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Adapting advertising appeals to individualism or collectivism: The role of thought activation

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Research into international advertising has shown culturally adapted value appeals to be more persuasive and better liked than non-adapted value appeals, especially when they appeal to the individualism–collectivism dimension. The exception to this observation is in Europe, where, despite significant cultural differences across the continent, such effects have not been identified. This study replicates the material from a previous, highly successful study, and adds a qualitative part to the study. Dutch participants completed a cognitive response task, placed either before or after the main dependent measures, to investigate whether inviting participants to think actively about an advertisement may lead to value activation and consequently to cultural value adaptation effects. The results indicate that cultural value adaptation has no effect on liking or persuasion, even when the cognitive response task occurred before the main dependent measures. This study adds to a growing body of literature indicating that Western Europeans do not consider advertisements adapted to the individualism–collectivism dimension to be more persuasive than non-adapted advertisements; likewise, Western Europeans do not prefer them over non-adapted advertisements.
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Keywords: cultural adaptation; dynamic constructivism; individualism–collectivism; international advertising; value activation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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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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