Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version

Fall 12-2017

Document Type



Dan, Z. (2017). The effects of culture on international advertising appeals: A cross-cultural content analysis of U.S. and Japanese global brands. Professional Projects from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.


Copyright (c) 2017 Dan Zhao


An international advertising campaign can be standardized in creative strategy, but localized in execution. As an integral part of the execution, advertising appeals should be tailored to local culture to maximize the effectiveness of international advertising campaigns while minimizing cost. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether advertising appeals mirror predicable differences in cultural values.

This study is based on the influential Hofstede model (Hofstede, 2001; Hofstede & Mooij, 2010), which distinguishes cultures according to six dimensions. While individualism and collectivism have been widely discussed in published studies, other dimensions that are also important indicators of advertising appeals have not yet been systematically studied. For example, the sixth and new dimension, “indulgence versus restraint,” was added to Hofstede cultural model in 2010. It has been the least studied cultural dimension, and has not yet been widely adopted in intercultural studies. Therefore, another purpose of this study is to scrutinize these cultural dimensions for a better understanding of the interplay of culture and advertising appeals in cross-national settings.

This study pairs the United States and Japan to investigate advertising content across sharply contrasting cultures. A quantitative content analysis with independent samples t-tests is conducted to analyze the variance of sample means.