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Ethnic Marketing in Indonesia Essay

Indonesia’s national slogan « Bhinneka ika tungat. » that means unity and diversity, is a strong local motto that celebrates differences, specially the demographic one. This slogan was adopted at independence in 1945. This can indicate in a first approach a strongly united population, a country where people are allowed to practice and conserve their ethnic Identity. But this never was the general case in Indonesia. There is this insidious ordinary racism in the country that takes place in their everyday living.

Because this sacred diversity is however limited to ethnic groups with claims to a territory: this includes the Javanese, the Sundanese and the Madurese. There are other local groups that are not as significant. For the other groups that can not have the same claims, it is another story especially when it comes to the Chinese Indonesian. Being migrants with powerful and strategic positions, they are often excluded by the population or they exclude themselves.

If this is how the Indonesian society can be perceived, it isn’t the same when it comes to the marketing approach. It can be said that it is not that simple to talk about ethnic marketing in Indonesia when it is related to physical characteristics. If the comparison was made with Singapore, It is much easier to identify that a person belongs to a certain ethnic group when she is shown in an advertisement. It becomes more delicate when the ethnic groups have a lot of similarities.

Even if Chinese, Indo or Arab origins Indonesians are not accepted everywhere or not recognized as true Indonesian by a part of the society, they still have their place and are represented for marketing purposes. We can give an example of Western Union: For the first Ad, adressed to the chinese Indonesian poulation, the person is an office working man, we would rather think that he has a good salary and is educated. The emphasis here is about the importance of the speed of the transaction.

For the second Ad, more adressed to Indonesians with claims of territory, The main character is a little girl that due to the received money, could go to school. It shows the importance that is taking girls education in those groups. When it comes to the language, companies that operate at a national level generally use Indonesian or English for their advertisement campaigns. The use of a specific language related to a group is more likely to stay in the frame of small companies that operates in veryrestricted areas.


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