“It’s ok for the Guyana market.”

Let’s examine this dreadful statement – “It’s ok for the Guyana market”. I’ve heard it 4 times in the past 2 weeks already. And quite frankly, I don’t like the connotation.

4 different people, in 4 different business segments, made that very comment when discussing the inferior status of their brand image and marketing approaches. For me that’s alarming! Because it clearly demonstrates how complacent we’ve become about the mediocrity we call our advertising. Mediocrity incurred by choice!

Tell me. Why do we always have to see Guyana as undeserving of better standards? Why do we choose to have such little regard for our brands and the consumers that support them?

This is exactly the line of thinking that keeps us waddling in the struggling economy we complain about. Exactly the reason why we could never reach our full marketing potential as businesses in the developing world.

Many of us represent global brands. With spotless values and solid international reputations. Well atleast up until they get here. We ignore the culture of quality and creativity and slap any ole crap across the media. As many as we can, as fast as we can count it.

Stop tarnishing the image those brands have worked so hard to build. Pay attention to what they stand for and represent them. Cultivate the same level of respect for our local brands as well. So they stand a fighting chance at foreign growth when the time comes.

Your first step is simple. Have the courage to admit, you have not been living up to your brand’s integrity. Then, muster the guts to fix it.

If you’re humble enough to do that, you’re halfway there already…



6 thoughts on ““It’s ok for the Guyana market.””

  1. Sharon, let me tell you exactly why the son of a guns will tell you that. The majority of them are thiefing the bloody brand money!

    You see those international companies, most of them give these local distributors and representatives a fat annual advertising budget; or a percentage to spend on marketing every year.

    If these guys are given US$30,000 they only spend US$3,000 instead. Which is why they never can afford to produce decent campaigns.

    All kind of obsticles they will conjure up. How things bad in the country, advertising agencies ain’t giving them what they want, “Is ok for the Guyana market”… all dem things.

    So you could try with your standards all you want, you ain’t going to penetrate some of them old thieves out deah. Trust me, tha is inside information.

  2. Wow! Now hold on a second Rodney W. “Dis is a serious allegation!”… to quote the words of a popular politician. You’ve now tempted me to ask, “… who’s de ‘alligator’?” But my acclaimed rules dictate that I remain objective to the issues.

    If indeed, that level of corruption is the case, then why haven’t these international companies conducted audits of their marketing spend? Can’t they see for themselves the sacrilegious mismanagement of their brands and investigate their local reps?

    These foreigners have the capacity to do these things. I find it abit hard to believe they allow it to get that far.

  3. I just saw my favourite TV ad and remembered VoiceOver. It’s a rice ad with a Wedding and a Rice Cooka. I do believe that that kind of ad is OK for the Guyana market. What do you think Sharon?

    Some-kinda-rice, any-kinda-rice : hahahahahah I love it.

  4. Yes Mike:

    I know the ad! It was quite entertaining. Very Guyanese in its expression.

    Realistically, it does not qualify as good advertising material. That ad is bad for the welfare of the brand as well.

    Our ads should never, ever communicate using ‘creoles dialogue’. It’s a shabby practice, used in an attempt to be funny and identify with a local audience whom we perceive to be stupid.

    ‘Creoles’ is a fun part of our culture, I agree. But it’s ‘not OK’ on national television. It portrays your brand as ‘empty-headed’ and further, it fosters a level of ignorance by encouraging our people to speak badly.

    So as hilarious as it may be, we really need to discontinue its use in our local advertising.

    Think about it! There always comes a time when ads like that, shop being funny and starts being annoying. You know why? It’s not the repetition, it’s the language. Not a smart scenario to subject brands to.

    So advertisers, listen up. Your brands have certain social responsibilities that go far beyond selling. Educating your consumer is one of them. So let’s advertise like we’ve been to school, shall we?

  5. Hmm. I don’t quite agree… if we were trying to sell the rice to the indian population we would dress the actors in saris and such, if we were trying to sell it to children we would use language that they are familiar and comfortable with… doesn’t it amount the the same thing with the creolese language?
    In Guyana whether rich or poor, black, brown or white we all speak a mixture of Creolese and English.

    Also, I think the Creolese actually brings a lot of humour to the ad. Humour is, unfortunately, rarely found in Guyanese ads.

    Empty-headed….again I don’t agree and I don’t think a lot of the people that use Creolese would appreciate you calling them empty-headed either.
    In Jamiaca and some other Caribbean islands they accept their second language, Patwa and versions of Creolese in some cases, as real languages and clearly distinguish it from English.
    I don’t want to turn this into a Creolese debate since I am neither pro or anti Creolese.

    Annoying? no… maybe becoming boring after a fair amount of time, yes (afterall – no one wants to hear the same joke over and over again)… but certainly not annoying…

    Advertise like we’ve been to school…. I’m not sure what that means.. but my limited knowledge and experience in the advertising field tells me that you have to reach your market wherever they are.. whether they speak Creolese or Patwa or the Queen’s English.

    When I go in de market, is only wan rice I does rememba, dat is Karibee rice and de rice-cooka…..

    Peace Lalljee

  6. I hear your points Mike:

    Note: *Let’s refrain from calling the product’s name directly. It’s not good for the brand, especially since we have mixed views on its advertising.

    Now for the issues:
    I agree that we need to imitate the Indian culture to some degree in order to relate to them. But we have to not get carried away with that and simultaneously represent the welfare of the brand in doing so. That’s the difference between skilled advertising and the unskilled type. Skilled advertising incorporates strategic ways of connecting, without violating a brand’s social responsibilities and image.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have no serious problem with our creoles-type Indian culture as it happens to be. But one must be able to draw the line as to the quality of the content that graces our television screens and our children’s minds. My concern is only of that, and brand’s values. So I must speak candidly.

    Humor, not necessarily the creole-type, is good in advertising if you can afford to keep refreshing your ads ever so often. If you can’t, it gets monotonous and in many cases annoying when it’s ‘creoles’, yes. Over the years I’ve continuously witnessed the disgusted reactions of audiences on this matter. They get annoyed and flip the channel or mute the TV. Then, they stew their teeth and fret about how stupid the ad is. That emotion gets carried over to the brand. So again, I reinforce, this is not a healthy scenario for a brand.

    Now for my statement on ‘empty-headed’, go back and read my comment. I never called ‘anyone’ empty-headed. I simply referred to the way a brand is usually perceived when we use creoles to advertise it. I still stand by that view. Because as enjoyable as the language may be when chatting among ourselves, we are in an English speaking country and there is a reason why English, not creoles, is our official language. It is not academically or socially acceptable on the wider scale. Same goes for broadcast media.

    In closing, I’m glad the ad was able to be memorable when you go to the market. But the fact is, an ad must do more than that. It must sell the product by communicating real selling points. That’s the only way it would ever be worth the client’s money.

    An ad like that would only sell to a limited few, by making its image inferior to the wider cross-section with equal buying potential. Believe it or not, it’s not only the creoles speaking Indian’s that eat rice.

    And I give this insight still holding the last name ‘Lalljee’.

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