Procter & Gamble, like many other international corporations, learned U.S. portrayals of women in advertising are not always socially acceptable in other countries. In her book, “Soap Opera: The Inside Story of Procter & Gamble,” author Alecia Swasy relates the result of one misguided soap commercial.
“A Camay campaign pitched the soap as making women more attractive to men, a common theme in P&G advertising. The ad showed a Japanese man walking into the bathroom while his wife sat in the tub. Japanese women were offended because it is ‘bad manners for a husband to impose on his wife’s privacy while she is bathing,’ explained Mia Ishiguro, who worked on Camay in Japan. ‘Our consumers resented the breach of good manners and the overt chauvinism of the situation.’”
Sometimes it is body language, not written language, that gets lost in translation. Read about additional international advertisements that are perceived as sexist in the article “Some international ads are perceived as sexist due to different cultural norms,” by Globalization Group vice president Adam Wooten.