Quote EndQuote Cross-Cultural Strategy

Cultural Snapshot – October 28, 2014

Posted by Alisa | 10.28.14


Sharing our cultural differences (Image courtesy of Barnacles Budget Accommodations via Flickr)

Sharing our cultural differences (Image courtesy of Barnacles Budget Accommodations via Flickr)

Cultural Snapshots

In these Cultural Snapshots, we aim to enlighten North American marketers with a snippet of issues and happenings that are trending throughout the globe and in a wide variety of cultures. These trends may only affect a sub-segment within a culture, but their influence on people varies. It depends on who you’re targeting, whether it’s Millennials or baby boomers, new or established immigrants and depending on who they effect, these trends may have greater or lesser relevance to your ethnic target. At the very least, these trends are worth mentioning in your social media and could make you, the marketer, appear more knowledgeable about what’s important or top-of-mind in your ethnic audiences. If there’s any culture you’d like us to include, please feel free to let us know at snapshots [at] quoteendquote [dot] ca.

TRENDING IN JAPAN: Global epidemics can cause great worry around the world. This week, there was a perfect example of this: a Japanese journalist had just traveled back to Japan from West Africa. He arrived at Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Airport) with a fever and there was great concern due to the outbreak of Ebola in that part of the world. Fearing that he had contracted the disease, he was detained by authorities and admitted to a hospital for a physical exam. Test results showed he did not have Ebola, but Japanese people were still concerned. They remembered the story of a man in the U.S. who had initially tested negative for the disease, but after a few days, his tests had come back positive. The lesson? News stories like this can make people panic, even when there’s nothing to fear.

TRENDING IN CANADA: Canadian labor laws can be confusing to a lot of immigrants. Some immigrants come from countries where a blind eye is turned when infractions are made. Others come from countries where political leaders can continue to lead, even when surrounded by negative allegations. In Toronto, in the province of Ontario, there was a recent municipal election where the mayor was forced to step down due to allegations that he was smoking crack cocaine. The City of Toronto did not, and could not, fire him because of Ontario labor laws. (See here for information on Ontario Labor Laws) In comparison, there was a radio host on CBC, our national radio station in Canada, who had been recently fired and many people didn’t know why. It finally came out that he had admitted to his bosses that he was dating different women and engaging in BDSM behavior (bondage and sadomasochism). The problem came when one of these women accused the CBC host of sexual assault. He tried to prove that it was consensual. But due to all the speculations, the real reason why he was fired remains unclear. Usually, people in Canada do not get fired because of their personal lives and choices. Even the mayor of Toronto was not fired because employment laws often side with employees who have drug addition problems.

TRENDING IN SOUTH KOREA: Korean men and women are usually obsessed with looking good. It is common to undergo surgery to get the look they want and it usually follows a North American beauty ideal: white skin, high bridged nose, etc. Two days ago, the legendary singer, Hae Chul Shin, died suddenly. He was a rock star legend, almost a Korean Elvis. Aged around 50 years old, he was credited as a music pioneer who brought rock music culture to South Korea. Rumors say he died while undergoing an operation to remove belly fat. His heart stopped suddenly during the procedure and now the hospital is alleged to be at fault. Many fans went to the hospital to show support for his family. The singer’s brother, who is also a famous rock band guitarist,  has vowed to avenge his brother’s death and to uncover whether the hospital was at fault. But, the hospital is supposed to be one of the best in Korea and it is unclear who is to blame. The loss of this singer will forever be a tragedy, especially because Hae Chul Shin was just planning a collaboration with the “Korean Beatle”, Tai Ji Seo, and they had been planning to tour in concert in 2015.