With numerous multinational corporations peddling their products here in Argentina, scores of familiar brands such as Dove, Oreo, Hellmann's, Colgate, Gillette, Raid, Glade, Pampers and Pantene compete for consumers' attention and pesos in the local supermercado.
In some cases, your favorite products might be hiding in plain sight right there on the shelf because those clever marketers have rebranded the name and/or logo to make the item more appealing to the sensibilities of Argentine consumers.
Here's a sample of some products that have undergone a branding transformation for the Argentine market:
Pledge – Blem/GloCot [SC Johnson & Son]
Tide – Ace [Procter & Gamble]
Clorox – Ayudín [The Clorox Company]
Snuggle – Vivere/Comfort [Unilever]
Crystal Light – Clight [Kraft]
Surf – Skip [Unilever]
Degree – Rexona [Unilever]
Sunsilk – Sedal [Unilever]
Vive – Elvive [L'Oréal]
By the way, if you find yourself in a pharmacy or other store where you must ask for the product instead of merely plucking it off the shelf, make sure you pronounce the name in Spanish-inflected English or no one will have a clue what you're asking for. Tragically, the pronunciation of some brand names is often a shot in the dark. Colgate, for example, is pronounced according to the rules of Spanish [kohl-GAH-tay] while Dove is pronounced closer to how we say it in English.
Mr. Clean vs. Mr. Músculo
It's also amusing to compare the differences in brand mascots across cultures. Let's put Mr. Clean (U.S.) and Mr. Músculo (Argentina) head-to-head to see how they size up.
Procter & Gamble's iconic Mr. Clean, with his gleaming bald head, impressive biceps and gold hoop earring, looks as though he can get the job done. According to our friends at Wikipedia, "the original model for the image of Mr. Clean was a United States Navy sailor from the city of Pensacola, Florida." Mr. Clean has been banishing grime since 1957, but he's yet to travel to South America.
Mr. Músculo, brought to you by the folks at SC Johnson & Son, sports washboard abs, a white lab coat and a slicked-back 'do. With the slogan "La ciencia de la limpieza difícil," it appears that Mr. Músculo favors the brains over brawn approach to cleaning, though his physique says otherwise. The brand was created in 1986, but the superhero mascot didn't come about until late 2008; Mr. Músculo is clearly an upstart. The Mr. Músculo brand is sold throughout Latin America.
For those of you who live abroad, how important is brand recognition for you? Do you find that you gravitate toward familiar brands that remind you of home?
[Mr. Clean image © Procter & Gamble / Mr. Músculo image © SC Johnson & Son]