What is Actually New in Bulgarian Brand Landscape?

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  • 1. WHAT is ACTUALLY NEW in BULGARIA as BRANDED AREA? BEFORE/NOW Dimitar Trendafilov PhD Candidate New Bulgarian University, Sofia International workshop: Brands, Dreams, and Spaces:Making Markets through Marketing and Consumption in Post-Socialist Economies? Sofia 17th-19th May 2012
  • 2. Preliminary notesBeyond the Iron Curtain, 1967 (B. Feddersen, Germany): No matter how great the demand and how serious the need is for the certain product, the product will not be imported if the planning commission has decided that other products are of greater importance to the economy. but a large number of Western companies do good business with Eastblock anyway; they were mainly big concerns with long history and trading experience (i.e. they had connections and information about the market opportunities). Before deciding to import a product from non-communist country, a Communist country first tried to fill the gap from their Socialist partners. Even at that time, when two sides of the world had business contacts, there were some ad materials trade journals, product catalogues, booklets. Eastblock needed goods as well as know-how.
  • 3. You have your Lenin, we have our LennonRecycling the Western pop-information in 80s (G. Bar-Haim, 1989):There is no vacuum in society, thus: The lack of credibility in ideology propagated by Eastblock authorities and inadequacy of local labor heroes as a role models encouraged the youngsters to seek intentionally and with high motivation the more information possible about Western rock, pop, sport, and film stars and to copy certain lifestyles and behavior. The sources were foreign students and few local people who were permitted to travel abroad and brought Western magazines, various goods, video tapes as well as all kinds of rumors and gossips about the life beyond the Berlin wall. The Western system was a symbol of newness, action, speed, fashion, and, of course, of individuality and freedom [predominantly of expression and choice] vs. sedentary, supervised, and unproductive live in their own countries. Eastblock youngsters decode and recode the pop-culture information from the West 1) taking it out from the original context, and 2) using it for different purposes [seeking alternatives and as kind of protest, not for consumption].
  • 4. An alternative lookGlobal Advertising Failure in Bulgaria (in Symplok magazine, 2001)by Josh Parker (observations from journey in 1998): first impression (aesthetics) grey Communism vs. colorful environment of branded streets, buildings and shops second impression no advertising efficacy (= B. Barber, S. Zyman). third impression big ad signs and billboards vs. knee-shops (windows). forth impression advertising as drug. fifth impression western advertisements removed from its own context
  • 5. Brands products but = ad paraphernaliaParker puts several points under discussion: a lack of disposable capital in post-Soviet Eastern Europe the disability of western corporations to predict the dynamics of these societieswhen they launched their global marketing plans in new territories. home-made marketing using American brands and characters Coke + hard liquor extremely branded public areas ( N. Klein) small traditional groups vs. global advertising ad images makes impoverishment more visibleAdvertising, its been said, is capitalisms way to say I love you to itself. It does nottend to repeat these words to anyone outside the system it creates.
  • 6. Anthropological concernsIn advertising terms, people in this and many other parts of the world are leavingin a cultural Dream Time. They see objects for what day are without haze ofcommercial associations.But the main problem for Easterners is that while they may buy these[western/branded] products, their chances of working for the companies thatproduce them is, at the moment, small and since they come from culture wherepeople tent to see their identities as a function of what they produce rather than ofwhat they consume, this system of images fails them doubly.the semiological system used by advertising cant be understood without propertraining. (based on William Leiss and Stephen Kline)
  • 7. International face of Bulgaria; advertising mimicry Brand Vekho It is written with Latin characters These automobiles are made in Bulgaria. For its roads, for itsCaprice, a perfumery drivers. brand
  • 8. What happened then?Economic impulse after 2001 (it increased the access to brands and the volume ofadvertising production)International brands presence raisedMore experience with products and brandsMore, various and adequate information sourcesMore traveling abroadFirst post-socialist generation has entered the market recently (it has new kind ofmemory; it perceives brands and advertising as a fact)At last brands are objects of consumption and choice, not of protest or alternativesMall and outlet fever in last years re-defines the perception of brands
  • 9. Move with the times?
  • 10. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION!
  • 11. Durankev, Boyan (1996) [, ], The Beginning and the End of the Third WW [ ], : (Sofia: Economy University publishing house);Alden, Dana, Steenkamp, Jan-Benedict E.M., Batra, Rajeev (1999), Brand Positioning Through Advertising in Asia North America, and Europe: the Role of Global Consumer Culture, in The Journal of Marketing, Vol. 63, 1 (Jan.) , pp. 75-87;Barber, Benjamin (1996), Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorisms Challenge to Democracy, New York/Toronto: Ballantine Books;Bar-Haim, Gabriel (1989), Actions and Heroes: The Meaning of Western Pop Information for Eastern European Youth, in British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 40, 1 (Mar.), pp. 22-45; R E F E R E N C E S:Coulter, Robin A., Price, Linda L., Feick, Lawrence (2003), Rethinking the Origins of Involvement and Brand Commitment: Insights from Postsocialist Central Europe, in Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 30, 2 (Sept.), pp. 151-169;Feddersen, Berend (1967), Markets behind the Iron Curtain, in The Journal of Marketing, Vol. 31, 3, pp.1-5;Hamilton, F.E. Ian (1999), Transformation and Space in Central and Eastern Europe, in The Geographical Journal, Vol. 165, 2 (July), pp. 135-144;Klein, Naomi (2000), No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; GB: Flamingo;Parker, Josh (2001), Global Advertisings Failure in Bulgaria, in Symplok, Vol. 9, 1/2, Globalism & Theory, University of Nebraska Press, pp.132-144.Zyman, Sergio, Brott, Armin (2002), The End of Advertising As We Know It, Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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