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October 2, 2013
AdLand Opens Minds
 
To be successful in the marketing and advertising industry now, one cannot help but be open-minded. Being open-minded in this wonderful landscape we call home exposes us to so many new ideas and cultures and challenges our thinking. One should never turn a good challenge away.

The marketing and advertising industry allows us to peer into the social fabric, to see how and why people think the way they do. It allows us to reaffirm or adjust our way of thinking about specific audiences. For example, in our experience with the fitness industry, self-defense is much more popular with women than men. But when we actually change the wording, and change "self-defense" to the actual discipline being taught, like jiujitsu or krav maga, the tables suddenly turn.

As for cultural understandings, a great one hit our LinkedIn inbox just the other day.

Fashion Central, an apparel and accessories store, recently announced its grand opening...in Pakistan.

In Lahore, to be exact.

Naturally, our Western ethnocentricity kicked in, thinking that this message was some sort of spam. But thankfully our curiosity got the better of us, and we clicked the link. And it is all true. Fashion Central opened up its first multi-brand store in a mall in Pakistan, and it is literally trying to tell the entire world. 

The website looks like any other Western fashion site, with ads on the side and men and women all over the site. But with all the negative talk about Pakistan, let alone the West's view of its culture, who would have thought? How cool.

With a following of nearly a quarter million on Facebook, and appearances of the Pakistani cricket team (similar to the USA Basketball team showing up) in support, Fashion Central is taking its promotion cues from the same textbook.

Indeed, it is even using a public relations firm, Lotus PK, based in Pakistan.

We're not so different, you and I.

It is just exciting to see cultural stereotypes being blown out the window. Fashion Central in Lahore, Pakistan, in combination with Lotus, is doing work. Let's hope there is a day when stuff like this is no longer exciting, but expected. Let's see Lotus PK compete internationally, with homegrown, U.S. firms. How cool would that be? That would be a way to keep and nurture talent.

Well, until then.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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