Culture is a minefield. Tread carefully.
By Prisma News
“It’s just a t-shirt design, what’s the big deal?” Perhaps that’s the thought that ran through the head of the t-shirt designer, whose design became part of a World-Cup inspired product line at Target stores. Or perhaps the designer didn’t give it any thought, considering that the shirt simply features “Spain” along with a Spanish flag graphic.
Only it’s the wrong Spanish flag. The flag of Franco‘s Spain, to be precise. And that’s a problem.
Target has since apologized for the oversight and says it is pulling the shirts from its stores. This is oddly familiar to an incident in 2006 at Wal-Mart, where a blogger discovered a t-shirt that featured a skull icon that belonged to the Nazi “Totenkopf” SS Division.
Odds are, neither Target nor Wal-Mart actually designed their t-shirts in house, but they definitely assumed any potential liability, not the least of which is negative PR.
The lesson in all this is to remember that culture is more than the written or spoken word and encompasses such diverse things as colors, sounds, flags, images, maps, icons, music and pop-culture references. To communicate safely and effectively, we can’t rely on our own limited frames of reference but need to verify our assumptions with cultural experts and global communication professionals.
(via Agency Spy)