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Standardization and Adaptation in Television Advertising Essay

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Standardization and Adaptation in Television Advertising Jonas Kenntoft Johan Neglen Lulea University of Technology Bachelor thesis Industrial marketing Department of Business Administration and Social Sciences Division of Business Administration and Management 2007:201 – ISSN: 1402-1773 – ISRN: LTU-CUPP–07/201–SE PREFACE PREFACE When we started this journey, we had no idea about where we were going to end up.

On the way we understood why many people had said to us that the thesis is going to be a lot of hard work but still we had a lot of fun on the way. Last but not the least we learned a lot about both our subject and how to conduct research on this level. After ten weeks of hard work we have finished our thesis. During this time we have gotten help from a lot of people first of all we would like to thank our supervisor Tim Foster for his new ideas and guidance to keep us on track during this ten weeks long struggle.

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We would also like to thank all the people that we have interviewed, without you there would not have been a thesis We hope that this thesis will get more people interested in the quick changing world of television advertising that we live in today and to understand that there is a need for further research in this area. Lulea, May 2007 Jonas Kenntoft Johan Neglen ABSTRACT ABSTRACT Television continues to be a dominant media in the 21st century. As the world continues to “shrink” and globalization increases, those companies that do business in many countries must find innovate ways to communicate their brands.

In international markets, therefore, the decision to standardize or adapt the advertisements between different countries becomes of great importance. The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding for how companies standardize and adapt their television advertising in international markets. In order to reach this purpose, research questions focusing on the elements of television advertisements, as well as the factors that influence the decision to standardize/adapt were stated.

Based on these research questions, a review of the relevant literature was conducted, resulting in a conceptual framework, which was used to guide this study’s data collection. Data was collected via a qualitative, case study approach, using interviews and observation of the television commercials on international consumer brands. The result shows that there are certain appeals that work: Emotional appeals seem to work more on the young, while rational appeals appear to be more effective towards an older target market. One of the primary factors that influence a company’s decision to adapt a commercial is the cost.

In terms of standardizing a television advertisement, the company should focus on non-geographical factors such as humor and family culture. SAMMANFATTNING SAMMANFATTNING 2000-talets reklam medium fortsatter att domineras av TV. Varlden fortsatter att ”krympa” och globaliseringen okar, det pressar de foretag som agerar i manga lander till att hitta nya innovativa satt att kommunicera deras varumarken. Pa internationella marknader har darfor beslutet att standardisera eller att anpassa reklam mellan olika lander fatt okad betydelse.

Syftet med denna studie ar att fa en okad forstaelse for hur foretag standardiserar och anpassar deras TV reklam pa internationella marknader. For att kunna uppna detta syfte sa har tva forskningsfragor angivits, som dels fokuserar pa de olika elementen i TV reklam och aven de faktorer som paverkar beslutet att standardisera eller anpassa reklam. Baserat pa dessa forskningsfragor sa har relevant litteratur granskats som resulterade i en referensram, som vidare anvandes som en guide i datainsamlingen. Data samlades in via en kvalitativ fallstudie, genom intervjuer och observationer av internationella varumarkens olika reklam inslag.

Resultaten visade att en viss appeal fungerar pa olika satt, t ex en emotionell appeal fungerade battre pa unga medan en rationell appeal forefoll att vara mer effektiv nar malgruppen var aldre. En av de viktigaste faktorerna gallande foretagens beslut att standardisera eller anpassa reklam ar kostnadsfaktorn. Nar foretagen valjer att standardisera sin TV reklam, ska de fokusera pa icke-geografiska faktorer, t ex humor och familjekultur for att gora den mer gangbar mellan olika lander. TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.

INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………………………………. 1 1. 1 Background ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 1 1. 2 Problem Discussion ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 1. 3 Overall Purpose & Research Questions……………………………………………………….. 5 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ………………………………………………………………………………… 2. 1 Elements in Television Advertising…………………………………………………………….. 6 2. 2 Influencing Factors …………………………………………………………………………………… 9 2. 3 Conceptual Framework……………………………………………………………………………. 13 2. 3. 1 Conceptualization –Elements of Television Advertising …………………………… 13 2. 3. 2 Conceptualization – Influencing factors ………………………………………………….. 4 3. METHODOLOGY ………………………………………………………………………………………… 16 3. 1 Purpose of Research: Explorative, Descriptive and Explanatory …………………… 16 3. 2 Research Approach: Qualitative ……………………………………………………………….. 16 3. 3 Research strategy: Case Study; Multiple Unit …………………………………………….. 16 3. 4 Data Collection: Interviews and Observations ……………………………………………. 17 3. Sample Selection: Convenience Sample…………………………………………………….. 18 3. 6 Data Analysis …………………………………………………………………………………………. 19 3. 7 Validity & Reliability ……………………………………………………………………………… 19 4. EMPIRICAL DATA………………………………………………………………………………………. 21 4. 1 Elements of Television Advertising…………………………………………………………… 1 4. 2 Influencing Factors …………………………………………………………………………………. 24 4. 2. 1 Data Collected Sub-unit one; Absolut……………………………………………………… 25 4. 2. 2 Data Collected Sub-unit one; Unilever ……………………………………………………. 26 5. DATA ANALYSIS …………………………………………………………………………………………. 28 5. 1 Elements of Television Advertising…………………………………………………………… 8 5. 2 Influencing Factors …………………………………………………………………………………. 30 6. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS …………………………………………………………………. 34 6. 1 How can the elements of television commercial that are standardized or adapted be described?……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 34 6. 2 How can the factors that influence the decision to standardize and adapt be described? ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 35 6. 3 Implications and Recommendations ………………………………………………………….. 37 6. 3. 1 Implications for Theory ………………………………………………………………………… 37 6. 3. 2 Implications for Practitioners…………………………………………………………………. 37 6. 3. 3 Implications for Future Research……………………………………………………………. 8 LIST OF REFERENCES …………………………………………………………………………………… 40 APPENDIX A English Interview Guide APPENDIX B Swedish Interview Guide APPENDIX C Gillette Fusion Television Advertisement Werthers Original Television Advertisement Peugeot Television Advertisement Carlsberg Television Advertisement LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES Figure 1. 1: Marketing Communication Process…… ………………………………………1 Table 3. 1: The four sub-categories of case studies………………………………………. 17 Table 3. 2: Tactics for four design tests…. …. …………………………………………. 20 Table 5. 1: Theory and collected data agree or not……………………………………….. 30 Table 5. 2: Theory and collected data agree or not……………………………………….. 33 Table 6. 1: Elements Rated 1-5. …………………………………………………….. ……. 35 INTRODUCTION 1. INTRODUCTION This chapter will introduce the background of the area that is researched. This will eventually lead to a problem discussion about standardization and adaptation in television advertising. The chapter will end with an overall purpose and specific research questions. 1. 1 Background Marketing communication is a process of sharing perceptions.

Marketing communication can be successful in conveying an intended meaning only when the sender’s perceptual field – his experience of the world – is congruent with the receiver’s perceptual field. A message falling outside the receiver’s perceptual field, therefore, cannot transmit the sender’s meaning, although it may well transmit a meaning not intended by the sender. Root (1994) claims that communication between persons that belong to different cultures is distorted by perceptual and encoding/decoding gaps that derive from the cultural distance between sender and receiver.

Furthermore, because of the unconscious nature of much of culture, communication distortion is intensified by the fact that the existence of such gaps is not recognized. (Root, 1994) Czinkota and Ronkainen (2004) showed in the marketing communications model presented in Figure 1. 1, that effective communication requires three main elements – the sender, the message and the receiver – that is connected by a message channel. The emphasis for the thesis will be in the message element of the marketing communication process. Sender (Encodes Message) Message Message Channel Receiver (Decodes Message)

Noise Feedback Figure 1. 1: Marketing Communication Process Source: Adapted from Czinkota and Ronkainen (2004), p. 306 Communication Outcome The process begins with a message that the sender wish to send. The sender started by encoding the message, converting the message into symbolic form that is properly understood by the receiver. The message channel is the path through which the message moves from sender to receiver, and referred to by Czinkota and Ronkainen (2004) as the medium. The completion of the process is when the receiver is done with decoding the message from symbols into hought. A message moving through a channel or medium is subject to influence of extraneous and distracting stimuli. This interference is referred to by Czinkota and Ronkainen (2004) as noise. Root (1994) mention that communication between persons belonging to the same culture benefits from a high degree of congruence in their perceptual fields and of commonality in their message codes. Sometimes one or both sender and receiver believe that they have 1 INTRODUCTION understood the message correctly even though they have not.

The feedback process, therefore, is also subject to cultural distortion. (Root, 1994) The promotional mix is a part of the marketing communication strategy for organizations to reach out to the target audience. It consists of five main elements, advertising, personal selling, public relations, direct marketing, and sales promotion. Advertising represents non-personal, mass communication; personal selling covers face-to-face personally tailored messages. Sales promotion involves tactical, short-term incentives that encourage a target audience to behave in a certain way.

Public relations are about creating and maintaining good-quality relationships with many interested groups (for example the media, shareholders and trade unions), not only with customers. Finally, direct marketing involves creating one-to-one relationships with individual customers, often in mass markets, and might involve mailings, telephone selling or electronic media. (Brassington & Pettitt, 2000) Root (1994) defines advertising as any paid form of non personal communication by an identified sponsor to promote a product or company. It is also claimed that advertising is the dominant channel for mass promotion (ibid).

Cultural values are important for the success of advertisement according to Laroche and Teng (2006) and they also say that it has been acknowledged that cultural values are the core of an advertising message. For example, cultural values and norms that are embedded in advertising appeals have been shown to enhance the effectiveness of persuasive communications. Laroche and Teng (2006) further claim that recent research has indicated that when cultural values that match people’s traditions are embedded in advertisements, consumers are able to find commonalities between themselves and the characteristics of the advertisement.

The opposite applies when values do not match the advertisement. (Laroche & Teng, 2006) International advertising – the ability to transfer an advertising message among country markets – has always been a controversial subject (Hill & Shao, 1993). Furthermore Laroche and Teng (2006) discuss that the central informational cue in advertising is typically based on product attributes, which can be emphasized in a general manner and applicable to different markets across a diverse range of cultures.

Consequently, it is imperative that the key arguments in the advertisements are believable and compelling, regardless of the target market. (Laroche & Teng, 2006) The more managers know about their target audience – buying motivations, behaviour, purchasing power, demographic characteristics and cultural values – the better they can design the promotion strategy in their international advertisement (Root, 1994).

In the 1950s, preference was for an adaptation approach in advertising; as knowledge of international markets increased, more standardized advertisements were used in the 1960s; in the 1970s, the trend swung toward more adaptation due to the rise of nationalisms; in the 1980s, the trend swung back toward standardization because of the rise in the number of multinational advertisement agencies and companies and the flow of mergers and acquisitions. (Darmon, Kirpalani & Laroche, 1999) The advertising media are called on to perform the task of delivering the message to the consumers.

The different media are, radio, television, print, cinema and outdoor. Two major media are print and television. Print media, such as local and national newspapers, special interest magazines and trade publications, have thus become the primary focus for most organisations’ advertising efforts. (Brassington & Pettitt, 2000) Television 2 INTRODUCTION advertisers can demonstrate the product or service in motion, using the many elements offered by the media (Jobber, 2007).

Designing the television commercial with the correct combination of those elements to give the message a strong chance of grabbing the attention and getting the message across, is crucial to achieve the desired impact on the consumers (Brassington & Pettitt, 2000). 1. 2 Problem Discussion Television can be used to demonstrate the product in action, or to use colour and sound to build an atmosphere around the product, thus enhancing its image (Fahy & Jobber, 2006). The emphasis for this thesis will be television advertisements, because of the many elements of television, sound, colour, sight and motion that aid the presentation of the message.

Also the fact that Brassington and Pettitt (2000) argue that television is better for creating an advertisement message with emotional appeals, contributes to our concentration to television advertisements. Root (1994) further suggested the importance of matching the message with culture and by saying that the message is received but misunderstood, either because of ambiguous content (buying propositions) or more commonly because of a presentation that is not responsive to cultural differences. Adaptation is essential because of various constraints; first people in different countries speak different languages.

Second, and the most important source of constraints by far, and the most difficult to measure, is cultural differences rooted in history, education, religion, values and attitudes, manners and customs, aesthetics as well as differences in taste, needs and wants. (Vrontis, 2003) Before producing a television advertisement, the marketer has to have a deep understanding of the target audience. Brassington and Pettitt (2000) claim that the main aim in advertisement message design is to prepare an informative and persuasive message in terms of words, symbols and illustrations.

That will not only attract attention but retain interest through its presentation so that the target audience responds as desired (ibid). The degree of television advertisement standardization/adaptation at the international level refers mainly to the manipulation by the manager of the promotional mix elements (Bradley & Sousa, 2005). Supporters of standardization say a trend is sweeping both marketing and advertising – the movement to create products that are manufactured, packaged and promoted the same way around the world, regardless of individual cultures (Mueller, 1989).

According to Bradley & Sousa (2005) higher degree of adaptation is encouraged when the manager perceives great differences, in the economic environment and life styles between the home and foreign country. On the one hand, those who support the global standardization approach argue that a single television advertisement should be used in international markets to reduce total costs and promote a global corporate image. On the other hand, those who support the internationalization school of thought see the need for marketing adaptation to fit the unique dimensions of each local market. Vrontis, 2003) Those researchers who view markets, or costumers’ wants and needs, for being homogeneous argue that the standardization of advertising is more effective as it allows for the lowering of costs, via economies of scale, and thus increasing margins for a firm (Griffith, Ryans & White, 2003). Backhaus, Muhlfeld and Van Doorn (2001) suggests that standardized advertising campaigns should use the same advertisement internationally with minimal, if any, thematic copy or illustration adaptation, with the only country-specific concession being the use of the respective national language. INTRODUCTION However, the decision to standardize promotion is not one decision but rather a series of decisions related to individual promotional elements (Chandra, Griffith & Ryans, 2002). Chandra et al. (2002) continue with arguing that advance in global communication, sourcing, and so on have created homogenized global market segments advanced. If the segment exists, consumers in cross-national market segments share common behavioural response patterns and preference structures and thus react similarly to marketing stimuli. (Chandra et al. 2002) Countries differ widely in the availability, quality, coverage, audience, and cost of advertising media (Root, 1994). According to Laroche and Teng (2006) matching the distinctive cultural values is a vital component of international advertising and marketing. Therefore, marketing practitioners should always consider cultural variables in their advertising because culture seems to influence advertising tactics and consumer’s decision making (ibid). Taking that in consideration and determining the optimum advertisement message, by adapting the promotional message to cultural differences (Root, 1994). Chandra’s et al. 2002) research suggests that cross-market consumer variations may necessitate unique decisions about adaptations in an advertisement’s theme, slogan, idiomatic expressions, symbols and colours. Furthermore, Chandra et al. (2002) state that for a firm to maximize profits fully, it must adapt their advertising campaigns to the needs of its specific international target market. Underlying the standardization debate is the issue of effectively balancing the economic benefits gained through standardized strategies and tactics with the performance gains achieved when adapting to local market conditions (Chandra et al. 2002). Bradley and Sousa (2005) draw attention to the fact that advertising is highly bounded by culture and those foreign customers are likely to be less responsive to advertising that fails to match their cultural preferences precisely. Understanding cultural differences is therefore, often considered a prerequisite for successful advertising in foreign markets (ibid). Not only are cultural and other differences very much still in evidence, but marketing a single product one way everywhere can scare off customers, alienate employees, and blind company to its customers’ needs (Vrontis, 2003).

The differences in the environment have, therefore, to be considered when discussing the feasibility of standardization. Generally, standardization appears more likely where the foreign market is most similar to the domestic market, while adaptation is preferred when markets are viewed as different (Chandra et al. , 2002). The feasibility and appropriateness of universal, modified, or completely different campaigns depend on many factors, and there is little consensus as to the key determining ones.

Although whatever factors influencing, the final decision regarding standardization or adaptation of television advertising is always the client’s. (Darmon, et al. , 1999) Advertising is more resistant to homogenization than products and brands; Melewar and Vemmervik (2004) claim that advertising is more dependent on cultural influence than other marketing elements. Because of these characteristics, the visual and verbal elements of advertising are particularly sensitive, and use of local language, models and scenery increase the probability for the advertisement to be effective. Melewar & Vemmervik, 2004) 4 INTRODUCTION 1. 3 Overall Purpose & Research Questions Based on the problem discussion above the purpose of this thesis is to provide a better understanding of how companies standardize and adapt their television advertising in international markets. RQ1: How can the elements of television commercial that are standardized or adapted be described? RQ2: How can the factors that influence the decision to standardize or adapt be described? 5 LITERATURE REVIEW 2. LITERATURE REVIEW In this chapter, an overview of previous research related to the research questions is presented.

First, studies related to elements in television advertisements will be presented. Secondly, studies relevant to influencing factors of the decision to standardize or adapt. Finally, a conceptual framework for the thesis will be presented. 2. 1 Elements in Television Advertising Melewar and Vemmervik (2004) found in their research that the visual and verbal elements of advertising are particularly sensitive to/and are more dependent on cultural differences. They continue with saying that the use of local language, models and scenery increases the probability for the advertisement to be effective.

Laroche and Teng (2006) added another element appeal, which will add another dimension to our research and provide a more comprehensive and clear picture of the research area. Appeals Advertising appeals are defined as message designed to motivate customers to make a purchase. (Mueller, 1992) According to Laroche and Teng (2006) the most basic elements associated with advertising are the choice of appeal. Kelley and Turley (1997) state that advertising appeals are commonly categorize into two broad types, rational and emotional appeal.

Laroche and Teng (2006) further argue that when cultural values and norms are embedded in advertising appeals it have been shown to enhance the effectiveness of persuasive communication. Therefore, we add a cultural appeal. Rational advertising stems from the traditional information processing models of decision making where the consumer is believed to make logical and rational decisions. Such appeals relate to the audience’s self-interest by showing product benefits. Examples are messages showing a product’s quality, economy, value or performance. Albers-Miller & Stafford, 1999) Albers-Miller and Stafford (1999) found that, overall, thinking advertisements provided more information than emotional advertisements, and were subsequently better liked and resulted in higher purchase intentions. Albers-Miller and Stafford (1999) suggested that rational, informative advertising appeals may help reduce some of the uncertainty often associated with the purchase of services. In contrast, emotional appeals are grounded in the emotional, experiential side of consumption.

They seek to make the consumer feel good about the product, by creating a likeable or friendly brand; they rely on feelings for effectiveness. According to AlbersMiller and Stafford’s (1999) emotional appeals attempt to stir up either negative or positive emotions that can motivate purchase. These include fear, guilt and shame appeals that get people to do things they should or stop doing things they should not … communicators also use positive emotional appeals such as love, humour, pride and joy. (Albers-Miller & Stafford, 1999) Emotional appeals are the most effective conveying a personality to consumers (Kelley & Turley, 1997).

The traditional view in advertising has been that the effectiveness of a particular message appeal is contingent on the type of product being advertised (ibid). Albers-Miller and Stafford (1999) also suggest that appeals generating an emotional response result in more positive reactions and higher level of recall. 6 LITERATURE REVIEW In a recent study by Laroche and Teng (2006) they have pointed out that when customers experience advertisements with distinct culture-laden appeals in combination with arguments, the arguments and appeals cause contrast effects on the consumers’ perception and purchase behaviour.

To enhance the effectiveness of persuasive communication, Laroche and Teng (2006) suggested that cultural values and norms should be embedded in advertising appeals. Among different cultures there are different appeals that influence customers in the best way. When the appeals do not match the traditions of the people they find differences between themselves and the characteristics of the advertisement. Resulting in that the advertisement will not achieve the desired objective. (Laroche & Teng, 2006) It is also said that there are differences in appeals between the East and West that go back to ancient times.

A part of this is because of that the Greek philosophers have influenced the western culture, which has lead to the emphasis on verbal communication. There is no tradition like that in the oriental philosophy that has lead to that they rely more on nonverbal communication. (Mueller, 1992) A paper by Andersson, Hedelin and Nilsson (2004) mentions the phenomenon about marketing campaigns using violent and shocking appeal. The advertisements they had reviewed created many different reactions and associations among respondents, both male and female respondents reacted negatively on the usage of sex and violence.

They did not interpret the message in the same way as it was intended. However, they also reach the conclusion that males and females do not have the same reactions, sometimes the females could identify themselves with the ads since there where children in display. (Andersson et al. , 2004) Verbal elements Nelson and Paek (2007) argue for the importance of language with saying that language is much more important than many international advertisers realize. The use of the English language can convey values or it can confuse meaning, for example, when colloquial expressions are employed (ibid).

McIntyre and Stevenson (1995) argue that the numerical and economic importance of minorities continues to increase. This brought the discussion to the fact that specific vernacular or dialects are under represented in advertising relative to their frequency of use in the general population. Stewart (1994) argues that this applies to national languages also, because it is certainly the case when offer information in the local language it will increase the effectiveness of the communication.

Stewart (1994) concludes his discussion with saying that language and dialects is a potentially important component of advertising that uses dramatic approach. One thing to be careful about is the usage of vernaculars and dialects that is often associated with stereotypes that may not be positive. (Stewart, 1994) Duncan and Ramaprasad’s (1995) survey show that the use of standardized language is not common. Their survey results show that only 11 percent of the brands use standardized language in all countries, 41 percent use it in some countries, and 43 percent do not use standardized language at all.

When using television in advertising the big difference from radio or printed advertisements is the many dimension added, this makes communication more natural and 7 LITERATURE REVIEW gives them value. If television advertisements are used as a message channel and it is standardized across countries only with language adaptation, there is a risk that the value added by the extra dimensions will partly be lost because of the lack of lip synchronization. Audio that is not synchronized with video can be distracting and viewers might fail to identify with the advertisement. Furnell, Lines, Mued & Reynolds, 2003) As an example in a comparison of music styles and lyrics used in television advertisements, Nelson and Paek (2007) observed that domestic brands were more likely than multinational brands to use localized Latin music and lyrics in the Dominican Republic. Visual elements Colour is an essential part of products, logos and advertising, and can be an effective means of creating and sustaining brand and corporate images in customers’ minds. Colours are known to possess emotional and psychological properties.

The meanings associated with different colours are important to marketers when developing advertisements, because results have demonstrated that people of different cultures have various preferences for colour. It is important for marketers to understand which colours that people prefer. Consequently, managers must acknowledge that the meanings associated with some colours may be pan-cultural, regional, or unique to a given culture. (Hewett, Madden & Roth, 1999) According to Cho, Kwon, Gentry, Jun and Kropp (1999) themes are outputs of the creative process; themes are the content of the message, that is, “what is communicated”.

Cho et al. (1999) also mention that in respect to international advertising, the buying proposals (what one say) are much more amenable to international transfer than creative processes, including themes. As an example, Kim-Shyan and Waller (2006) identified specific likeable themes for three Asian cities, Shanghai; a funny/amusing/humorous theme and nice music, Jakarta; having an interesting theme and setting is important, Bangkok; a theme showing a slice of life is liked in Thailand. Greenberg and Solomon (1993) claim that advertising is not created in a casual or random fashion.

From the choice of scenery and location to the tone and nuance of copy, meticulous attention is paid by directors, production and set designers, and many others to the execution of television commercials. These specialists strive to create a compelling setting, a physical environment that will fulfil an advertisement agency’s vision of how best to reinforce the focal product’s intended “brand personality. ” The importance of physical and sensory cues that “place” a produc

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