How global companies create global advertising campaigns

February 14, 2024
Post feature
Video is the most effective form of content. Global companies like Pepsi, Always, Google and Oreo have embraced the power of video advertising to reach a global audience. Learn how below.
In a global world, adverts have the potential to reach billions of people. And all the numbers show that video is one of the most effective marketing and communication mediums out there.
●     It attracts more online traffic
●     It is incredibly sharable
●     It makes it more likely that people retain your message. Possibly because video can evoke emotions in ways that simple text cannot.

Local vs global advertising strategy

Many brands are capitalizing on the value of video. Multinational companies are also realizing the value of a global marketing video strategy – just look at how Pepsi translated their “Zero Sugar, Zero Compromise” global ad campaign into more than 100 different languages.
You might remember feminine hygiene company Always' viral (and Emmy-award-winning) #LikeAGirl campaign, which was localized into languages such as French, German and Korean. Meanwhile, in their Indian and African markets, where menstruation is often still a taboo subject, Always really leaned into a local advertising strategy. The core message of female empowerment is transmitted through campaigns centered on educating women, such as this Hindi version.

What people want

Reusing unlocalized English-language assets to go global is certainly cost effective. However, a number of studies have shown that this isn’t what consumers want.
●     3 in 4 consumers prefer to buy products using their native language, according to CSA Research. They also found this approach is key to building “stickier” customer relationships.
●     Appia found that 86% of their localized mobile ads outperformed the English versions, both in click throughs and conversions.
In short, localizing your content is vital for maximizing your reach and building a closer relationship with your worldwide audience. If you don't, you could miss out on around 6.5 billion potential customers. This is because only 20% of the world's population are English speakers.
Tip: According to CSA Research analysis, languages in quickly expanding Asian markets (like Indonesian, Malay, Hindi, and Filipino) are becoming more strategically important for companies wanting to reach the global online market.

Going global

How to go global with advertising will be determined by your requirements, constraints and your target market's expectations. You need to find a balance between production quality and cost. If hyperlocal advertising isn’t an option you may decide to work from a single base advert and localize it for different markets.
Do it well, happy days. But get it wrong? You’ve probably seen it before: the TV ad where the speaker’s mouth is doing something totally different to the words you’re hearing… It looks sloppy and viewers pick up on the fine details. Take a 2020 ad for takeaway courier JustEat (known in Australia as “MenuLog”); you’ll find discussions on social media about Snoop Dogg mouthing “Just Eat” not matching the Australian brand name “Menulog”.
The secret to setting yourself up for success? Here are some tips on factoring in localization from the start to design global-ready content that is on-brand and on-message whilst connecting with your audiences around the world.

1. Embrace animation

Using animation instead of real people brings a number of benefits. It makes lip-sync mismatches less likely, allows for easier use of different audio, and allows for more culturally neutral content (such as the characters with purple and green skin in this ad!). It’s also easier to make changes in post-production, such as shortening or lengthening the video or extending frames, so there’s no need for reshoots.
Oreo’s award-winning “Play with Oreo” campaign used animation with great success. The same animation is used in all versions of the ad whilst localized audio is easily swapped in to create market-specific versions.

2. Remove cultural context

If you’re reusing content across markets it’s important to remove societal context so there is nothing to make content specific to one particular audience. This increases acceptance and helps avoid offending or alienating anyone. Think about culturally-specific scenarios, symbols and emojis, colors, music, idioms, jokes, or even the skin color of actors (like in the Oreo ad above).
Be on the lookout for any cultural sensitivities. In 2016, BMW pulled an ad in the UAE after locals complained about their national anthem being cut short.

3. Minimize faces speaking

To make the audio synchronization process easier, avoid showing faces and actors speaking directly to the camera. This makes it easier to use different audio without reshooting the video or struggling with mismatched dubbing, like in this Google Pixel ad.

4. Consider spacing and layout

Some languages take up more space than others, so leave extra room in your design for on-screen translated text that may need more space. You’ll also want to ensure that nothing will get in the way of any subtitles (the bottom third of the screen).

5. Leave space in audio, too

Some translations will be longer than the original. So, if possible, avoid actors speaking quickly and add pauses between sentences so the translated audio can keep up. This is particularly relevant for projects where you are translating from English into languages such as Spanish or German.

6. Separate your sound files

To simplify post-production, provide your language service provider with separate audio files for music, voice, sound effects, and other elements. Additionally, use loopable background tracks to make it easier to work with any audio that needs to be extended.

7. Keep it simple

Subtitles need to be easy to read. Remember, they have a character limit and must stay on screen long enough to be comfortably read. Be concise and avoid complex sentence structures.

8. Finally, find the right team

You need expert linguists who really understand your target market's culture to help you communicate effectively and avoid embarrassing mistakes. You may even want to explore transcreation. This involves redesigning and tailoring the source content, not just translating the words, to resonate with your new audience. It can be a very collaborative process.
Working with experts and considering localization from the beginning will make the video localization process much easier. The result will be engaging content and stronger customer relationships in valuable new markets. What’s not to like?