international marketing

Since I was an international business major in college, the cultural differences I see in business over here always interest me. Especially the obvious part of it in marketing. Some of the big brands in the states have made a niche here in Asia, some that you would expect like Coke and Lay's, and then some others that I am so completely surprised to see over here.

No matter what though, they've made changes necessary to their products and marketing to stay in business over here, and even corner some markets. Lay's chips have the "American" flavor
of sour cream and onion, but they also have a very popular Masala flavor. Cheetos over here taste nothing like they do in the states. The McDonald's here obviously has no Big Mac or even a cheeseburger, but it does have the McVeg Burger and the Maharaja Mac (made with chicken, of course). Pizza Hut just came out with a whole new line of South Asian pizzas, which honestly look really gross (do you like chickpeas and cottage cheese on your pizza?), but hey, they obviously did their research. And I liked the commercials for it anyway, with a famous Bollywood character telling everyone egjactly how good the new pizzas were.

These changes really don't sound so weird to me, maybe because I've been exposed to them for a year and a half now. But when we went to Thailand I was definitely surprised at how much the Thai people like corn. At KFC. In their sundaes. Hmmm...tasty? I tried to convince husband to taste the corn sundae, because he's always up for a good experiment. But even he shied away. When we were at the beach, ladies came around selling corn on the cob. On the beach! We didn't pass that up, and neither did a lot of people. I've never seen so much corn eaten on the beach in my life. Actually before that day, I'd never seen any corn eaten on the beach. We also noticed that Lay's had two special Thai flavors...lobster and nori seaweed. We did try the seaweed Lay's and I must say I like them.

I think McDonald's does the products the best, though. In metric system ruled Europe, they realized the quarter pounder would mean nothing, so they changed the name. I mentioned above some of the fun South Asian varieties of burgers, and in Thailand they had the new rice burger. Like I said, I love how culture changes brands, names, products and strategies. I always look for these things when I'm in a new country.

Anyone up for a rice burger?


SouthAsiaRocks said...

I wanted to try one of those rice burgers but I never got around to it - they look interesting! Did you ever try it?

south asia said...

No! I think the corn sundae sounds more appealing. :) Maybe in July we can branch out.

News Sender said...

A corn sundae? No thanks. But your neice and nephew would probably like it. They carried around their corn on the cob, under their arms (obviously, never leave home, or table, without it) while they played. When hunger struck, put down your toy, grab the corn from under your arm, take a bite, back under the arm, and away we go! Love you.

Alex The OK said...

As I somewhat recall from my time in France, the quarter pounder was called the Fromage Royale (Royal Cheese).

Is that right? And, is that what they call them there?

south asia said...

Yes! The Royale with Cheese, or the Fromage Royale.