| Inter-cultural Communications | |‘Advertising depends on culture specific influences, such as differences in communication styles, communication | |objectives, information processing, cultural attitudes or linguistic characteristics. These specific conditions | |determine the nature of advertising practices in different markets’ (Stottinger and Holzmuller, 2001). Discuss, using | |relevant examples. | |
Is it possible to persuade consumers in different markets with the same advertising message? Will they respond positively? Or rather should the advertising message be adapted to mirror local culture? Target audiences differ from culture to culture in terms of how they perceive or interpret messages and symbols encoded in advertising, respond to humour or emotional appeals, as well as in levels of literacy and languages spoken. ‘Cultures endow individuals with different rules or principles that provide guidance for the set of norms and cultural knowledge.’ Issues like local traditions, attitudes, common lifestyles or even economical conditions should be taken into account while planning to launch a successful advertising campaign. The process of decoding the advertising message by consumers in different markets should be considered as well. It is necessary to mention that an advertising message encoded in one cultural context does not necessarily have to be embedded in a different one.
To start with, I would like to emphasize the emergence of international advertising which entails dissemination of a commercial message to target audiences in more than one country. Therefore, international advertising is considered as an intercultural communication process. It mediates in multiple environments, cultures and societies that differ in terms of communication styles, ethics or consumption patterns. All these activities comprise for a nationwide industry. In international advertising campaigns certain cultural or social values are revealed as well as particular worldwide values are propagated. In global markets the process of communicating to a target audience is more complex because communication takes place across multiple contexts, heterogeneous cultures which differ in terms of language, literacy, and other cultural factors. Because of the addressers’ incapability to read the message due to literacy problems, a certain message could easily be misinterpreted. People may add some unintended meanings to the symbols applied to the advertised product. There are also major differences in the way of encoding certain advertised message by the public. ‘Cultural influence is investigated in studies of consumer behaviour. It involves a trade‐off between different aspects of advertised products and types of media used to promote certain products.’ In order for the message to attract the attention of the target audience appropriate media channels have to be chosen. TV commercials may only reach a fairly selected audience in certain cultures. Print advertising surely will not be successful in countries where there are low literacy levels. South American people respond mostly to radio advertising as popular music constitutes an essential part of their local culture. The cultural contexts have impacts on the efficiency of communication. Hall (1976) in his book Beyond culture argues that in high context cultures, such Japan and China, people are usually more effectively reached by image or appeals to emotions. However, De Mooij (1988) says that in low context cultures (most of Western societies) information...
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