The potential effect of cultural priming on the effectiveness of cultural value adaptation

JCMS_coverIn international advertising, there has been a long-standing debate about standardization versus adaptation. A prominent empirical line of research addressing this issue has revealed that adapting advertisements to important cultural values is beneficial for persuasion and ad liking. Strikingly, this effect is absent for Western Europeans. The present study examines if Western Europeans are sensitive to cultural value adaptation in advertising if individualism-collectivism is primed prior to exposure to the ad. An experiment was conducted in which an ad with an individualist or a collectivist value appeal was presented after exposure to irrelevant primes or to primes consisting of images expressing individualism-collectivism. Results were in line with existing studies: no effect of adaptation was found, even after cultural priming. The results were interpreted through the cultural perspective of dynamic constructivism, according to which the European context may explain why Europeans are as positive about incongruent value appeals as congruent appeals. The experiment adds to the body of research indicating that value adaptation in advertising is not beneficial for marketers in the Western European region.

  • Hornikx, J., & Nijhuis, J. (2016). The potential effect of cultural priming on the effectiveness of cultural value adaptation in advertising. Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, 1 (2), 180-188. [link]

The curiosity-evoking capacity of foreign languages in advertising

dujal_pbIn commercial messages, such as advertisements, foreign languages are sometimes displayed. Regardless of whether readers understand the foreign language utterance, researchers have claimed that such foreign language display evokes curiosity to read the ad, and improves ad and product evaluation. Whereas empirical research has established the impact of foreign language display on evaluation, no studies have been conducted on its curiosity-evoking capacity. In this research note, the importance of this capacity is highlighted, and a first study is presented that tested this capacity. The results did not find support for the curiosity-evoking capacity of foreign language display.

  • Hornikx, J., & Mulder, E. (2015). The curiosity-evoking capacity of foreign languages in advertising. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4 (1), 59-66. [link]

Non-nativeness in communication: Use and effects of foreign languages in advertising

dujal_pbOne of the linguistic consequences of globalization is the increase in the number of people communicating with each other in a language that is not their own. Studies have started to examine how non-nativeness affects people in their production and evaluation of discourse. This special interest section brings together a collection of empirical papers in a particular domain of non-nativeness in communication, that is, the use and effects of foreign languages in job and product advertisements. These papers investigate how the use of foreign languages is appreciated by non-native users, what determines the occurrence of foreign languages, how recall of foreign languages compares to the recall of L1 advertising, and whether foreign languages attract the readers’ curiosity. Together, these papers demonstrate the growing academic interest in non-nativeness in communication.

  • Hornikx, J. (2015). Non-nativeness in communication: Use and effects of foreign languages in advertising. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4 (1), 1-5. [link]

Foreign language display in advertising from a psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspective

9781466682627When targeting consumers on a global scale, companies make strategic use of languages in their advertising campaigns. This chapter presents an overview of theories and research regarding the effectiveness of the use of foreign languages (foreign language display, FLD) in advertising. The aim is to bring together theories and empirical studies from various domains, and to show principled explanations for the effectiveness of FLD from two perspectives. The first, psycholinguistic perspective examines the way in which foreign languages in advertising are mentally processed; the second, sociolinguistic perspective links the foreign language use to characteristics of the country where the foreign language is typically spoken. This chapter presents empirical evidence for the benefits and drawbacks of FLD, and identifies areas for further research.

  • Hornikx, J., & Meurs, F. van (2015). Foreign language display in advertising from a psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspective: A review and research agenda. In J. M. Alcántara-Pilar, S. del Barrio-García, E. Crespo-Almedros, & L. Porcu (Eds.), Analyzing the cultural diversity of consumers in the global marketplace (pp. 299-319). Hershey: IGI Global. [link]

Van traditionele radioreclame naar crosschannel reclame

uluistertnaarradioVoor traditionele media zoals radio zorgt de toegenomen cross-platform mediabeleving tegelijk voor een bedreiging als een opportuniteit voor het verdienmodel. De toename aan meer visuele en interactieve kanalen via het internet houdt in dat een kleiner stuk van de reclamekoek van mediaplanners naar radioreclame zou gaan. Anderzijds biedt een cross-platform strategie ook opportuniteiten. Cross-mediale advertentiecampagnes bereiken de consument namelijk op een meervoudige manier en zouden zo tot sterkere effecten kunnen leiden. Voorveld (2011) bestudeerde als eerste de effectiviteit van simultane cross-mediale reclame: reclame die tegelijk via (internet)radio en internettekst de consument bereikt. Zij toonde aan dat deze aanpak tot betere herinnering, attitudes en aankoopintenties leidde dan advertenties via een enkel medium. In dit hoofdstuk bespreken we de relevante literatuur over cross-mediale reclame en vullen we die aan met een studie die het onderzoek van Voorveld (2011) conceptueel repliceert en nuanceert. In een online setting zagen deelnemers een nieuwspagina en luisterden ze tegelijk naar een radiofragment. De advertenties in beide kanalen werden gemanipuleerd zodat iedereen de doeladvertentie voor Ford of op twee internetpagina’s zag of eenmaal zag en tegelijkertijd een radiocommercial over Ford hoorde. In tegenstelling tot vergelijkbaar onderzoek (Smits & Hornikx, 2013) resulteerden advertenties die crossmediaal werden aangeboden niet in betere reclame-effecten dan advertenties die tweemaal op internet aangeboden werden. Bovendien bleek dit verschil niet afhankelijk van hoe skeptisch men staat ten opzichte van dit type marketingtechniek stond.

  • Hornikx, J., & Smits, T. (2014). Van traditionele radioreclame naar cross-channel multitasking reclame: wat is de meerwaarde? In d’Haenens, L., & Ichau, E. (Ed.), U luistert naar radio: Gebruik, functies en productie (pp. 133-147). Gent: Academia.

Foreign language display in advertising for congruent versus incongruent products

jicmAdvertising often confronts consumers with foreign languages, such as German or French in the US, but little is known about the circumstances under which this is effective. The linguistic theory of foreign language display claims that the congruence with the product is the essential element in its effectiveness. This study investigates this premise by having Dutch participants (N = 150) evaluate ads for products that were (in)congruent with the language of the slogan (French, German, Spanish). Results show that foreign language display is indeed more effective for congruent (e.g., wine–French) than for incongruent products (e.g., beer–French).

  • Hornikx, J., Meurs, F. van, & Hof, R.-J. (2013). The effectiveness of foreign-language display in advertising for congruent versus incongruent products. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 25 (3), 152-165. [pdf].

The effect of communication modality on the persuasiveness of hedges and pledges

The claim that a product advertisement aims to put forward is usually related to the product benefits. In an abstract way, claims have formats such as ‘Product X has benefit Y’ or ‘Product X leads to benefit Y’. Advertisers do not necessarily express such product claims explicitly. Claims may be left implicit because readers can easily construct them personally. If product claims are expressed explicitly, advertisers sometimes use hedges or pledges, which mark the probability that the promised benefit will occur. A hedge marks a claim as moderately probable (e.g., In most cases), whereas a pledge marks a claim as highly probable (e.g., In all cases). Experimental research to date (see §2) has shown that these probability markers are equally persuasive, and that they are not more persuasive than claims without such markers. Berney-Reddish and Areni (2005) argue that research should examine hedges and pledges in different communication modalities because people have been shown to process information differently in various communication modalities, such as print, audio, and the Internet. The present study therefore compares the persuasiveness of hedges and pledges in advertising claims in print and audio, and examines how these markers are processed in the two communication modalities.

  • Neessen, G., & Hornikx, J. (2012). The effect of communication modality on the persuasiveness of hedges and pledges in advertising claims. In Heynderickx, P., Dieltjens, S., Jacobs, G., Gillaerts, P., & Groot, E. de (red.), The language factor in international business: New perspectives on research, teaching and practice (pp. 199-214). Bern: Peter Lang. [pdf upon request]

The effects of hedges and pledges in advertisements for high and low reputation brands

Claims in advertising may vary in their use of probability markers that signal the degree to which the claim is true. Experimental research has compared hedges (which mark a claim as moderately probable) and pledges (which mark a claim as very probable). This research has generally neglected the proponent of the claims: the brand. There are reasons to believe that the brand behind the advertising affects to what extent people are persuaded by advertising claims. In two studies it was therefore investigated whether the reputation of the brand affects the persuasiveness of hedges and pledges. It was expected that hedges would be more persuasive for low-reputation brands, whereas pledges would be more persuasive for high-reputation brands. This expectation was tested in two experiments. In Study 1, hedges and pledges were compared in an ad that was provided after information about a brand’s reputation. In Study 2, hedges, plegdes and no markers were compared in an ad in which the brand’s reputation was incorporated. Both studies did not find empirical support for the hypothesis. In Study 1, hedges and pledges were found to be equally persuasive; in Study 2, pledges were found to be more persuasive than hedges.

  • Hornikx, J. (2012). The effects of hedges and pledges in advertisements for high and low reputation brands. In F. H. van Eemeren & B. Garssen (Red.), Exploring argumentative contexts (pp. 307-319). Amsterdam: Benjamins. [pdf upon request]

The influence of scientese on ad credibility and ad liking

Current advertising for beauty products makes abundant use of scientese, scientific jargon in statistical and/or verbal form. As of yet, no study has examined the impact of scientese in an advertising context. Therefore, an experiment investigates the credibility and liking of ads for different beauty products with and without scientese. The study assesses effects in a culture likely to be susceptible to scientese because of its large power distance and high uncertainty avoidance (Wallonia), and in a culture less likely to be susceptible to scientese (the Netherlands). Dutch (n = 72) and Walloon (n = 60) judged different ads for beauty products with or without different forms of scientese. In both cultures, ads with scientese were found to be more credible but less liked than ads without scientese.

  • Mulken, M. van, & Hornikx, J. (2011). The influence of scientese on ad credibility and ad liking: A cross-cultural investigation of ads for beauty products. Information Design Journal, 19 (2), 92-102. [pdf]

Variations of standpoint explicitness in advertising

Empirical research has demonstrated that variation in standpoint explicitness matters. In several research reports, explicit articulations of a standpoint or conclusion have been compared to more implicit articulations. Meta-analyses of such reports (Cruz, 1998; O’Keefe, 1997, 2002) have shown that messages with explicitly stated standpoints are more persuasive than messages without such standpoints. Such effects were not found for advertising messages, for which the conclusion – buy this product – seems relatively straightforward, regardless of the articulation of the conclusion (Cruz, 1998). There are different ways in which explicit conclusions may be articulated, one of which is the use of probability markers. Advertising research has compared hedges (which mark a standpoint as moderately probable) and pledges (which mark a standpoint as very probable). In this study, it was investigated whether the reputation of the brand affects the persuasiveness of hedges and pledges. Based on a study conducted by Goldberg and Hartwick (1990), it was expected that hedges would be more persuasive for low-reputation brands, whereas pledges would be more persuasive for high-reputation brands. This expectation was put to a test in an experiment.

  • Hornikx, J. (2011). Variations of standpoint explicitness in advertising: An experimental study on probability markers. In F. H. van Eemeren, B. Garssen, D. Godden, & G. Mitchell (Eds.), Proceedings of the seventh conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation (pp. 824-830). Amsterdam: Sic Sat. [pdf]