How to culture is learned
Anthropologists have identified three distinct forms of cultural learning: formal learning in which adults and older siblings teach a young family member “how to behave” ; informal learning, in which a child learns primarily by imitating the behavior of selected others, such as family , friends, or TV heroes; and technical learning, in which teachers instruct the child in an educational environment about what should be done, how it should be done, and why it should be done. Although a firm’s advertising can influence all three types of cultural learning, it is likely that many product advertisements enhance informal cultural learning by providing the audience with a model of behavior to imitate. This is especially true for visible or conspicuous products that are evaluated in public settings (such as designer clothing, cell phones, or status golf clubs), where peer influence is likely to play an important role. Additionally, ”not only are cultural values cited in advertising copy, they also are often coded in the visual imagery, colors, movements, music, and other nonverbal elements of an advertisement. The repetition of a advertising messages creates and reinforces cultural beliefs and values. For example, many advertisers continually stress the same selected benefits of their products or services. Ads for wireless phone service often stress the clarity of their connection, or the nationwide coverage of their service, or the free long distance calling, as well as the flexibility of their pricing plans. It is difficult to say whether wireless phone subscribers inherently desire these benefits form their wireless service providers or whether, after several years of cumulative exposure to advertising appeals stressing these benefits, they have been taught by marketers to desire them. In a sense, although specific product advertising may reinforce the benefits that consumers want form the product (as determined by consumer behavior...
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