Friday, May 29, 2009

How to market all things African in Finland.




Make Africa about wild animals, preferably something very recognizable like a zebra, a giraffe, an elephant, or a lion, and never forget to convey something tribal or to do with tribes. If at all possible allude to tribesmen with spears, or at least portray a spear in the packaging. Make everything as exotic in as many contradicting ways as possible. Also, make sure that even though what you are selling is South African that you never mention the South-part, but simply refer to Africa as if it was one country.

25 comments:

marathoner81 said...

Oh look something African...

Why some companies shamelessly play up cliches.

Extranjera said...

Marathoner - I know. And the problem with things 'African' is that the cliches are practically keeping many African countries 'down', forcing them to not develop great commercial hubs, but market themselves as simple, rural, wild, traditional, ancient, and such other crap. We are for ever the colonizers of the mind.

marathoner81 said...

Such a shame when people begin to embrace their cliches.

My name is Erin. said...

What? You mean Africa isn't all tribal and with wild animals everywhere and men chucking spears at wildebeasts? What do you eat for dinner?

People in the States think that people from Idaho kick potatoes as we walk down the street. I never even at Idaho potatoes until I moved away from there and I've never even seen a potato patch in Idaho.

Idaho and Africa have so much in common. :P

My name is Erin. said...

P.S. The sentence was supposed to say, "I never even ATE Idaho potatoes... yada, yada."

Amanda said...

Same marketing bit in the states. For those of us from kansas, it is all about the wizzard of oz. You know it is from Kansas if it has Dorothy, Toto, or red shoes on it!

Just A. Girl said...

OK I have to say it. Your page has a giraffe and an animal print as your background. And you did buy the Tribal wine, didn't you? Just picking on you =)

An Open Heart said...

I love your Giraffe photo....I am a sucker for the African marketing...but, my Aunt has been on missions to Africa just about every year for 10 years...so, I am imbued with a love of Africa by proxy....And, people believe all Californian's surf and have blonde hair and plastic surgery.....which just ISN'T true....I am proof! Never surfed, although bungee jumped, brunette and desperately in need of plastic surgery, but, can't afford it....

Just A. Girl said...

I love her giraffe photo too...just wondering if extranjera is embracing the cliche as marathoner81 puts it :-o

Extranjera said...

Erin - I don't even have to cut my own hair. How about that.

Amanda - Yup. I'll admit it that (and what you can see from a bus riding across Kansas) is pretty much the extent of my knowledge on the state. Sad.

Just A Girl - Exactly. I'm taking my own advice ;o)
Okay, the pic is hubby's master shot and I'm never allowed to change it. He is SO proud. And as for the background, it was simply the least obnoxious thing these Finns who created the background had, and I really wanted to get them out there in the English speaking community. I do prefer the squigglies on the sides to the stripes in the middle if that makes any difference.

An Open heart - Now you're gonna have to pick a country or few. What I've seen of Africa is Morocco, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa and that ain't saying much... and all of those are vastly, vastly different nations that might as well be on different continents all together. Until a few months ago I had no idea there was a country called Cape Verde in Africa... ;o)

Extranjera said...

Just A Girl - Oh, and I will NEVER explain or justify buying wine. Nuff said. ;o)

Cyndy said...

And do all in the people in Africa, the country, think that you snuggle with polar bears while drinking frozen vodka and talking on your Nokia phone while in Finland? I bet quite a few do. When we returned to the US after our stint in Bogotá, all the kids in our MD school thought we just came from the jungle. It was hard to convince them that we were just living in a city of 3 million people (bigger than their beloved Baltimore). It didn't help that we decorated the house with pre-Columbian artifacts and beautiful hand woven tapestries. Very tribal. But then again, no one questioned my little sister's room that was decked out with Mickey Mouse and everything Disney. That, after all, was American, and, therefore, OK.

A long way to say I love your picture of the giraffe, too!

Molly said...

I think the referring to Africa as one country thing is just so as not to confuse people - I mean there's plenty of peeps out there (lotsa Americans - sorry y'all) who really think that. Wouldn't want to clutter any consumer consciousness with too much silly geography now would we? Keep it simple.
Stripes. Africa. Tribal. Dollar.
;)

julochka said...

you mean africa's not a country?

wuh?

but sarah palin said....

julochka said...

oh, and about your b/g--it's not iPhone friendly--i can't read your posts on my iPhone at all. the only thing that shows is the bit that's blue. the white type doesn't, b/c the dark b/g doesn't load, it stays light, so it all disappears...like magic.

that might mean the pope isn't reading it either...tho' he probably unfollowed you after you called jesus a zombie.

Extranjera said...

This just in from Sarah P, our ambassador to the freezing states: The Alaskan infantry is currently infiltrating the Mozambiquean navy composed of shiny coral-reef inhabiting fish before proceeding onto the harsh South African infantry also known as the 'them that hath tusks and other pointy things'. This military stealth is made possible by the extreme narrowness of what S.P. regards as 'some blue water' between above mentioned nations.

Love her.

Want to come back as (a childless and drinking) Tina Fey in my next life.

rxBambi said...

Ummm, and Egypt. Last time I checked it was on the same continent as giraffes, elephants, etc. No tribal stuff to be found anywhere near Cairo. Of course there you have dead pharoahs walking around everywhere.
And...I thought you DID snuggle with polar bears while in finland. Hmmm.

Extranjera said...

Molly - That's why i keep telling everyone that I'm just European. Doesn't go down that well..

rxBambi - We really have no other police force to speak of than the polar bears. Their infatuation with the bottle is just a bit problematic (but also as our politicians say: It might be the only thin h keeping the country afloat).

julochka - Blog all grey and iPhone happy now. You happy now? (thanks for the tip)

Extranjera said...

Cyndy - Guess what id the name of my home town is?
Seriously.
I am not kidding.
Not in the least.

Extranjera said...

My id just went and interfered. I think Freud would be proud.

Cyndy said...

Nokia?!? Oh, God (or Odin, or he-who-shall-not-be-named-because-he-is-not-there-to-be-named), I hope so because the only other city I know in Finland (without consulting Google, the omniscient god) is Helsinki (damn American public schools). Help me out, VEG, send me some melding waves (I hope she is not at McDonalds, cause all I am sensing is french fries right now). Okay, I am going to go with Nokia...or Bjvodbearski. Yeah, that's it. I'm sure. Seriously.

But, if it is Nokia, what are the chances of finding an iPhone there? Could you maybe work out a trade? Some authentic zebra striped cell phone covers, perhaps?

julochka said...

wow, i miss out on a lot when i go to bed at midnight. won't make that mistake again.

i didn't realize that nokia was from a town called nokia. i don't know what i think about that other than that i think i'm glad it wasn't helsinki--that would just not be a good name for a phone. but of course you don't actually call helsinki helsinki in finnish, it's something else with an "S" or is that just the name for finland in finnish? suomo? is that it? suomi? and if so, why?

ok, i'll go now...

Extranjera said...

Cyndy - yup. Not Bjvodbearski. Still don't have an iPhone.

julochka - The country in Finnish is called Suomi, the city of Helsinki is officially called Helsingfors in English.

julochka said...

but Helsingfors is actually Swedish, right? just to confuse it with helsingborg and helsingør

Extranjera said...

julochka - Yes. The Swedish versions of all of the city names are officially the ones to be used in English. Currently I'm in Tammerfors.