Over at IABC Café, Julie Freeman remarks on the amazing adaptations that cartoon characters undergo to compete in new cultural markets.
Fictional characters are of course more pliable than corporate identities, but at the same time, companies like Disney and Marvel have a very strong sense of the core values of their characters. Those values cannot be thrown away for commercial convenience in a particular market because of the potential damage to the worldwide brand (e.g. Spiderman or Mickey Mouse.)
The lesson for those of us involved in "cultural translation"?
Look carefully at what the core message is, very often we cling to particular forms of expression or outward formulas too strongly. The behaviours and attitudes that the message create in the audience are more important (day to day) than creating a monolithic "image identity."