Humor In Cross Cultural Advertising

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 the impact of culture on current practice in the use of humorous appeals in television advertising in Australia, the U.S. and the People's Republic of China. 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.IntroductionHumor is frequently used in advertising, but its effects and effectiveness are not well understood. With over US$103 billion globally being spent annually on ads with humorous appeals (ZenithOptimedia 2009), it is critical that advertisers gain the highest possible effectiveness. In particular, with organizations standardizing their products and promotion globally, the use of humor in cross-cultural advertising requires further examination.The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of culture on current practice in the use of humorous appeals in television advertising in three different cultural contexts. We compare the frequencies of intended humor, and the proportions of humor types and themes in television ads between the United States (USA), the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Australia (AUS).The present research builds on our understanding of humorous advertising in cross-national settings in two important ways. 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...

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