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The effect of ethnic-specific versus ethnic-diversified advertising: Comparing attitudes among multicultural consumers


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The diversity of minorities in the United States is growing and a demand for research in multi-ethnic advertising is emerging. This study aimed to compare the effect of ethnic and non-ethnic target-specific ads on young adult college students in the United States. Based on the social identification theory, a series of hypotheses were proposed to test the effect of ethnic-specific ads on consumer attitudes toward the ad, the brand, and the intentions to purchase the elicited product. An experimental research design was used to test the hypotheses among three ethnic groups: Hispanics, African American and White Non-Hispanics. The total sample size was 701. Models portraying stereotypes of the three ethnic-specific groups were used to produce four simulated advertisements. Three categories of ads were used to compare the effects of ethnic advertising: an ethnic-specific ad portraying one’s own ethnicity (AD1); an ethnic-specific ad portraying a different ethnicity group (AD3), and a diverse ad portraying a multi-ethnic group (AD2). Overall, this study indicates that diverse ads are less effective on young adult Americans than ethnic-specific ads. In addition, it was found that diverse ads (AD2) produce better effects on young African and Hispanic Americans than White Americans, and White Non-Hispanics respond best to their own ethnic-specific ad when compare to the other two ethnic groups.
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Keywords: advertising; congruity theory; ethnic markets; multi-ethnic markets; social identity theory

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2016

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  • Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy is the major new peer-reviewed, professional journal dedicated to the advancement of best practice and latest thinking in cultural marketing, incorporating multicultural and cross-cultural marketing. Guided by its Editor, Dr. Jake Beniflah, and an eminent Editorial Board consisting of leading cultural marketing experts, each biannual 100-page issue of Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy provides in-depth, practical articles from leading professionals in the field on innovative strategies, techniques and trends, together with the latest applied research in multicultural and cross-cultural marketing and detailed analysis of how leading brands are managed in today's changing demographic and cultural climate.
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