de Pedro Ricoy, R. (2007). Internationalization vs. localization: The translation of videogame advertising. Meta 52(2), pp. 260-275. Retrieved from http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta/2007/v52/n2/016069ar.pdf
For her article, de Pedro Ricoy approaches the topic of localization versus internalization and the rhetoric employed in global video game advertising through the lens of translation theory, marketing, and semiology. The main research question seems to be centered on what type of analysis would be best suited to exploring and evaluating the marketing strategies of video game console developers as they reach out to global audiences, and whether it is localization or internationalization that is most prevalent in these strategies. With regards to the methodology, the author establishes the target audience for video game marketers by moving through the demographics of the players and the buyers as well as discussing the importance of global marketing strategies to the success of the top three video game console developers— Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo — as they spend millions of dollars in their quest to draw in new players while continuing to cater to existing fanbases. As she moves through her analysis of global advertisings by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, de Pedro Ricoy looks at examples of textual, static visuals (promotional images), and televised advertisements to explore how the companies’ marketing teams attempted to either localize their advertisements to a specific country/culture they were trying to reach, or internationalize their advertisements in order to reach the greatest number of potential buyers/players with the belief that globalization has eroded cultural boundaries.
The author highlights how certain advertisements were received in the countries they were targeting and notes how/why some failed (sometimes miserably) in those countries. de Pedro Ricoy (2007) concludes that “it seems that internationalizing strategies (which imply a degree of foreignization) are more prevalent than localizing strategies in the global campaigns for these products. Whilst different regions may have preserved their overall cultural singularity, certain demographic segments (young, relatively affluent consumers, in this instance) share a common identity that transcends geographical borders” (p. 273). She also lists four “examples of linguistic translation” that she uncovered while doing her research: “1) Literal translation, 2) Free translation, 3) gist translation, and 4) Generation of new text (based in a set of common features) in the context of copy adaptation” (de Pedro Ricoy, 2007, p. 273).
In regards to my own research, de Pedro Ricoy’s article is extremely useful as the author breaks down the global advertising strategies of the top three game console companies based not only on gender, but also on nationality, language, and cultural expectations. It is fascinating to think of all of the elements that have to be taken into account as the public relations and marketing teams plan the release of games and consoles, and how a misstep in any of the plans can lead to decreased interest in an entire country for the products associated with that console. One of the author’s examples that gave me pause was the lack of interest by Japanese consumers in Microsoft’s Xbox because Microsoft had chosen a date they thought would be auspicious without doing enough research to find out that Japanese employees would not be paid until a few days after the release date, leading the Japanese to doubt Microsoft’s ability to successfully localize their campaigns. As I move forward with my analysis of Sony’s “Greatness Awaits” campaign commercials in North America, de Pedro Ricoy’s article will give me a foundation through which to understand the rhetorical strategies that formed the basis of Sony’s approach to localizing their campaign to draw in an American audience.
A little music for the scholarship