[the following text has not been translated from Mandarin, for obvious
Why "Notice" Failed in North America
by John Cheng, Marketing Analyst for PacRim Securities
Much attention has focused on Matsushita's dramatic failure to capture
*any* share of North America's huge recreational beverage consumption
market. A variety of theories have been put forth for this unprecedented
and spectacular failure by what is now the worlds's largest entertainment
producer. Most of these theories have focused on Matsushita's formulation
of nootropics, which was particularly aggressive and poorly researched.
Indeed, it is the esteemed research arm of Matsushita which has born the
brunt of the resulting disciplinary initiative, itself the subject of much
discussion in the industry. It is importnat to consider whether
Matsushita may be castrating itself by chastising R&D, when in fact the
blame lies elsewhere. I believe it does: it is the Marketing division
which is responsible for this embarrassment.
The chosen name of the product, "Notice," went through an extensive QA
process, which involved marketing trials throughout Japan and parts of
Korea and Australia, with no trials attempted in North America. As is
well known to all who have followed this debacle, Matsushita decided on a
marketing strategy in NA that involved instant and total saturation, with
media drives to complete the feedback loop. For this reason, it was felt
that any NA market trials would signifcantly undermine the intensity of
the later Matsushita "blitzkrieg." No market trials of any kind were
attemped in North America. Australia was the only English speaking region
where any data was gathered.
Sales in trials were poor in Australia, but fair to brisk in Asia. While
there was concern among the controlling committe about poor performance in
Australia, the poor sales were eventually blamed on the prevailing
economic conditions, in addition to the burgeoning xenophobia that has
followed the rise of PacRim investment in Australia and New Zealand.
Unfortunately for Matsushita, it was eventualy decided to disregard the
marketing data generated in Australia. The committe remainied resolute,
and the marketing division readied its billion dollar(HK) advertising and
consumer conditioning campaign. Distribution bought bandwidth in all
available channels. On April 1, the product introduction began. We are
all aware of what followed.
As those of us in China are actutely aware, the Japanese consortia
continue to operate with a cultural chauvinism - or at the very least, a
characteristic unwillingness to appreciate cultural diversity - that fans
the flames of economicaly damaging xenophobia throughout the PacRim. In
this case, Matsushita did not offend any but themselves. For, if
Marketing had but *asked* even *one* native Anglophone, they would have
been told that the English word they chose as the translation of "Notice,"
"notice," reads in english as "not iced." It is well known that North
Americans prefer their recreational beverages cold, preferebaly with ice.
This kind of cultural chauvinism is not new in Multinational marketing:
thirty years ago the former American auto manufactuer, Chevrolet,
attempted to sell a car in Latin America named, "Nova," which means "Does
not travel," in Spanish. Chevrolet, like Matsushita, remained baffled by
their marketing failure.
At any rate, North Americans obviously refused to buy a product whose name
blatantly refuted the images promulageted by Matsushita's Marketing
campaign. As of this date, there is not yet any hard data supporting this
theory - but as I am sure most subscribers to this service recall from
their grammar-school English, this faux pas is quite obvious once it has
Thus will Matsushita's error take its place in Marketing folklore,
alongside the Chevrolet "Nova," and Coca-Cola's "Bite the Wax-Tadpole."
(Although, the latter is not a particularly good example, as most native
Chinese speakers did not read that transliteration in that manner in the
first place. However, this may be the exception that proves the rule.)
[sidebar to guest editorial, appearing only in the southern PacRim edition
of the Shanghai Media Post, same date and time]
The Reaction of Australian Consumers to "Notice"
by Kip Hawthorne, section analyst
A quick perusal of Matsushita's recently declassified (only through the
efforts of the National Information Mininstry) summary of their "Notice"
marketing trials in Sydney and Melbourne fail to show a single mention of
the bad connotation of the name "Notice," from being read as "Not Ice."
However, a full two-thirds of those surveyed expressed dislike for a
"persistent aftertaste," and the "strange color." For full details, see
Godel, Socrates, Tori Amos, W. S. Burroughs, Shakespeare, Trent Reznor,
Quentin Tarantino, Penn Jillette, Douglas Hofstadter, Yogi Berra, Turing,
Sartre, Ginsburg, Eco, Chuck Jones, Oliver Sacks, Orson Welles, Zappa,
Hawking, Michael Kinsley, Russell, Bugs Bunny, and my friend, Darien Large.
>the bad connotation of the name "Notice," from being read as "Not Ice."
>However, a full two-thirds of those surveyed expressed dislike for a
>"persistent aftertaste," and the "strange color." For full details, see
I was mildly entertained.
Until you made me think of warm Mountain Dew.
Bob "this could _almost_ justify a 'Mr. Yuk' emotican" O`Bob
Don't suppose anyone could come up with a version of that URL that works
with World Wide Web browsers, could they?
Or that one, for that matter.
"I had my first real beer (real meaning not sneaking it, or the .5
crap), and amazingly enough, I wasn't immediately surrounded by girls
in bikinis. Go figure...." --Rob Hoadley
: Don't suppose anyone could come up with a version of that URL that works
: with World Wide Web browsers, could they?
: : URL="htmp://archives.nim.au.gov/notice:importers:declassified:docs"
: Or that one, for that matter.
I knew I would have to spell things out, even though most people around
here are awfully bright.
This post of mine was a kind of satire intended to point out to English
speaking people the difficulty in making the kind of judgements involved
in deciding that things such as "I am a Jelley Roll," and "No Go" are
gaffes. Most often they are not. This effort on my part was inspired by
the amazingly silly claim that appeared here in afu that there are
tee-shirts somewhere in Asia (Japan?) that say "How do you want to be
taken?" advertising Microsoft. (Of course, I am not saying that the
shirts don't "say" that, just that the humor or gaffe part of it is an
artifact of the translation back to English, and is a colloquialism.)
This kind of thing is oft discussed in afu, whether or not it is germaine
to urban folklore, and I thought it might be helpful to provoke some
careful thought about languages and translation.
As far as getting the URL to work, you might want to wait 11 years, and
see if it works then.
-Keith "but perhaps Dave is being coy?" Ellis