Another One Bites the Grass: Making Sense of International Advertising
Keenan, Kevin L., Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
Another One Bites the Grass: Making Sense of International Advertising. Simon Anholt. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000. 325 pp. $29.95 hbk.
Regardless of one's opinion about the desirability and inevitability of globalization, advertising plays a central role in the process. This book is a timely consideration of how advertising can best be practiced in a global environment.
The primary focus of the book deals with the structure of businesses involved in international advertising and an approach to agency organization that the author calls "smart centralization." Throughout the book, a major objective is to stress the superiority of this system over the traditional agency network arrangement for handling international accounts. One entire chapter is titled "Network = Notwork," and many of the other eight chapters might well use the same phrase as subtitles.
In a nutshell, the alternative to agency networks that is proposed here consists of recruiting and relocating creative talent from all countries where a brand is to be advertised to one central agency office. The logic of including input from those with direct experience and understanding of individual markets in the planning and creation of advertising is well explained, as are the drawbacks of the network approach that tends to use agency offices in all but the "lead country" for little more than service duties and that can result in resentment or backlashes by local market staffers.
Among points offered in support of smart centralization are the need to consider idiosyncrasies of individual countries prior to developing advertising rather than only in the implementation stage, and the role of the Internet as a truly global medium, reducing the importance of actual physical presence in different countries. In elaborating on the concept, attention is given to cultural sensitivity in advertising planning, to culture mapping, and to the interesting notion of "provenance" as a variable to consider in international campaigns. …