Metaphors around the world

These are two wonderful examples of how brands have applied a metaphor globally, with subtle but important tweaks to accommodate cultural nuances.

For years now, Johnnie Walker has used its iconic “walking man” logo as a powerful icon across the world, but it has done so in different ways that you might not be familiar with.

In Mexico, the phrase “Keep Walking” has been used to symbolize the country’s economic progress.  In the US, it symbolizes cultural progress and diversity.  In India, “Keep Walking” is about individual achievement and striving for personal success. In China, the phrase has become a toast, symbolizing how men collectively help one another through life’s many challenges.

Similarly, Unilever has adapted its “Dirt is Good” campaign, which it uses for a number of its laundry detergent brands, including Persil, globally.

In the western world, dirt has many positive connotations – think about phrases like “Getting your hands dirty” or “Down to earth.”  Dirt symbolizes hard work, humility, and groundedness. 

Dirt is usually the enemy of detergents, but Unilever frames dirt as the symbol of childhood play, freedom, and togetherness.  This was a challenge in much of Asia, where dirt is closely linked to poverty and disease. Therefore, in Indonesia, Unilever connected dirt to a social purpose. Its communication in that country is still about play, but also about how play helps your child acquire the tools s/he needs to become successful in life.