Cause Marketing en Español

Late last year Walgreens ran the paper icon campaign at the left benefiting its long-time partner the American Diabetes Association in English on one side and Spanish on the other.

Walgreens is the giant drugstore/C-store chain with more than 8,000 locations coast-to-coast.

Such efforts are old hat in Canada, which is officially bilingual. But I can’t remember seeing any other paper icon efforts Stateside that came in two or more languages.

The potential payoff is efficiency: Walgreens/ADA only has to print one paper icon to reach two separate cultures.

But I doubt it will pay off. For one, the shape, design and colors make the icon easy to miss, no matter your culture. It’s rather blah.

Then there’s the interesting issue of which side to display at the register.

In big chunks of the Southwest and Florida you’d probably want to display the icon Spanish side up, and English side up in most of the rest of the country.

Except that even here in the Mountain States, where I live, there’s a substantial Spanish-speaking immigrant population. It’s not unlikely that a Spanish speaker might come into the Walgreens were I bought this but miss the icon because it was English side up.

Then there’s the question of the translation. My Spanish is of the high school variety, but it appears to me that the translation is directly from the English.

I don’t specialize in cross-cultural marketing. But I have heard enough cross-cultural marketing specialists speak about the discipline to know that they generally recommend against literal translations.

Finally, where’s the emotion in this appeal?

Absent in two cultures, I’m afraid.

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