Insights

Creating impactful campaigns in a universal language

23rd September 2020

Traditionally, brands would shoot ads destined to be deployed in one nation or region. It meant being able to create assets that are relevant to that locale in content, language and tone, being able to connect with a local audience and make an impact.

That need to connect with local demographics has remained, but as the world of advertising and media has evolved brands are increasingly global, meaning they need to be able to interact with audiences across the globe through advertising campaigns.

Whether it’s your original concept holding up better than your international budget or just a desire to spread one fantastic campaign across multiple markets, many brands will look to reuse assets and take a successful message global.

The temptation is to leave the ad virtually untouched. But in these cases, aside from the costs of translation, voiceovers and even the odd transposed CGI shot of your product name as it’s known elsewhere, what is there to worry about?

As it happens, more than you might imagine.

Making a global ad is a fantastic way to reuse assets and stretch your budget as far as possible, but the earlier you decide to do so, the better. Consider taking a universal approach to your original ad campaign at the concept stage. Not only will this save on costs further down the line, but it should also retain all the authenticity and appeal of your core messaging, allowing you to connect with audiences across multiple borders.

 

Home and away

When an ad is delivered outside its country of origin there’s a risk that certain aspects of it may be out of step with the cultural customs and traditions of its new viewing audience. These details might not seem like a big deal, like the audio and video dialogue being slightly out of sync, but they can still have a significant impact on success.

The more exposed these elements are, the less authentic it can make your brand seem if done wrong. Even the briefest exchange between two characters in an ad can be entirely lost in translation, which can in turn impact viewer perception.

An ad intended solely for broadcast in its home country can naturally be pieced together with signs and signifiers unique to that country. But if you’re thinking about taking a particular message global, go back to the drawing board and look for some universal appeal within it.

The universal’s here

Generally speaking, a broader message crosses borders more clearly. You can create global ads much more effectively by reducing the level of localisation that needs to be done before you get to the shoot.

For example, an actor delivering an onscreen monologue requires a large chunk of time set aside for translation or dubbing. This spans script changes, translations, recording and editing time to ensure the lines are delivered in another language without coming off clunky.

If you do have a lot of dialogue in your ad, consider a voiceover rather than having an actor deliver the lines. It makes it easier to replace the language in international versions of the asset, without having to extensively dub. Dubbing is also often seen as a less authentic means of versioning rather than a full transcreation.

Ways to create international adverts

  • Don’t always rely on voices. Let the viewer read your message as it pops up, rather than listening to it being delivered in a potentially awkward manner by onscreen actors.
  • Use voiceovers. If you want to have your message seen as well as heard, let the visuals accompany the audio, rather than drive it forward.
  • Produce per language. If you don’t want to get too broad with your message, consider creating assets that play in individual languages without the creative constraints of localising them. That way you can still target different markets more effectively.
  • Ensure your casting is appropriate by not casting stereo-typical roles
  • Localise, don’t translate. Ensure you are speaking a market’s language without any of the phrasebook-grabbing complications by localising for their lingo as well as their language, making sure it not only makes sense, but also sounds real.
  • Get animated. Using animations and graphics allows for a raft of voiceovers in a range of languages to make localisation a much smoother process, without throwing away the shooting script.
  • Small-scale localisation. If a localised ad does require some region-specific product placement or other information, keep these inserts to a minimum so that it can be more easily placed into the general flow of your ad.
  • Use Burnt-In Subtitles to re-inforce messaging. Subtitles are a great means of re-inforcing on screen messaging and can act to engage audiences with International versions of an advert, or where full localisation is not possible without extensive dubbing. Subtitles can be aligned to brand identity criteria and customised as required.

An effective ad that resonates with viewers both at home and overseas can be a very delicate balancing act. But you can minimise the last-minute re-subs and reshoots with some universal thinking in the conceptual stages.

Whether it’s budget or creative restrictions that are preventing you from individual territory rollout, you can still create the kind of messaging that carries a more authentic touch with some careful thought towards crossing borders.

Make global advertising a breeze with One Delivery from Adstream. Instantly deliver to 80,000 media locations with direct connections from the fastest ad delivery platform on the planet.

 

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