In the film "Up in the Air," a new consultant explains to the protagonist (a traveling businessman who spends most of his life flying from city to city, firing employees for companies that are too cowardly to do so themselves) and his boss, that his line of work is inefficient and overly expensive. Instead, the consultant argues, the company should become "glocal," by firing people over the internet, not in person.
When reading Sinclair's reading for last week, I immediately recalled the use of this word, and rewatched the film, only to find it amusing when I realized that it was only used as a "buzzword" in the film for the concept of telecommuting. To recall Sinclair's definition which he quoted from Robertson, glocalization, a concept that in his opinion was first developed as a marketing strategy by Sony in the late 1980's, is "the tailoring of global products for differentiated local markets." (69) Admittedly, the film was talking about the concept from a business perspective, not a humanities one, so it's possible it has different meanings in different contexts, but I doubt it. In fact, by this definition the protagonist's character does present a more "glocalized" perspective than the consultant, stating to her when they land in Detroit to fire some auto workers that "these guys have been hit hard," and that they should adjust their termination strategy to accommodate for that. Perhaps that was the point, to establish that the consultant, being younger and less experienced believed that the connection to the world provided by technology automatically created a glocalized product.
Sony was forced to come up with a strategy globalize its products to win in a international market in the 1980's that was pushing Japan as an economic threat that was deadly to its interests. Lee Iaccoca, then an industry executive at Ford Motors, was once even cited as saying in the early 1980's that the U.S. was "in the midst of another major war with Japan."
In "Up in the Air," the protagonist needed more human contact, not less to make his outsider presence effective on a local level. Likewise, Sony to remove the stigma of being an outside company, needed local companies to sell its products. With this in mind, it makes me wonder how "Up in the Air" which made over $79 million in foreign gross was marketed glocally by Paramount, the subsidiary of international mega giant Viacom (which certainly has some experience in these kinds of things.