Pi Attitude Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion

Multicultural Marketing Stirs Controversy In US [2]

As seen in the previous post, a drinks company stirred up an American conservative hissy-fit by running a multilingual, multicultural ad, with young Americans of different ethnic backgrounds singing “America The Beautiful” in their original mother-tongues – aka “the language (sic) of the terrorists”, as one rabid right-wingnut spluttered in an apoplectic tweet.  If Coca-Cola was trying to provoke a reaction to their multiculturalist approach, they certainly go it.

Another big drinks company, the international liquor giant Diageo, has given a rather different opinion on multicultural advertising.  They argue that it’s “dead”.

An ANA (Association of National Advertisers) Multicultural and Diversity Conference heard the obituary from Marc Strachan, Diageo's vice-president of multicultural marketing for North America.  "There's no such thing as a 'general market' strategy ...It's an old way of thinking.  It doesn't work. So you have to get rid of it." 

Diageo has decided that a “one size fits all” approach to marketing its products has been overtaken by the emergence of ethnic and cultural minorities which collectively make up the new majority. African-American consumers, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and similar groups are now expected to drive most of the growth in the spirits category in the decades to come.  Each grouping brings different appetites and attitudes to market, and marketing has to learn to operate on multiple cultural fronts as a result. 

The man from Diageo put it like this:  "We're not multicultural marketers. We're marketers. And marketers do what? We market to consumers. We find insights. We find connection points. We find ways to drive people to choose our brands versus somebody else's."  If big consumer groupings turn out to think differently from each other, then advertising has to reflect those differences.

Actually Mr. Strachan’s biggest point was that multicultural marketing, far from dropping dead, is becoming a new norm, a default position.  “If we do this right, multicultural marketing … will be a part of our DNA. And we won't need a vice president of multicultural marketing”.

Pi applauds the insight, and wishes Marc Strachan well with his self-appointed project of making his present job redundant.


Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion Country: USA / North America Product –