Culture matters II

727011161601444_1 Culture matters for marketing.

Of course it does.  Quaker bought Snapple for $1.7 billion dollars in 1993 and sold it 3 years later for $330 million.  Culture changed.  Quaker missed it.  In this case, culture mattered to the tune of $1.3 billion. 

Culture matters to the balance sheet, and so it matters to anyone interested in marketing, branding, ethnography, design, product development, strategy, trend watching, investment strategy, and innovation.

Culture matters, for instance, because it tells us:

1. that and how the new Acura MDX ad campaign is flawed. 

[the culture key: Acura tapped the wrong body of cultural meanings for this campaign.  For an elaboration, please go here. ] 

2. that and how the new campaign for Volvo is near note perfect.

[the culture key: the creative choices were the strategic choices.  Elaboration here.]

3. that department stores might have a chance to restore themselves to greatness or at least profit.

[the culture key: department stores are better at managing consumer dynamism than the brand boutique.  Elaboration here.]

4. the sudden rise and new celebrity of Rachael Ray

[the culture key: that Ms. Ray defined herself in opposition to Whole Foods, Chez Panisse and Martha Stewart. Elaboration here.]

5. how nearly Disney destroyed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

[the culture key: the Disney team nearly meddled Johnny Depp’s performance. Elaboration here.]

6. what drives the artisanal trend.

[the culture key: there are 10 trend drivers. Elaboration here.]

[Forgive me using my own statements of how culture matters for marketing.  They are the ones I know best.] 

Tomorrow, we’ll look at marketers and marketing theorists who don’t know that culture matters. 


Harrison, Lawrence and Samuel Huntington.  2000.  Culture Matters: How values shape human progress.  New York: Basic Books.

5 thoughts on “Culture matters II

  1. jens

    here is a paradoxon:
    marketers who don’t know that culture matters drive a bmw.
    but marketers who create bmw know that culture matters.

  2. berto

    Oh. You’re referencing Samuel Huntington? I hope that’s as a person who doesn’t know a whit about culture…

  3. berto

    oops. didn’t see the first one. Huntington’s a total moron. I’m glad to see you’re not holding him up as a good example.

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