One of my first blog posts was about Molson Canadian, the beer that drew on a sense of national pride, that owned all things Canadian and silenced stereotypes once and for all. (Read post here)
Along the way I’ve found many nuances of brands skirting the topic of what it means to be Canadian or to live in the great white north. From the landscape to the lifestyle to the type of people – I’ve heard it all. I recently saw an ad for Canadian Tire, a hardware chain that drew inspiration from the same potion of Canadiana – it talks about our love for the great outdoors.
It made me take a step back and reexamine the strength and merit of this over used sing-songs-of-all-things-canadian style of advertising.
I reflected on Indian advertising, and found a similar vein. India being way too diverse to touch upon geographical traits, brands touch upon Indian behavioral stereotypes to make an instant connection with the consumer. Here’s an example: (this ad is for a VoiP calling service for Indians living abroad, hence the use of cents instead of rupees)
I lived in Miami Beach for the first quarter of this year and was tuned in to the superbowl craze that envelops America. The ads being as important as the game, I sat up and paid attention. And then I saw it – a pride in homeland, or in this case, home state type of ad. Chrysler’s Detroit commercial, featuring Eminem.
My point here is, when does this patriotic/cultural stereotyping stop being heart-warming and start sounding well, slightly pseudo? Do Canadians really rake up a 6 ft pile of leaves just so the kids can play in it? Isn’t it cliched to assume all Indians behave in the same manner? And is it okay to start by assuming Detroit knows nothing about luxury?
One could argue that it’s just another way of connecting with the consumer on a meaningful level – by generalizing or playing to common beliefs. But is the consumer starting to tire of being pigeon-holed? When is enough,enough? Or are we already there? I welcome a discussion,as always.