Dolce & Gabbana and the Chinese Localization Mess

when.localization.goes.wrong

The title of this blog may sound like a Harry Potter novel, but it is far from fiction, although it is linked to the popular book series through localization issuesWe wrote about a lot of things which global brands should pay attention to when entering a foreign market. If you remember well, one of the main aspects to look out for was to keep an eye out for cultural differences.

When Localization Goes Wrong

Obviously, whoever created the D&G marketing campaign, in which a woman is struggling to eat pizza and other Italian dishes with chopsticks, was not really paying attention in internationalization and localization classes.

The recent racially insensitive blunder, which is not D&G’s first misstep in China, is obviously the final drop, as Chinese buyers (one-third of global customers for luxury goods), and Chinese sellers and celebrities have turned their back on the brand.

Forget Pampers, and Electrolux with their visual and verbal marketing localization fails. The D&G campaign takes the top spot, as it is clear from the company’s history that this is not just an accident. 

How could this happen?

Regardless of the brand’s history, this could have easily been avoided with some very simple local research of the Chinese marketIn our do’s and don’ts of marketing localization, we specifically pointed out that creating content and looking at it only from your perspective is the first step to failure. 

That was the main problem of Dolce & Gabbana. The fashion giant obviously thought that the video spot would be equally funny to people in China as it was to them, so they ran with it.

Don’t just go with the flow

We doubt that many companies will try what D&G did. However, if you are thinking about localizing your brand’s message for a foreign market, especially for a very specific one, like the Chinese market, don’t just trust your gut feelings.

Take time to research localization strategies, like the one we covered some time ago, and talk to professionals and local partners alike. It will definitely save you a lot of headaches, embarrassment, and money, in the long term.

Gosia
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Gosia loves copywriting and product translation. Additionally, she's a content marketing and lolcats junkie.

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