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What you don’t see
Communicate finds out how one lingerie brand tries to be out there without causing outrage
February 9, 2011 4:31 by Sidra Tariq
Trendy in. Sexy out. No, we’re not talking about Communicate’s 2011 wardrobe. We are referring to a recent La Senza radio advertisement where the word “sexy” was replaced with “trendy” to suit the region’s – you got it – cultural sensitivities.
The ad was part of the lingerie brand’s campaign to promote the makeover of its Mall of the Emirates store in Dubai. La Senza is part of Canadian company Limited Brands and is represented in the Arab region by Liwa Trading Enterprises.
The self-censorship in La Senza’s campaign doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, this is the region where we can see headless (by law) mannequins in Sharjah, and where the franchise of US company Naked Pizza is re-named NKD Pizza.
For the UAE market, the La Senza radio ad goes a little like this. “ABCDEFG, make my Cs into double Ds. Sassy? Trendy? Which one’s for me? There’s a store where all’s revealed…”
“Sexy was definitely not allowed,” says Joanne Jow, regional brand manager at Liwa Trading Enterprises. “We tried to replace it with ‘flirty’ and we were told [by our media agency] that it would be better not to use flirty either.”
However, she says changing the word in the radio script wasn’t a problem. When you have to market a product such as lingerie in the region, you have to keep cultural sensitivities in mind, and this forces marketers to be creative in terms of strategy.
Across La Senza’s markets, the message is the same, but the approach is different, says Jow. “In terms of marketing, the imagery and strategy is directed or deemed by the principles. However, the imagery that is allowed to be used in a Western country, let’s say the UK or US, is obviously very different from what we can use here. We take the marketing and direction from Limited Brands, then tailor it to suit this market, ensuring we consider cultural sensitivity.”
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