Theodore Levitt The Globalization Of Markets

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In the May-June 1983 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Theodore Levitt sparked off a debate on the subject of standardization or localization of marketing with the publication of his article, The Globalization of Markets. Levitt contended that advertising and marketing programs and strategies could be standardized across markets because of widespread globalization. According to Levitt, globalization was causing a “monoculture” in which people across the globe were becoming very similar (Frith & Mueller 2004). Levitt contends that the world is becoming a common marketplace where people, irrespective of their place of residence desire the same products and lifestyles (Lynch 1984, quoted by Mueller 1992) and to the delight of U.S. based marketers, those desired products and lifestyles are often American (Mueller 1992). Levitt’s article certainly invited a plethora of scholastic research into the area of “culture” and “values” in advertising, with supporters and opponents, from various disciplines taking either a ‘pro or con’ stand on the homogenizing effect of globalization. For example, Sine (2000) wrote that patterns of consumption (as a result of globalized marketing efforts) are breeding ‘ a borderless youth culture,’ or as Naomi Klein (2000:129) puts it in a way that couldn’t be more succinct, “an army of teen clones marching in “uniform” as the marketers say – into a global mall.” Others had argued that globalization through one-way flow of media products and
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