Wednesday, April 23, 2014


The province of Quebec has laws that insist on French as the primary language for public signage. We have no such laws in the province of British Columbia, though we do have an anxious mayor of Richmond who, when asked about a Chinese language-only advertisement for Crest's "whitening" toothpaste (50% of Richmond identifies as Chinese), could only respond (on CKNW yesterday) by expressing his disappointment with a company that would forsake a wider market share than the one they have targeted in their recent ad campaign.

But is Procter & Gamble (the makers of Crest) losing out by not including English on an ad for a product that, through its brand label and attached image, conveys its intentions regardless of the language it is written in? Personally I would be curious to see how Richmond's Crest sales fare in the weeks and months to come, as I am sure some will be drawn to a product that expresses itself in their mother tongue (and no other), just as there will be some who will make a point of not buying Crest because they claim not to understand what Procter & Gamble is selling, even though they do.

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