There's a shift in Europe to a more homogeneous, centrally-managed Apple - much like it is in the U.S., but I'm not sure that it will work. Europe is a loosely associated collection of neighboring countries with starkly different cultures. The United States, on the other hand, are closely knit units with similar cultures. If Apple is planning to market its products to Europe as a single unit rather than a group of discrete societies they're bound to have problems.
Apple has it tough in Europe. The problem is that Europe still isn't a common market like the U.S. The Netherlands, UK, France, Spain, Germany and Hungary all have very different cultures. Each country in Europe has different ways of doing similar things. The way they advertise, enjoy lunch, the time they have dinner, the jokes they find funny are completely different from one country to another.
In The Netherlands, for example, they have very liberal opinions on gay marriage, drugs, premarital sex, abortion and euthanasia, but you can't sell cars with ads featuring naked women. Whereas in other countries nudity in advertising is acceptable but everything else mentioned above is not.
Apple Europe is managed from France and there is a perception in parts of Europe that Apple's central rulings often seems ridiculous. Advertising is virtually non-existent, apart from some random billboards and television commercials and ads come off as enigmatic.
Although Apple's marketing strategy appears to be working in the U.S., they shouldn't force a single generic marketing message down the throats of Europeans. It won't be effective and has the potential to alienate one of Apple's largest and fastest growing markets.
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