Presentation on theme: "CROSS-CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN ADVERTISING CREATIVE STRATEGY: A LACUNIAN ANALYSIS OF AUTO COMMERCIALS IN AMERICA AND GERMANY."— Presentation transcript:
CROSS-CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN ADVERTISING CREATIVE STRATEGY: A LACUNIAN ANALYSIS OF AUTO COMMERCIALS IN AMERICA AND GERMANY
ABSTRACT zThis study addresses the standardization and adaptation of advertising campaigns in the context of the auto industry and their televised campaigns in America and Germany. It sets out to investigate how lacuna theory can be used to show that advertisements reflect a specific cultural communication and they are interpreted by a specific cultural understanding. Lacuna theory will be used to see the perceptions of auto commercials by Germans and Americans to see if differences in cultural communication and cultural understanding exist in advertising creative strategies. The study will find out how these differences, if present, can be identified and understood so that advertising creatives can begin to either implement standardized commercials that are functional for the auto industry in Germany and America or else adapt their campaigns to better target consumers in each country.
Language and Culture zMy paper deals with language (verbal and non-verbal) and culture (German and American). According to Samovar, Porter, and Stefani (1998) our language serves as a guide to how we perceive reality, Word usage and meaning are learned, and all cultures and co-cultures have special experiences that frame usage and meaning. (146) We cannot be separated our language from our culture. It is a shared set of symbols that are understood by a large group of people. Symbols and sound vary from culture to culture, as well as the rules for using the symbols (phonology, grammar, syntax, and intonation). Samovar, Porter, and Stefani (1998) believe that as the global village evolves there will be a greater emphasis put on the importance of international communication and language translation.
The Question of Standardization zSince the 1960s when advertising standardization was first being discussed (Elinder, 1961; Fatt, 1964), the question of whether companies would or would not be able to promote products in other lands using the same advertising message strategy has not been fully answered. Many scholars tend to forward the opinion that standardization can work to a certain extent. These individuals suggest that some aspects of the advertising campaign can be standardized yet other aspects should be adapted to meet the given market conditions (Light, 1990; Peebles et al., 1977; Quelch and Hoff, 1986). Opponents to standardization state that advertising strategies should be adapted to other markets because the cultural differences as well as the economical and legal conditions are too large to conquer with a single advertising campaign (Kotleer, 1986).
The Continuum Concept zNikolasos Papavassilious and Vlasis Stathakopoulos (1997) take what they call the continuum concept into consideration, meaning that international advertising decisions concerning the creative advertising strategy and tactics can be viewed as a continuum which stretches between two polar ends, one being that of standardization the other of adaptation. The researchers explain their understanding of the concept, The continuum concept suggests that international advertising decisions must be either standardized or not standardized. If they are not standardized, then they must be adapted, and hence one needs to determine which adaptations are most appropriate in different situations.
Standardization vs. Adaptation zPapavassilious and Stathakopoulos identify three sets of variables which are directly related to international advertising strategy. zLocal zIntrinsic zFirm
Local Variables zThe cultural environment to which one belongs becomes a centering point for the development of the individual. He or she evaluates, comprehends, behaves, and perceives the world according to sets of beliefs, values, and attitudes, which arose, and perhaps were even encouraged, by way of the interaction of the individual in the given social environment over time.
Advertising Studies zGraham et. al. (1993) while studying how the host culture influences a firms marketing strategies, found that German and Japanese companies adapt their advertising strategies, to different degrees, in order to meet the cultural requirements of their foreign markets. zMueller (1987) found out just how important cultural values can be as they relate to advertising message appeals. The researcher found that Japanese magazines often forward more soft-sell appeals and status appeals, and less rational appeals. They also show more respect for elders in their magazines. zHong et al. (1987) also found that status appeals are stressed in Japanese advertisements while the emphasis of individual determinism plays a major role in American advertisements.
Cultural Similarities zBoote (1982) completed an empirical comparative study of the value structures in the UK, Germany, and France. zMueller (1991) found that a standardized approach was more common between America and Germany than America and Japan. This was due to the fact that a concentration on individual gratification exists in the USA which a contrary emphasis on group norms exists in Japan. zThe French, for instance, rely on far less television and print advertising for information in regard to new products than Americans (Green & Langeard, 1975). The French also subscribe to less magazines, thus special advertising strategies, ones that differ greatly from American advertising strategies, must be taken in France, simply because media habits differ.
Lacuna Theory zLacuna theory will provide the theoretical foundation for the study. The lacuna model was originally discovered by J.A. Sorokin and used within the framework of Russian ethnopsycholinguistics. The lacuna concept was referred to in the 19th century by Russian linguistics but lacuna theory did not become a central concept for Russian intercultural communication studies until the 1970s and 1980s (Schroeder, 1995).
Types of Lacunae zCultural Lacunae zSubjective Lacunae zLacunae of Communicative Activity zLacunae Related to Cultural Space zPragmatic Lacunae zTextual Lacunae
An Overview of the Study zSixty-five American college students from a small liberal arts institution, Muskingum College (New Concord, Ohio), were asked to imagine that they were working for an advertising research firm that was working upon a campaign where they would have to either standardize their advertisements or adapt them. The students were taking classes in either public speaking or mass communication. Their ages ranged from 18 to 22.
Briefly compare the German car commercials with American car commercials. What do you notice as being different or strange about the German car commercials? Question #1
Question #2 Notice carefully the production techniques (music, lighting, sound, camera angles, and shots, editing) used in the creation of the American car commercials. Do you find these techniques to be somewhat unusual? (i.e., does the pacing seem too fast or too slow?)
Question #3 Do you recognize any of the characters in any of the commercials? Do you find the gestures, facial expressions, make- up, or body language of the characters to be different from that of the facial expressions, make-up, or body language of the characters to be different from that of the characters seen on American commercials? If yes, please explain your answer.
Question #4: Do the values that are being associated with the product in the German car commercials differ from the values that are being associated with the product in the German car commercials differ from the values that are associated with the product in America? Give an example of how the association is the same or different.
Question #5 Which commercials seem to be more entertaining, the German car commercials or the American car commercials, or do they seem pretty much the same?
Question #6 Is there a difference in the type of language used in the commercials (i.e., the way the car is described, formal, slang – this is relying heavily on the translation)
Question #7 Do the German commercials contain more emotional appeals or more rational appeals? Is this situation the same in regard to the American commercials
Question #8 Would most of the German car commercials function properly in America if they were correctly translated and dubbed? Please explain your answer.