What does the clothing company Dolce and Gabbana have to do with Cultural Literacy? In China, this huge Italian company is facing a sharp decline in both stores and online sales. In fact, the Chinese are posting videos online of themselves burning Dolce and Gabbana clothes or using them to clean toilets. All this backlash is the result of a culturally insensitive television commercial. In a CNN article, Lane Crawford, a Hong Kong-based fashion retailer, summed up the reason: “We believe that brands need to be aware of the cultural implications of their actions and understand the potential backlash when customers feel their values have been disrespected."
Nazareth Prep ninth-grade students understand the importance of researching culture as an essential marketing practice and demonstrated this knowledge in their first trimester Cultural Literacy projects. They addressed the question, “What is teenage life like in other countries?” After exploring various cultures by going to view the University of Pittsburgh Nationality Rooms, hosting international students, and exploring countries online each student picked a country -- and thus a culture -- to explore. Each student created a marketing persona to illustrate their knowledge of their country. Each student presented their persona to their class and offered suggestions for how a US-based clothing company might expand to this new market in ways that respected the country’s culture and values.
Dolce and Gabbana could have used some of our cultural-sensitive ninth graders on their team! This project is just one example of how Nazareth Prep students tackle real-world, relevant problems in the classroom. Through project based learning that connects to what is happening locally, nationally and globally, Nazareth Prep students are positioned for success in college, career and life