Critical Exploration and Examination of the Importance of Language in Cross-Cultural Advertising


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International marketing practitioners and academicians alike continue to grapple with the issue of whether or not advertising programs should be standardized.  Advocates of standardization contend that because consumers and markets are becoming homogenous due to globalization, firms should standardize their advertising messages and programs across countries (Fam and Grohms, 2007: 519). On the contrary, critics are of the opinion that there is a need for adaptation of advertising programs to facilitate the acknowledgement of political, economic, and cultural differences found among consumers across countries. Indeed, critics contend that advertisements receive positive responses and acceptance from consumers if they have congruence with the local culture (Chan, Li, Diehl, and Terlutter, 2007: 609). Therefore, marketers that understand the local culture and tailor it to express its values are able to achieve success in the cross cultural advertisement (Fam and Grohms, 2007: 520). Past research cross-cultural marketing suggests that culture is significant in influencing consumers’ perceptions about brands and improving effectiveness of advertising programs (Mooj, 2009: 76). Furthermore, past research on cross –cultural advertising  has provided evidence showing that cultural differences  influence consumers conative, affective, and cognitive responses (Polyorat et al., 2005: 40).  These authors note that cultural aspects have a significant effect on the behavior of consumers to purchase global brands (Polyorat et al., 2005: 41; Mooij & Hofstede, 2002: 62). Moreover, it is reported that cultural features including color, sound, verbal communication strategy, and visual images explain decisions made by consumers to purchase and consume global brands (Callow and Schiffman 2002: 260; An, 2007: 320).