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More from the book:

Marieke de Mooij, 2004, Consumer Behaviour and Culture: Consequences for Global Marketing and Advertising, Illustrated, Sage Publication, United States of America

And a bit from the book:

Anholt, S 2000, Another One Bites The Grass: Making Sense of International Advertising, Ad Week Book, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., United States of America

Culture and Value

Different culture means different value and therefore different preference. This seems like a simple thing to understand but many advertisers somehow leave out this fact when developing an advertising campaign. Understanding culture and value of the consumer is absolutely crucial because this is the key ingredient of a successful advertising. Culture is what ties group of people together. It includes beliefs, attitudes, norms, roles and values which have been passed on from generation to generation. These attributes then became a set of rules that help manage people’s behaviour within one’s society (often defined by geographic region). “Value is preference of one stage of being over another” (Mooij, M.D 2004, pp. 23). It’s the first few things that children would unconsciously learn growing up, mostly from their parents and other grown ups around them. Some examples would be freedom, equality, fairness, achievement, and democracy for American; pragmatism and hard work for Japanese; and Chinese Confucian values. Despite of modernization, these traditional attitudes continues to influence consumer behaviour and how they react to different advertising messages.


Other than understanding consumer’s culture and value, there are some other minor factors to be considered when launching a global-scale advertising campaign. One is the importance of familiarity. Recognition and judgment of emotions or expressions of emotion vary across culture. Expressions of emotion are something people learn growing up in particular culture and therefore it’s important to find culturally correct expressions. Expression such as protruding your tongue, for example, means ‘contempt’ in Western culture but ‘surprise’ in Chinese culture. In addition, because emotions are better understood from facial expressions, it’s wise for advertisers to select the right expressions as well as the right face. Language is another factor to be considered. It’s not the most important thing but it’s something to think about when creating an international campaign. As stated by Simon Anholt, “Language is often the first thing people worry about when planning an international ad campaign. Perhaps it should be the last.” What he meant is advertisers should first worry about what are the concept of the campaign and weather it is the suitable one for that particular culture or not, then should worry about translating it to the correct language. Linking it back to the previous paragraph of ‘Culture and Value’, it’s important for the advertisers to always have their priority in place.

I will write more about Simon Anholt’s reading a little later ‘cause it’s lunch time!


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