Global and Multi-National Advertising

By Basil G. Englis | Go to book overview

high status. Among the anecdotal examples that might be cited to demonstrate the influence of adornment on response to an advertisement is one provided by Farley ( 1986), who described how a drawing of a Ghanian family, intended as the focal point of a campaign for a hygiene product being introduced into Ghana, was viewed by Ghanian women as signifying that the product was intended for foreigners rather than native Ghanians. This was due to the inadvertent portrayal of foreign hairstyles for the women included in the family drawing.

With regard to the potential impact of facial expression, gesture, and physical appearance in communicating across national boundaries, a broad evaluation of the sources cited earlier ( Knapp, 1978; Poyatos, 1988) seems to suggest that small details, particularly if they are contrary to the norm in a particular culture, might affect viewer response in significant ways. The suggestion was made by Haley et al. ( 1984) that nonverbal cues are more likely to detract from the effectiveness of an advertisement rather than to enhance its success. As a means of eliminating incorrect details, several authors have suggested that members of the cultural group to whom materials will be directed should be involved in the creation of the materials ( Hornik & Rubinow, 1981; Plummer, 1986). However, even when this is done, copy testing may yet reveal that small details have been misrepresented and that they have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the advertisement ( Farley, 1986). It appears that much remains to be learned concerning the impact in cross-national advertising of the nonverbal cues provided by the face and body.


FINAL THOUGHTS

This survey of modes of verbal and nonverbal communication in magazine advertisements is intended as a contribution to the ongoing debate concerning the globalization of advertising, through identifying ways in which advertisements define, and communicate beyond, national boundaries. Although advertising strategies that have been included represent only a fraction of those that have been employed, they have been selected to illustrate issues that arise when advertising across national borders. It is hoped that discussion of nonverbal communication through advertising art will be useful in suggesting creative approaches to advertising communication across the barriers of language and culture.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The section of this chapter on national and cultural symbols draws upon material originally included in Caudle ( 1988b).

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