Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Western Presence in Emerging Markets: A Content Analysis of Western Presence in South African Television Commercials

Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Western Presence in Emerging Markets: A Content Analysis of Western Presence in South African Television Commercials

Article excerpt


There is major growth opportunity for businesses entering emerging markets. Advertising to consumers within these markets is an issue that marketing strategists must examine in order to prepare for success. In this content analysis of an emerging market's (South Africa) primetime television, a snapshot of the local advertising landscape is examined in order to identify the current level of western investment. This study seeks to provide insight on the languages spoken, the ethnicity of the actor, and the products marketed in these advertisements to have an idea about the strategies being employed by western companies to communicate in this emerging market.

Keywords: Emerging markets, Advertising, Content analysis, South Africa

1. Introduction

Business has shown an increasing interest in the world's emerging markets, which is fueled by "the relatively high returns recorded by emerging markets and by their perceived potential for large returns in the future" (Porter 1993). Emerging markets are where the most growth potential lies in today's marketplace (Arnold and Quelch 1998). Characterized as being highly volatile, emerging markets also have the potential to provide higher than average returns, making it attractive to global business (Barry and Lockwood, 1995; Mwenda, 2000; Kehl, 2007). With these emerging markets now making up almost 80% of the world's consumers (Steenkamp& Burgess, 2002), understanding communication with these consumers is one of the most valuable areas for companies to undertake in order to capitalize on this opportunity. South Africa is of particular interest for business investors because it is the only Sub-Saharan country in Africa that is internationally recognized as an emerging market (Kehl 2007). With a population of about 50 million people and a Gross Domestic Product of $500 Billion (South African Census 2011), the potential for returns in the relatively untapped African market makes this country a prime target for investment.

Several recent studies have examined the increasing interests of global and multinational firms in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically South Africa. Some of the authors expressed divergent views in terms of short- and long-term objectives of international businesses in the country (Bloom &Reene, 2006; Escribano&Guasch, 2005). Others were consistent in their positions regarding investment opportunities, overall incentives, and strategic intent of South Africa's global business partners (Taylor, 2009; World Bank, 2006). Increasingly, research findings indicate that some multinational corporations and investors lack adequate knowledge of the challenges and issues associated with business and entrepreneurial climate in sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank, 2006; Taylor, 2009). As the trend of globalization intensifies and corporations are exploring emerging markets, lack of knowledge about the business climate and frustrations resulting from the challenges involved in dealing with cultural and economic situations in the country may be causing the reluctance to invest in these countries. Indeed, South Africa is no exception to this investment situation as the business environment and investment opportunities in the country call for political, cultural, and economic understanding and adjustment. In spite of these challenges, there are Western companies that are successfully conducting business in South Africa (Kehl 2007). The question that is then posed by this study is how visibly present or invested are these companies in marketing communications in this country and what are the attributes use during this communication.

Holsti (1969) defines content analysis as "any technique for making inferences by objectively and systematically identifying specified characteristics of messages." In this content analysis of South African primetime television, the goal is to identify the level of western investment in that country by counting the frequency of advertising that markets western originated products, goods, and services. …

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