Adapting consumer advertising appeals to cultural values

aicaIt is a truism that successful persuasive messages should be adapted to audience values. A substantial research literature—not previously systematically reviewed—has examined whether advertisements with appeals adapted to the audience’s important cultural values (e.g., individualism for North Americans) are more persuasive and better liked than appeals that are unadapted to such values. A meta-analytic review of that research finds that adapted ads are only slightly more persuasive (mean r = .073, 67 cases) and slightly better liked (mean r = .082, 66 cases) than unadapted ads. Moreover, these effects were mainly limited to North Americans and Asians and to values related to individualism-collectivism. In this chapter, we discuss explanations for these results and identify directions for future research.

  • Hornikx, J., & O’Keefe, D. J. (2009). Adapting consumer advertising appeals to cultural values: A meta-analytic review of effects on persuasiveness and ad liking. Annals of the International Communication Association, 33 (1), 38-71. [pdf, link]

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