Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Cultural Influence on Perceptions of Advertising Creativity: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of U.S. and Korean Advertising Students

Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Cultural Influence on Perceptions of Advertising Creativity: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of U.S. and Korean Advertising Students

Article excerpt


A successful international advertising campaign should be based on a reliable and valid assessment of cultural differences, such as attitudes, beliefs, motivations, and values, while avoiding aspects of culture that might lessen the impact of advertising investment. This study examined the perceptional differences of advertising creativity between advertising students in two culturally dissimilar countries, South Korea and the U.S. In this attempt, two pervasively tested scales, the Koslow, Sasser, and Riordan scale and the CAT scale, were used to have a more composite understanding of perceptional differences. Significant differences were detected in numerous measures of the two scales, indicating that perceptional differences in identifying advertising creativity do exist between two countries. Thus, practically, the results suggest a localization strategy that recommends the use of separate message to promote the same product in a foreign culture rather than a standardized strategy.

Keywords: advertising creativity, perception, cross-cultural, localization strategy

1. Introduction

Understanding the culture of a local market is particularly important for international marketers. In general, international marketers have two options in promoting their products depending upon the similarity and dissimilarity of a local culture: standardization and localization. The standardization method is used when the culture of a certain market is similar to the marketers' own culture whereas the localization approach is preferred when the culture of a foreign market is considerably different from their own. For the former type of markets, marketers use a common, unified approach to promote the product as they would do in their own countries. On the contrary, for the latter type of markets, separate advertising messages are typically implemented for the same product (Papsvassiliou & Stathakopoulos, 1997).

With greater research interest in international marketing, especially in standardization and localization strategy, advertising creativity has also become an important topic in international marketing literature. A great number of cross-cultural studies have been conducted to determine cultural influence on differences in advertising creativity using anthropological reasoning, such as Hall's high-low context continuum (Hall, 1984) and Hofstede's cultural typologies (e.g., power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation; see Hofstede, 1998; Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005).

In spite of its significant implications on international marketing, few academics have attempted to determine the perceptional difference of advertising creativity between dissimilar cultures at the individual level. This exploratory study attempts to fill this gap. The purposes of this study are to obtain a theoretically more meaningful understanding of cultural differences on advertising creativity and to produce more useful marketing implications, especially in the international marketing strategy.

2. Literature Review

2.1 Creativity in the Western and Asian Culture

Creativity has been defined in numerous ways. According to Stein (1953), creativity is defined as "the process that results in a novel work that is accepted as tenable or useful or satisfying by a group [at] some point in time (p. 311)." This novelty-oriented definition was also used in the judgment of creativity in artistic and ritual activities such as dance, poem, and drawing (Amabile, 1996; Silver, 1981). Amabile (1996) added the concept of appropriateness to the traditional definition of creativity and constructed the modern definition of the novelty-appropriateness framework for creativity in a larger social context.

Lubart (1990) argued that creativity is influenced by many factors such as culture and religion of a society as well as the societal status and gender of individuals. The importance of creativity has been determined in diverse areas, including art (Brower, 2000), music (Hickey, 2001), management (Anderson, 1992; Sethi, Smith, & Park, 2001), and advertising (Hirschman, 1989; Kendrick, Slayden, & Broyles, 1996; Kover, Goldberg, & James, 1995; Moriarty, 1991). …

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