Staff Writer: Greta Frusha
Marieke de Mooij has long been fascinated by the consequences of cultural diversity for global advertising Los Angeles. She was born and raised in Amsterdam but form the age of fourteen stayed with families in the UK and France. This gave her an opportunity to experience the behavior differences that she has continued for the rest of her life. Her career as a visiting professor in different countries helped her understand how to make culture more concrete by using Geert Hofstede’s dimensional model of national culture to analyze differences in consumer behavior.
Mooij feels that the most important find for top advertising agencies in Los Angeles is how people communicate in interpersonal communication and mass communication. Advertising works differently across cultures so there is no universal model. People process information differently so advertising varies to meed the differences. This was demonstrated by Gordon Miracle in 1987, yet advertising academies seems to ignore this.
The dominant theory of advertising processing developed in an US-UK context and isn’t necessarily the most valid for all of the other cultures. Their models of how advertising works is based off of a supposition that consumers want to be informed. This is not so in other nations. Even in Europe, people in different areas process information in very different ways. Southern Europeans do not search information in a conscious way as do Northern Europeans
The feeling of individualism tends to correlate with people that believe that they are informed enough to make a buying decision. If a person lives in a collectivistic culture, then being informed is not that big of an issue. In Spain, where there is frequent social interaction, there is an automatic flow of communication between people. This results in people ‘just knowing’ things without having to search for information. Advertising there has a much different role because emotional bonding is more important than information.
While there is not an universality of emotions, there may be personality traits that are related to culture. Connecting personality traits to culture has implications for connecting personal traits to global brands. In 2001, Jennifer Aaker found that brand personality differences existed in different countries. Mooij has found that people in different countries attribute personalities to major global brands. While those companies want to have consistent global messages, the people attribute personalities to those brands to fit their culture.
She is concerned that while advertising theory has relied on findings from psychology, there’s been little evidence of information from a vast amount of cross cultural psychology being applied to global marketing, branding, and advertising.
By not utilizing sources of information on cross cultural advertising, the global advertising market may be losing potential consumers by trapping them in the cultural confines of another country. Now there is plenty of material that can be found in public domain that can help understand target countries.
There is no reason for an advertising agency to not respect the cultural differences and use those traits to shape an ad campaign.