The big obstacle here is that by focusing your ads on a global market, your customers in say, Australia might not feel as though you identify with them, subconsciously they might feel like a number, whereas if you use idioms and sayings familiar to Australians, which they can identify with and feel a sense of pride in, your message might ‘hit home’ so to speak. (Hit home means personal, or comfortable).


For example, instead of saying: 

“Try [product] with your next barbecue”. (Global English)

Say something like:

“Give [product] a burl with your next barbie.” (Australian English)


“Use [product] with your next braai” (South African English)



In other words: using “Try [product] with your next barbecue” will be understood in any English-Speaking country, but using localised idioms, phrases or words, will endear you to your target audience.


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