Global and Multi-National Advertising

By Basil G. Englis | Go to book overview

10
The Difficulty of Standardizing International Advertising: Some Propositions and Evidence from Japanese, Korean, and U.S. Television Advertising

Charles R. Tayloff Villanova University

Gordon E. Miracle Michigan State University

Kyu Yeol Chang Pepperdine University

This chapter reports the results of a content analysis of over 3000 Japanese, Korean, and U.S. television commercials for several objectively measured variables. Cultural explanations for possible differences in these variables are proposed. If differences in advertisements can be shown to be culturally related, there may be important implications for international firms and advertising agencies. The long-standing international advertising controversy over standardization versus specialization still rages today. Investigation of whether there are differences in objectively measured content could lend further insight into this controversy.

Many prior studies and discussions have used the terms standardization and specialization (or localization) without clearly stating what is being standardized or specialized. In this chapter, we propose a classification scheme to guide researchers and managers in making these definitions. Major categories in this framework are advertising objectives, message strategies, media strategies, and budgeting. The diversity of these categories makes it apparent that complete standardization across two or more cultures is, indeed, rarely appropriate. Important differences in business practices often complicate matters, as evidenced by the varying proportions of commercials of different lengths in the three countries investigated here. Tradition, government influence, and other factors may lead to a common, entrenched practice in a given country. Further complicating the ability to standardize is the possible impact of cultural differences. Three cultural differences between the two Asian countries and the U.S. are proposed as possible reasons for differences in the variables analyzed here. Because the subject of advertising standardization or specialization is so complex, this

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