Colors are symbolic all over the world, but they do not mean the same thing everywhere. White is almost universally a color of purity, but in China, India and Japan, it is also the color of mourning. Consider the color versus yellow when thinking about bravery. In the US, a coward is called “yellow,” but in Britain, a white feather is the symbol of a cowardly fighting rooster.
Your ads or videos might include greetings, such as a handshake or a hug. But these are taken very differently in many areas. A handshake is considered respectful and friendly in most of the Western world; however, a Japanese person might not like it if you initiate physical contact. Many Muslims and Orthodox Jews avoid physical contact with the opposite sex. A hug, in many Latin countries is common, but here in the US we might be stunned if someone hugged us at the first meeting.
Lastly, there’s language and idioms. We all know, in any country, not to say bad things about someone’s mother or otherwise curse at someone. But there are regional differences that are more subtle. The word “love” is used differently between the US and Latin America. We use the word love for a lot of things, but not everyone does. Take for example, McDonald’s “I’m lovin it.” “Amo” – love is used in Brazil in this ad. But in Spanish, they say “me encanta,”which literally means “I’m enchanted/taken by it.” If you love sports in Latin America, you are a “big fan.” To “amar” – to love from the heart, is only used in deep romantic relationships in Spanish. So if your ad talks about “amar” something, this could put off a Spanish speaker.
There’s a lot to think about when marketing around the world, and being sensitive to local culture is key to success.