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Advertising, Cross-Cultural

Katja Gelbrich and Holger Roschk


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With the globalization of markets, advertisers are faced with the question whether to internationally standardize their campaigns or to tailor them to each country's target audience. This controversial issue is discussed in the so-called standardization/differentiation debate in international marketing literature. Although standardization has the advantage of saving cost, companies that stress global standardization do not necessarily perform better than others ( Samiee & Roth 1992 ). This is because standardized advertising campaigns run the danger of misunderstanding and violating cultural rules in the target markets. Hence, cultural differences are a reason why many companies favor a more localized approach ( Kanso & Nelson 2002 ). Culture can be defined as the collective programming of the mind ( Hofstede 1984 ; →  Culture: Definitions and Concepts ). This means that individuals of the same culture share specific values, i.e., they agree on what is considered to be desirable. Several theories (e.g., learning theories, cognitive dissonance theory, and cognitive response theory) and related empirical findings suggest that advertising is most persuasive if it conforms with what recipients consider to be desirable ( Gengler & Reynolds 1993 ; →  Advertising Effectiveness ; Advertising as Persuasion ; Cognitive Dissonance Theory ). Therefore, effective advertising ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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