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Humor In Cross Cultural Advertising Essay

5574 words - 23 pages

HUMOR IN CROSS-CULTURAL ADVERTISING: COMPARING AUSTRALIA, THE UNITED STATES AND THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.Heather J. Crawford, University of New South Wales1Gary D. Gregory, University of New South Wales1James M. Munch, Wright State University2Charles S. Gulas, Wright State University2
1 School of Marketing
University of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2052
Australia
Ph: +61 2 9385 3385

2. Marketing Department
Wright State University
3640 Colonel Glenn Highway
Dayton, OH 45435-0001
Ph: +1 937 775-3047

HUMOR IN CROSS-CULTURAL ADVERTISING: COMPARING AUSTRALIA, THE UNITED STATES AND THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.AbstractHumor is frequently used in advertising worldwide. This study explores ...view middle of the document...

First, we investigate advertiser choice of ad appeals in a country where advertising is a fairly recent phenomenon compared with countries where it is a long-standing practice. Second, in addition to comparing humorous and non-humorous appeals, we compare the use of humor mechanisms and themes. Lastly, we investigate the extent to which cultural context influences choice of ad appeals, and the combinations of humor mechanism and theme. In doing so, it is our belief that this research will provide important additions to theory and practice in cross-cultural communication through advertising.Literature ReviewWhat is Humor?A critical issue in research on humor in advertising is a lack of consensus on a definition of humor. This extends to categorization of humor types, and in particular, definitions that are equally valid in a cross-cultural research setting. A number of typologies have been developed and tested in English-speaking markets (Kelly and Solomon 1975), but have not been extensively tested in cross-cultural contexts. This lack of agreement has made empirical research on humor in advertising problematic, in particular, research in a cross-cultural setting.Possibly the most accepted definition of humor is the audience's perceptual response i.e. if the audience finds the stimulus funny, then it is classified as humorous (Unger 1996). This broad definition highlights the need to investigate the impact of the humor on the audience.Humor in Cross-Cultural AdvertisingHumor has frequently been used as an advertising appeal and research on these appeals is extensive (Gulas and Weinberger 2006). There are a multiplicity of factors influencing how humor works and what executions will be most effective in advertising, and assorted combinations of these factors have been explored. A number of excellent reviews of the literature on humor in advertising have been compiled to summarize this exploration (Gulas and Weinberger 2006; Sternthal and Craig 1973).Prior research looks at the topic from both advertiser (Toncar 2001; Weinberger and Spotts 1989) and consumer perspectives (Alden, Mukherjee, and Hoyer 2000). Our research begins with the advertiser perspective investigating intended humor in advertising, and sets the stage for future research to compare this with the consumer perspective.Advertising practitioners in many countries favor the use of humorous appeals. The study by Weinberger and Spotts (1989) and repeated by Toncar (2001), demonstrated that both U.S. and U.K. advertising executives held a belief that humor was effective in gaining attention to an ad.It is expected that the proportions of humorous ads in a culture will be similar between cultures, although absolute numbers may vary. Relative frequencies are measured to allow for direct comparison between data sets. Thus, the following hypothesis is offered:Hypothesis 1: The relative frequencies of television ads using appeals intended to be humorous will not vary significantly between...

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