Effect Of Cultural Differences On Advertisement

By Samit Banerjee

Describe how cultural differences might impact viewers’ perceptions of advertisements. Provide examples.

Since birth, a person gets deeply inflicted and associated with his or her culture. The type of food, clothing, language, festivals, faith and beliefs all are part of the deliverables of the cultural aspect of life. Man is a social being and can never survive alone all by self. Hence, in maintaining the natural attribute of being social, man mingles with people around, forms localities and various cultures and traditions start originating.

An advertisement is the most integral and inseparable part of the marketing approach of any organization amongst a great mass of viewers in order to promote their products or services for sale. Advertisements can be a pictorial or graphical representation of the benefits and advantages of products or services of an organization, or, it can be animations and videos. In both these forms, concepts are conveyed in a professional and lenient way to promote deliverables of an organization.

In the quest of preparing or framing advertisement contents, often the creative experts and designers fail to satisfy all parameters of all major cultures prevalent across the globe. This casts a negative impact on viewers’ perception as the content might hurt their sentiments. The basic fields, which create an impact on viewers’ perception of advertisements due to cultural differences, are as follows:

 The language of advertising: Certain words carry different meanings in different languages. A word can mean something bright and nice in one language whereas in some other language it can mean something offensive. This language difference compels viewers to change their perspective towards the deliverables of the organization.

Example: Ford launched a car named Pinto and used a tagline “Put a Pinto under your tree”. According to the perception of the company, it was nothing offensive as by using this catch line they intended to demonstrate the maximum level of casualness required in maintaining the car and describe its hardy and sturdy features. But on the other hand, according to some Brazilian culture, the word Pinto means tiny male genitals. This cultural difference showed up as a negligible sale of the car model in the Brazilian province.

Descriptive facts of advertisements: Advertisements use colours, numbers and shapes for expressing the logic or concept behind the promotion. In this activity, cultural differences may cause a barrier in attaining the desired level of viewer rating as the significance of numbers, colours and slogans vary along cultural boundaries.

Example: Red colour is one of the most auspicious colours in many cultures but in some other cultures it signifies danger or bloodshed. Numbers associated with religions like 108, 786, 777 etc carries religious adoration and significance. Use of such values can result in a disoriented perception of viewers towards the advertisement.

Cultural Values: Cultural values extend its expanse from daily life chores to relationships and beliefs. It is evident from our current livelihood and lifestyle that we are bound to the rituals and cultures by intangible bands according to which we plan our life. Few activities may appear to be liberal or casual in some culture while in some other it might violate ethical standards.

Example: A male family member embracing a female family member can be a gesture of affection in some culture whereas in few other it might be taken to be a violation of female privacy.

In this world where billions of people dwell under the code of thousands of cultural customs and beliefs, it is very tough to maintain the ethical standards at par with all of those. Yet, if special attention is provided to formulate and design neutral contents using a basic sense of life, this disparity can be avoided with quality advertisement capable of a wider range of circulation and viewers’ preference.

Online Instructor

Samit Banerjee

Effect Of Cultural Differences On Advertisement


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