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Brand Positioning Through Advertising in Asia,


North America, and Europe : The Role of Global
Consumer Culture

Article in Journal of Marketing · January 1999


DOI: 10.2307/1252002 · Source: OAI

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Brand Positioning Through Advertising in Asia, North America, and Europe: The Role of
Global Consumer Culture
Author(s): Dana L. Alden, Jan-Benedict E. M. Steenkamp, Rajeev Batra
Source: The Journal of Marketing, Vol. 63, No. 1 (Jan., 1999), pp. 75-87
Published by: American Marketing Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1252002
Accessed: 13/09/2010 18:44

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Dana L. Alden, Jan-Benedict E.M.Steenkamp, & Rajeev Batra

Brand PositioningThrough
Advertisingin Asia, North America,
and Europe: The Role of Global
Consumer Culture
In this study, the authors examine the emergence of brand positioning strategies in advertising that parallel the
growth of the global marketplace. A new construct, global consumer culture positioning (GCCP), is proposed, op-
erationalized,and tested. This constructassociates the brandwitha widelyunderstoodand recognized set of sym-
bols believed to constituteemergingglobalconsumer culture.Study results supportthe validityof the new construct
and indicate that meaningful percentages of advertisements employ GCCP, as opposed to positioning the brand as
a member of a local consumer culture or a specific foreign consumer culture. Identification of GCCP as a position-
ing tool suggests one pathway through which certain brands come to be perceived by consumers as "global"and
provides managers with strategic direction in the multinational marketplace.

G lobalization is a relatively recent phenomenon that tion with small-town Americanculture in its U.S. advertis-
affords marketing managers new opportunities ing), and foreign consumer culture positioning (FCCP), in
(Roth 1995a) as well as threats (Duncan and which the brandis associated with a specific foreign culture
Ramaprasad1995). One opportunityis the growth of global (e.g., SingaporeAirline's use of the "SingaporeGirl" in its
consumer segments (Dawar and Parker 1994; Hassan and global media advertising).
Katsanis 1994) that associate similar meanings with certain The potential contributions to brand equity that flow
places, people, and things (Caudle 1994). Paralleling the from associating a brandwith global consumerculturehave
growth of global segments is the emergence of global con- long been recognized (Aaker 1991; Kapferer1992). Buzzell
sumer cultures, sharedsets of consumption-relatedsymbols (1968) arguesthata global image is a powerful means of in-
(productcategories, brands,consumptionactivities, and so creasing sales, and Duncan (1992) and Shocker,Srivastava,
forth) that are meaningful to segment members (Terpstra and Ruekert(1994) hypothesizethatbuildinga global image
and David 1991). Mass media programming,flowing pri- gives a brandmore power and value. In part,brandswith a
marilyfrom the United States, has played a majorrole in the global image may derive their additional power and value
creation, learning, and sharing of such consumption sym- from consumerattributionsof enhanced self-worth and sta-
bols (Appadurai1990; Walker 1996). tus throughpurchaseof the brand(Friedman1990). That is,
Building on the emergenceof globally sharedmeanings, consumers may purchase certain brands to reinforce their
this study presents a new brand positioning strategy de- membershipin a specific global segment, such as teenager,
signed to assist internationalmanagerswho seek to strength- business, governmental/diplomatic,elite, and so forth(Han-
en their brand's equity in an increasingly competitive nerz 1990), and/ortheir self-image as cosmopolitan,knowl-
marketplace (Aaker 1991; Kapferer 1992). We label this edgeable, and modern (Friedman 1990). In addition,
strategy"global consumerculturepositioning"(GCCP) and globally positioned brandsare likely to have special credi-
hypothesize that GCCP can be contrasted with two other bility and authority(Kapferer 1992).
types of consumer culture positioning: local consumer cul- The proposedconceptualizationof GCCP should not be
ture positioning (LCCP), in which the brand is associated confused with globally standardizedadvertising(cf. Duncan
with the local consumer culture (e.g., Budweiser's associa- and Ramaprasad1995). Such advertisingentails the use of
similar content around the world (Johansson 1997). Al-
DanaL.Aldenis an associateprofessorandchair,Department of Market-
though GCCP can be employed in a standardizedadvertis-
ing, Collegeof BusinessAdministration, of Hawaiiat Manoa.
University ing campaign, so can FCCP (e.g., Louis Jadot wine
Jan-BenedictE.M.Steenkampis Professorof Marketing and Marketing positioned globally as a "taste"of France).At the other ex-
AreaCoordinator, CatholicUniversityof Leuven,Belgium,and GfKPro- treme,a managermay position the brandusing GCCPin one
fessor of International
Marketing Research,WageningenUniversity, The nationalmarket,FCCPin a second, and LCCPin a third.Fi-
Netherlands. RajeevBatrais Professorof Marketing,Schoolof Business nally, GCCP may be communicated(somewhat) differently
Administration,Universityof Michigan. The authorsgratefullyacknowl- in each market.For example, P&G's "all-in-one"shampoo
edge supportfromthe CenterforInternational BusinessEducationat the
with conditioner,Wash & Go, has been positioned globally
University of Hawaii,datacollectionassistancefromACME,Madras,In-
dia,andthe guidanceof the threeanonymousJMreviewers. as a time saver in a busy world. In the United States and Eu-
rope, this was signified by a woman rushing into a gym

Journal of Marketing
Vol. 63 (January 1999), 75-87 GlobalConsumerCulture/ 75
locker room and slammingthe locker door, but in Thailand, segmenting markets. Heath, Chatterjee,and France (1990,
the creative content was toned down, though it still commu- p. 38) refer to this as "phoneticsymbolism" and argue that
nicated convenience in a hectic world (The Economist the sounds of brand names can symbolize attributesand
1992). Thus, thoughGCCPmay be used in standardizedad- strengthenbrand positioning. Leclerc, Schmitt, and Dube
vertising, we view it as a distinctconstruct. (1994) investigatethe effects of foreign branding(pronunci-
In summary,the purposeof this study is to conceptual- ation or spelling of a brandname in a foreign language) on
ize, measure,and examine the use of a new brandposition- consumer brand perceptions and attitudes in the United
ing strategy referred to as GCCP. In addition, GCCP is States. French,as opposed to English, pronunciationof the
contrasted with LCCP and FCCP, and other factors influ- same brand name enhanced brand attitudes for hedonic
encing its use are tested. To this end, we first drawon semi- products but not for utilitarianor hybrid products. French
otics and communication theories to conceptualize spelling of the brandname producedmore positive brandat-
culture-basedpositioning strategies that might be used in titudes for hedonic brandsthan did country-of-origininfor-
advertising.We next develop and test several hypothesesre- mation alone (i.e., "Madein France").
gardingthe use of GCCP.Finally,implicationsarediscussed As we noted previously,it is our contention that visual,
and directionsfor furtherresearchsuggested. thematic,and verbalsigns reflecting the emergenceof glob-
al culture are likely to be found in advertising around the
world. A fairly well-developed literatureexists to account
Theoretical Framework for the general development of a global consumer culture
from which such signs arise.
Semiotics Theory
The hypothesizedpositioningframeworkfocuses on the use The Emergence of Global Consumer Culture
of verbal, thematic, and visual signs in advertisingto asso- Hannerz(1990, p. 237) notes that "worldculture"is emerg-
ciate the brandwith global, foreign, or local consumercul- ing as a result of the "increasinginterconnectednessof var-
ture, a process thatMcCracken(1993) refersto as "meaning ied local cultures as well as through the development of
transfer."Given our focus on signs, semiotics theory pro- cultureswithouta clear anchoragein any one territory."Ap-
vides an appropriatefoundation.Semiotics is devoted to the padurai (1990, p. 299) proposes a particularly relevant
study of signs and their meanings (cf. Mick 1986). Sherry frameworkof diffusion for global consumer culture using
and Camargo (1987) apply a semiotics approach in their five paths of global cultural flow, including mediascapes,
analysis of the visual symbolism of Japanese packaging. which "provide(especially in their television, film and cas-
They note that use of kanji (Chinese ideograms)represents sette forms) large and complex repertoiresof images, narra-
tradition and formality, hiragana (simplified one or two tives and 'ethnoscapes'to viewers throughoutthe world, in
stroke characters) connotes femininity and softness, and which the world of commodities and the world of 'news'
katakana(used to express foreign words) implies newness, and politics are profoundly mixed." From these sources,
foreignness, and directness. "scriptscan be formed of imagined lives, their own as well
Related to this visual aspect of semiotics is a broader as those of others living in other places" (Appadurai1990,
category referredto as "visualaesthetics."Examplesof aes- p. 299). From the semiotics perspective, it can be argued
thetic signs used to create brandassociationsinclude colors, that certainconsumers(e.g., elite, post-WorldWarII [WW
shapes, and materialsused in advertisingand packaging,as II] consumers, teens) will desire consumption experiences
well as aestheticstyles such as complexity (minimalismver- and objects that they consider "signs"of these scripts in or-
sus omamentalism) or representation(realism versus ab- der to act out imagined or real participationin the more
straction; Schmitt and Simonson 1997). Aesthetic values cosmopolitanglobal consumerculturecommunicatedby the
vary culturally,and therefore,certain signs are likely to be media.
preferredover others. For example, Asians value complexi- Walker(1996) provides evidence of the extent to which
ty and decoration, balance and harmony, and naturalism mass media in general and television in particularare play-
(Schmitt and Pan 1994). ing centralroles in the creationof global consumptionsym-
Advertising themes also serve as signs to communicate bols. He notes that MTV alone reached239 million viewers
meanings associated with the brand. Schmitt, Simonson, in 68 countries in 1996. Among teens in the United States,
and Marcus(1995) note thatthemes aestheticallycommuni- Europe,LatinAmerica, and Asia, eight out of their top ten
cate brandpositioning, and they provide examples, includ- activities are media related. In a semiotics sense, the direct
ing the professionalism theme used by many investment influence of such programmingis evidenced by teens who
houses and the high-tech theme used by many electronics watch MTV or similarchannelsbeing more likely to display
manufacturers.Cheng and Schweitzer (1996) report that the signs of teen global culture,such as jeans, runningshoes,
themes in Chinese television advertisementstend to signify and denimjackets (Walker1996). Walker(1996, p. 42) con-
family values, tradition,and technology, whereasthemes in cludes that worldwide access to television is creating a
Americanadvertisementstend to symbolize the importance global cultureof consumption,what he refers to as a "glob-
of enjoyment,cost savings, and individualism. al mall."
Finally, verbal sounds also can symbolize certainbrand Because of the diffusion of such imagery and the desire
associations. For example, Corey and Williams (1994, p. for real or imaginedparticipationin the consumercultureit
211) note that knowledge of social class language differ- creates, certain productcategories become signs of global
ences has enabled marketersto use appropriatelanguage in cosmopolitanismand modernity(e.g., air conditioners,CDs,

76 / Journalof Marketing,January1999
the hamburger,business suits). Simultaneously,it is likely For example, Sherryand Camargo(1987) note that English
that brandmanagersseek to capitalize on the semiotic na- symbolizes modernization,social mobility, and an interna-
ture of the productcategory by positioning their brand as tionalized outlook when used on packaging in Japan. Fur-
symbolic of global consumer culture-for example, the thermore,Ray, Ryder,and Scott (1994, p. 251) hypothesize
jeans brandworn by adult,upper-middle-classmen who are that the extensive use of English in print advertisements
globally cosmopolitan.The objective would be to have con- aroundthe world occurs primarilyto suggest to consumers
sumers identify the brandas a sign of membership(real or that they are cosmopolitan. In this case, the denotative
imagined) in the globally cosmopolitan segment. With this meaning attached to the words is often secondary.What is
review in mind, we now turnto a formal definition of our more importantis an appreciationof the language's implic-
constructs. it, symbolic meaning. Therefore, one way for a brand to
communicateGCCP is to use English words, writtenand/or
spoken, in its communications.In contrast,a brandmanag-
Global, Foreign, and Local er wanting to use LCCP might emphasize the local lan-
Consumer Culture Positioning guage. Finally, a brandcould associate itself with a specific
On the basis of the foregoing review, a GCCPstrategyis de- foreign consumerculture(FCCP) by employing spoken and
fined as one that identifies the brandas a symbol of a given written words from that culture in its advertising and/or
global culture-for example, the post-WW II, cosmopolitan brandname. For example, Volkswagenhas used the slogan
segment. It does so using meaning transfer (McCracken "Fahrvergniigen"in U.S. advertisements.
1993), an advertisingprocess throughwhich the brandis as- As with the English language,certainaestheticstyles are
sociated with other signs thatreflect this culturalorientation becoming recognizedas partof global consumerculture.As
(e.g., language, aesthetics, themes). Globalizationhas been an example, consider the use of spokespersonsin advertis-
defined by Robertsonas the "crystallizationof the world as ing. Just as certain aesthetic characteristicsof a spokesper-
a single place" (1987a, p. 38) and "the emergence of the son are associated with local culture prototypes(cf. Mehta
global humancondition"(1987b, p. 23). By implication,ad- and Belk 1991), it is likely that a distinct set of spokesper-
vertising featuring the idea that consumers all over the son characteristicsis coming to reflect GCCP, and use of
worldconsume a particularbrandor appealingto certainhu- such spokespersoncharacteristicsis likely to give the brand
man universals might invest the brand with the cultural a more global image (e.g., Michael Jordanfor Nike, Pierce
meaningof being a conduitto feeling at one with global cul- Brosnan for Omega). To the extent that the spokesperson
ture. Examples of brands that apparentlyhave used such embodies aesthetic characteristicsthat reflect the local cul-
strategiesincludeSony ("My FirstSony"), which positioned ture (e.g., a French businesswomandriving a Peugeot in a
one of its productsas appropriatefor young people around French television advertisement)or a specific foreign cul-
the world; Philips ("Let's Make Things Better"),whose ad- ture (e.g., a German engineer spokesperson for Audi in a
vertisementsexplicitly feature people from differentcoun- U.S. television advertisement),consumers are likely to as-
tries; and Benetton ("The United Colors of Benetton"), sociate the brandwith that culture.
whose slogan emphasizes the unity of humankind. The aestheticconstructionand display of brandlogos al-
As we noted previously,GCCP should be distinguished so may reflect alternative consumer culture positionings.
from at least two other strategiesthatinvolve culturalmean- For example, some logos may be tied less to specific cul-
ing transfer.First, LCCP (local consumer culture position- tures in terms of their appearance,such as the logos for
ing) is defined as a strategy that associates the brandwith AT&T (abstractglobe), Nike (swoosh), Royal Dutch/Shell
local cultural meanings, reflects the local culture's norms (shell), Mercedes-Benz (star), and so forth. Others may be
and identities, is portrayedas consumed by local people in more symbolic of specific culturaltraditions.Cathay Pacif-
the nationalculture, and/or is depicted as locally produced ic, for example, recentlychangedits logo to a white Chinese
for local people. For example, Chevy Trucksand Dr Pepper calligraphystroke that suggests the wing of a bird to "give
soft drinkshave been positioned in U.S. advertisingas part itself a more Asian air" (The Asian Wall Street Journal
of the "American"way of life. Second, FCCP(foreign con- Weekly1994, p. 11). Of course, it is likely that most con-
sumerculturepositioning) is defined as a strategythat posi- sumers would view the logo in its aestheticentirety(includ-
tions the brandas symbolic of a specific foreign consumer ing shape, color, texture, and overall design) and form
culture; that is, a brand whose personality, use occasion, linkages to global, foreign, or local consumercultureon the
and/oruser group are associated with a foreign culture. For basis of the symbol's gestalt-like familiarity (cf. Grunert
example, Gucci in the United States is positionedas a pres- 1996).
tigious and fashionableItalianproduct. Finally, certain story themes are likely to be identified
generally as symbolic of global consumer culture. For ex-
Dimensions of Consumer Culture Positioning ample, the young, professionalbusinesspersonwho is on the
Three central components of a cultural symbol set are lan- rise uses a Toshiba laptop whether in New York, New Del-
guage, aesthetic styles, and story themes. Although it may hi, or Paris.Thus, the story theme implies thatownershipof
have originally reflected Anglo-Americanculture, English this brand signifies that the consumer is a member of the
has come to representsomething more. As the primarylan- "transnationalcommerce culture" (Hannerz 1990). Other
guage of internationalbusiness, the mass media, and now, story themes are more likely to be associated with a specif-
the Internet(BusinessWeek1996), English has come to sig- ic foreign positioning, such as the purplecow in the Alps in
nal modernism and internationalismto many consumers. the advertisements for Milka chocolate, or with local

GlobalConsumerCulture/ 77
themes, such as scenes from the characteristiclandscapeof to individual identity (Johansson 1997) and the relatively
Tyrol for Tirolmilch. Thus, depending on the story-related early stage of global consumer culture diffusion (Feather-
themes in an advertisement,consumersaremore or less like- stone 1990), it is expected that the brands in each country
ly to associate the brandwith a specific consumerculture. sample most often will be positioned as local brands, em-
One additional point should be considered as we con- ploying language, aesthetic, and thematic signs that are
clude the review. In this study,we adoptan "etic-emic" ap- symbolic of the home culture.
proach (Poortinga and Malpass 1986). From a theoretic
H2: LCCP will be used more frequentlythan FCCP or GCCP
perspective, we investigate the hypothesis that the basic as the brandpositioning strategy in television advertising.
structure of the global-foreign-local positioning frame-
work, namely, language, aesthetics, and story themes, is et- Consumer culture positioning in the United States.
ic and applies to advertisingaroundthe world. However,the Based on our literaturereview, it appearsthat there may be
detailedexpression of thatstructurecan be influencedby lo- a substantialoverlap between brandsymbols that constitute
cal culture (emic). For example, Nescafe's advertisingpro- global consumer culture and those found in the United
jects the image of a brandconsumed globally. However, in States (Domzal and Keman 1993; Ray, Ryder, and Scott
the Netherlands,this positioningis executed by featuringan 1994). From fast food to furnitureto fashions, consumer
old man from SouthAmericaenjoying the coffee. In Greece, culturemeaning systems (language, aesthetics, and lifestyle
the advertisementsetting portraysseveral young people on themes) are transmittedfrom the United States to the rest of
a raft with a small hut for a cabin at the sea shore. Thus, lo- the world through the mediascapes described previously
cal culturemembersshould determinewhethersigns in their (Appadurai1990; Hannerz 1990). Over time, certain brand
country's advertising symbolize global, foreign, or local symbols are likely to become disassociated with the United
consumer culture. This empirical approachenables the re- States per se, becoming associated with something that is
searcherto test hypothesesregardinga universalpositioning largerthan any single country-the global consumptionset.
framework while remaining sensitive to variations across However, within the United States, many symbols (e.g.,
cultures. fried chicken) in all likelihood continue to be viewed as lo-
cal. Because of the number of global symbols that were
originally American, brand managers may believe that
Research Hypotheses GCCP has more differentiatingpower outside the United
Identification of consumer culture positioning. The pre- States and thereforeuse it more in other markets,such as in
ceding discussion indicates that GCCP, LCCP, and FCCP developing countries, where consumers may seek to en-
should be identifiable as distinct brand positioning con- hance self-perceptionsof status,competence, and esteem by
structsin television advertising.With this in mind, our first acquiringbrandsthat are perceived as cosmopolitan, mod-
hypothesis states: em, and global (Friedman 1990). If these observations are
Hi: LCCP,FCCP,and GCCP are meaningfulpositioning con- true, then fewer (more) television advertisements should
structs in television advertising. employ GCCP(LCCP) in the United States relative to other
countries. Based on this logic, our next two hypotheses
This hypothesis does not assume that mixed consumer
state:
culture positioning strategies (e.g., GCCP and FCCP signs
in the same advertisement)cannotoccur.A brandcan be (1) H3:GCCP will be identified less frequently in television
uniquely positioned on GCCP, LCCP, or FCCP; (2) posi- advertisementsin the United States relative to advertise-
tioned predominantlyon one of the three types while incor- ments in other countries.
poratingelements of other types of positioning; or (3) not H4:LCCP will be identified more frequently in television
advertisementsin the United States relative to advertise-
positionedpredominantlyon any of the dimensions.The ad-
ments in othercountries.
vertising series in which Tina Turnersings the Pepsi-Cola
theme song with local bandsin differentcountriesto provide Advertising content differences. Turning to advertising
local identificationin a global campaignis an example of a format/style, there are strong reasons to expect advertise-
mixed strategy(Jeannetand Hennessey 1995). ments employing GCCP to use more often a "soft-sell" in-
Relative frequency of GCCP. Despite mass exposure to stead of a "hard-sell"approach.Soft-sell advertisementsuse
certain similar signs of consumption, there appears to be more visual imagery and are more subtle and ambiguous
fairly strong consensus that global consumerculture is still than hard-sellones, which are relatively more informational
in its infancy (cf. Samli 1995). Some scholars, such as de and focus on tangible product features (Bradley, Hitchon,
Mooij (1998), even argue that global consumer culture is and Thorson 1994, p. 143). Furthermore,because soft-sell
essentially nonexistent, that it is a concept that exists only advertisementstypically use a lot of visual imagery, they
in the minds of corporatestrategists. However, we believe lend themselves to messages that require implicit, rather
that this is an extreme position and that there is ample the- than explicit, communication(Messaris 1997, p. vi). In ad-
oretic justification, as well as empirical evidence (referred dition, because image-orientedpsychological concepts are
to previously), to conclude that certain consumption sym- typically more abstract than feature-based informational
bols and meanings have diffused globally as a result of the concepts (Johnson 1988; Lefkoff-Hagiusand Mason 1993),
substantial increase in interculturalinteraction since the soft-sell advertisementsthat use imagery insteadof features
end of WW II (Appadurai 1990; Hannerz 1990). At the are also, by implication,usually more abstractthanhard-sell
same time, given the continued importanceof local culture advertisements.

78 / Journalof Marketing,
January1999
These featuresof soft-sell advertisements(subtlety,im- GCCP in high-tech productcategories. It thus seems likely
plicitness,and abstractness)would seem to make them more thatGCCPwill be used most frequentlyfor productsthatare
suitable for advertisementsusing GCCP. Because global durable,fairly complex, and highly technological and least
consumercultureis an emergingand rapidlychanging phe- frequentlyfor foods, with the other goods categories in be-
nomenon,with differingsets of signs in differingglobal seg- tween. The converse should be true for LCCP.
ments (Hannerz 1990), advertising using this positioning In comparing goods with services, it has been argued
should be more effective if it communicatesin a subtle, in- thatservices aremore difficult to homogenize thangoods, in
direct, and abstractfashion. A more direct and tangible ap- part because of variations in local consumption patterns
proachruns a greaterrisk of misspecifying the symbols that (e.g., Zeithaml,Parasuraman,and Berry 1990). As a result,
are reflective of GCCP.It is also plausible that advertise- services generally tend to be positioned more frequentlyas
ments using GCCP are more often image oriented than in- local in comparisonwith goods (Meffertand Bolz 1993). If
formationalbecause of linkages between the brandsand the this is the case, then LCCPis likely to be used more often in
imagined membershipin a global consumer segment (Ap- advertisementsfor services than in those for goods. Based
padurai 1990). These factors provide the rationale for our on this review, our next hypotheses state that(relativeto use
next hypothesis: with other goods)

H5:Televisionadvertisements using GCCPwill more fre- H6:GCCPwill be usedleastfrequentlyin televisionadvertis-


quentlyuse indirect,image-orientedcontentapproaches ing for food productsand most frequentlyfor durable,
(soft-sell)thandirect,strongmessageargumentappeals high-technologygoods,withhousehold,personalcare,and
(hard-sell). low-techdurableconsumerproductsin between.
H7:LCCPwill be usedmostfrequentlyin televisionadvertis-
Product category differences. Recall that GCCP in- ing for food productsand least frequentlyfor durable,
volves associating a brand with globally shared, high-technologygoods,withhousehold,personalcare,and
consumption-relatedsymbols that signal membership in low-techdurableconsumerproductsin between.
global consumer segments (Dawar and Parker 1994; Han- H8:LCCPwill be usedmoreoftenin televisionadvertisingfor
nerz 1990). It also may involve appeals to certain human servicesthanforgoods.
universals(Robertson1987b), especially the urge to appear
modem and cosmopolitan(Friedman1990). It follows that Method
the use of GCCP should be easier and more frequent in
Sampling-National cultures. Seven countries were se-
product categories for which consumers exhibit common lected to representbroadly Asian and Western cultures as
behaviors,ratherthan in those consumed in locally idiosyn- well as developed and developing economies: India, Thai-
cratic ways. In addition,GCCP should be potentiallymore
land, Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and the
relevant in productcategories that have come to symbolize
United States. Comparisonof the countrieson demographic
modernityand cosmopolitanismratherthan tradition. and economic characteristics, as well as on Hofstede's
Because of its deep connections to local culture, food
(1980) culturaldimensions,indicatedconsiderablevariation
generally is regardedas the productcategorythatis most of- within each region and between regions.1This enhances the
ten consumed in traditionaland locally idiosyncraticways.
generalizabilityof our findings.
Fischler (1988) maintainsthat foods play a crucial role in
the process of enculturation.What we eat, how it is pre- Sampling-Advertisements within country.Randomized
pared, and the rules and meanings that permeateevery as- cluster samples of national-brandtelevision advertisements
pect of food consumption practices are all sociocultural shown on major networks in each country were collected.
matters, irrespective of their biological, psychological, or Local advertising(e.g., for small, local retailers)and dupli-
economic dimensions.Even what is considerededible or not cations of national-brandadvertisementswere eliminated,
is largely a local cultural matter (Fischler 1988; Murcott along with advertisementsthat contained more than 50%
1986). Although there are exceptions (e.g., global fast-food sales promotion information (e.g., a tie-in promotion for
brandssuch as McDonald's),because of such strongties to Pepsi with a local supermarket).Advertisements for the
local traditionsand meanings,food brandsappearleast like- same brandthatdifferedin termsof 50% or more of the con-
ly to be associated with GCCP. tent remainedin the sample.
Consumer high-tech durables (such as cameras and Sampling was conductedduringa three- or four-daype-
computers),however, are used worldwide in similar, if not riod in the winter or spring of 1995. On each day (random-
identical, ways. Yip (1995, pp. 30-32) arguesthatcommon- ly chosen), a major,nationalnetwork(randomlyassigned to
ality of consumer needs across countries is highest for each day) was recordedfrom 6 A.M. to midnight.All adver-
higher-techdurablesand lowest for foods, with household tisements then were logged. A systematic random sample
and personalcare productsnearthe middle of the spectrum. (i.e., every kth advertisement)was taken from the overall
Such high-tech durables also satisfy universal consumer data set to achieve a randomsample of 20% to 25% of all
needs such as the demand for superiortechnology (Levitt advertisementscollected. For most countries,this resultedin
1983). Furthermore,many higher-techdurablebrandshave samples of 175 to 200 national-brandadvertisements,with
come to symbolize the essence of modernism and interna-
tionalism, as well as membershipin global consumer seg- 1Tablesshowingthe positionof each countryon Hofstede's
ments (such as cellular phones for businesspeople). (1980)dimensionsandseveraleconomicanddemographiccharac-
Together, these characteristicsshould facilitate the use of teristicsareavailableon request.

GlobalConsumerCulture/ 79
the exception of India, for which 120 advertisementswere the indicator(s)reflected global, local, or foreign consumer
selected.2 This process produced a total sample of 1267 culture.
unduplicated,national-brandtelevision advertisementsfrom In carryingout their task, coders were told that the signs
seven countries. should be coded as (1) local, if they reflected their own na-
tive culture(e.g., use of the Thai alphabetto write the brand
In-depthcoding procedures.In each country,two native
coders used a standardcoding form that was double back name in Thailand);(2) foreign, if they representedanother
translatedinto theirown language(if needed)to evaluatethe individual, identifiable culture (e.g., use of the southern
advertisements.With the exception of India, graduatestu- Frenchcountrysidein an Americanadvertisementfor wine);
dent research assistants, all natives living in their home and (3) global, if they representeda cultural element that
was not associated with a single country (local or foreign),
country,were employed as coders. For the Indianadvertise-
but rather a larger group generally recognized as interna-
ments, coders were recentlyarrivedgraduatestudentsliving
in the United States.3 Research assistants ratherthan large tional and transcendingindividualnationalcultures(e.g., an
airline advertisementfeaturingbusinesspeople from multi-
samples of native subjects were used because the coding
task was complex and time-consuming.This approach is ple countriesinteractingin business class on an internation-
al flight). Beyond these etic instructions,coders were left to
regularlyemployed in cross-culturalresearchinvolving ad-
determine emically which elements were local, global, or
vertisingcontent analyses (cf. Alden, Hoyer, and Lee 1993;
Bradley,Hitchon,and Thorson 1994; Cheng and Schweitzer foreign.
Therefore,on each of three dimensions (GCCP,LCCP,
1996).
All coders received extensive trainingusing practicead- FCCP), ad content scores could range from 0 to 5. Adver-
vertisementsprior to the actual coding task. Much of this tisements with threeor more of any single consumerculture
positioning element were labeled as emphasizing that posi-
training was conducted in the coders' native languages,
tioning strategy;for example, an advertisementwith threeor
thoughforeign researcherswere usuallypresent.The coders
more local elements was categorized as emphasizing
worked independentlyand took approximatelyten minutes
LCCP.4Ourcoding procedureis consistentwith our position
to code each advertisement.For all items in all countrysam-
that GCCP, LCCP, and FCCP are separate constructs that
ples, interjudgeagreement exceeded 80%. Disagreements
can occur simultaneouslyand to differentdegrees in specif-
were resolved with the assistance of a third researchassis-
ic advertisements.This multi-item measurementprocedure
tantor projectcoordinatorwhen the two coders were unable
enables us to arriveat a more reliableclassification and val-
to reach consensus on their own.
idate the structureof the items.5
Measures.Previously in this article,three broadcultural Other characteristicsof the advertisementsrelevant to
categories from which signs arise were identified, namely, testing our hypotheses also were coded. For H5, (soft-
language, aesthetics, and story themes. Reflecting each of versus hard-sell and GCCP), a dichotomous scale was ap-
these culturalcategories, the measure of consumer culture plied. Coders were asked to determine whether the overall
positioning in television advertisingwas composed of five sales appealof the advertisementshould be labeled as "soft-
indicators.Signs of consumer culture positioning were (1) sell/image"(image-orientedcontentthatdoes not emphasize
pronunciation of brand name, (2) symbols used and/or reasons to buy, but rather general associations with the
spelling of visually displayed brandname, (3) symbol used
for brand logo, (4) central themes, and (5) appearanceof
4Thus,ourcodingschemecategorizesan advertisement as em-
spokesperson(s).Although there are other sign categories consumerculturepositioningif themajority
phasizinga particular
that could have been coded (cf. Caudle 1994), these cate- of thefive signsbelongto one particulartypeof consumerculture
gories form a reasonableinitial subset thatrepresentsmulti- positioning.It alsousesequalweightingof eachculturalindicator.
ple semiotic dimensions without being too onerous for The use of equallyweightedindicatorsis commonin marketing.
coders to use. If coders found that one or more of the signs However,othertypes of assignmentschemesare also possible.
were presentin the advertisement,they determinedwhether Onereviewersuggestedthefollowingscheme:Anadvertisement is
classifiedas usinga particular culturepositioningonly when at
least fourof the signsincludingthe themeare supportiveof that
culture.The rationalefor this approachis thatadvertisements for
21tis possiblethatthe samplingprocedure yieldedfeweradver- some brandsmightbe classifiedas usingGCCPbecauseof their
tisementsin Indiabecausetheproportion of broadcast timedevot- brandname,logo, andsymbols,ratherthanbecausetheseadver-
ed to advertisingmay have been smallerthere than in other tisements(explicitly)are tryingto conveythatthe brandis used
markets,thoughwe haveno way to confirmthis hypothesis.Al- aroundtheworldandis partof theglobalconsumerculture.Weal-
thoughthe numberof Indianadvertisements was still substantial so testedH2-H8withthisalternative brandingscheme.Theresults
(120),thismaylimittheextentto whichourfindingscanbe gen- were alwaysin the same directionas thatfor our classification
eralizedto the universeof all Indiantelevisionadvertisements. scheme.Forsix of eighthypotheses,the resultsreachedstatistical
3TheIndianadvertisements werecodedin the UnitedStatesin- significance(p < .10),andanotherhypothesiswasclose to signifi-
steadof in Indiabecauseof resourcelimitations withtheIndianre- cance(p = .12). Thus,our resultsarerobustacrosstwo different
searchpartner. However,becausethecodersemployedwerenative classificationschemes,whichincreasesconfidencein ourfindings.
Indiangraduateresearchassistantsrecentlyarrivedfrom India, 5SeealsoRoth(1995b),whousesa closelyrelatedprocedure but
thereis littlereasonto expectIndia-based codersto havecodedthe employssingleratherthanmultipleitemsto identifyfunctional, so-
advertisements any differentlythanthey did. Note thatgraduate cial,andsensorybrand-image strategies.Inhis work,brandscould
studentsareregularlyemployedas codersfor advertisingcontent be positioneduniquelyalongone of these imagestrategies,or a
analyses(Alden, Hoyer,and Lee 1993; Bradley,Hitchon,and companycouldemploya hybridapproachby combiningseveral
Thorson1994;ChengandSchweitzer1996). strategies.

January1999
80 / Journalof Marketing,
brand) or "hard-sell/direct"(sales-oriented, verbal, strong For all items, the category "foreign"is located in the up-
message arguments, comparative content; cf. Bradley, per-rightquadrant.The upper-leftquadrantcontains the cat-
Hitchon, and Thorson 1994; Mueller 1996). To test H6-H8, egory "global" for all items, and the lower-rightquadrant
productsdisplayed or referredto in the advertisementswere has the category "local"for all items. The cluster of foreign
classified as follows: food nondurables, personal non- categories is relatively loose. In contrast,the clusters of the
durables, household nondurables, lower-technology con- local and global categories are tight, and these two cate-
sumer durables, higher-technology durables, consumer gories constitutethe main foci of our study.8
services, business goods, business services, and other. Fol- The HOMALS programoffers an additional, powerful
lowing discussion among the research coordinatorsabout test on the discriminabilityof the three culturalpositioning
functional and conceptual equivalence across countries, concepts. If the concepts clearly representunique perspec-
similarexamples of each productcategory were providedin tives, a single underlyingcontinuumfrom local to foreign to
all countries (e.g., personalnondurablecare goods include global (indicatingan increasingdegree of remoteness from
shampoo, makeup,toothpaste,and deodorant). native culture)should not be obtained.This assumptionwas
tested by imposing monotonicconstraintson the quantifica-
tion of the categoriesby item (Gifi 1990). Imposingthe mo-
Results notonic constraintled to a substantialdecrease in fit from
Identification of Consumer Culture Positioning .857 to .664. Imposinga linear constraintfurtherdecreased
the fit to .640. Thus, the three categories of local, foreign,
Hl states that LCCP,FCCP,and GCCP would be found as and global appearto constituteuniqueconstructsthatshould
meaningfulbut distinct brandpositioningconstructsin tele- be treatedseparately,ratherthan being placed on a continu-
vision advertisingfrom countriesaroundthe world.The five um. These resultsprovidefurtherevidence regardingthe va-
items used to measurethe extent to which an advertisement lidity of distinguishingamong LCCP,FCCP,and GCCP.
employed LCCP,FCCP,or GCCPwere scaled categorically. The resultsof the MCA analysis providesupportfor the
Therefore, classical (metric) factor analysis could not be convergentvalidity of the items selected to measureculture
used to validate the structureof the categorizations.Multi- positioning. Thus, a sum measure was created on the basis
ple correspondence analysis (MCA), which, conceptually, of the extent to which similar consumerculturepositioning
can be regardedas principalcomponents analysis on cate- elements were present in a given advertisement.In particu-
gorical data, is a more appropriateanalytic technique (Gifi lar, advertisementswith three or more similar identifiers
1990; Hoffman, de Leeuw, and Arjunji 1994).6 (out of five) were classified as emphasizing that approach.
The MCA approach, using the versatile HOMALS pro- Table 1 lists the overall frequencies for type of consumer
gram (SPSS 1989), was applied to the matrix of 1267 ad- culturepositioning based on the sum score. More than 85%
vertisementsby five items. The analysis was performedin of the advertisementshad a dominantcultural positioning
two dimensions based on elbow and interpretabilitycriteria. and were classified as GCCP,LCCP,or FCCP.
The fit was .857, indicatingthat 85.7% of the variancewas Employingthe sum score measures,an additionalcheck
explained (after optimal scaling).7Figure 1 shows the quan- on the measures'discriminantvalidity was undertaken.Sim-
titative results for the three categories of local, foreign, and ple correlationswere calculatedbetween the numberof con-
global for each item. Clear regions of categories are re- sumer culture positioning identifiers found in each
vealed in this plot. advertisementfor each of the threedimensions(e.g., Adver-
tisement 33 might have threeglobal identifiers,one foreign,
6The MCA approachdeals with the analysis of interdependence and one local). As we expected, the relationshipbetween the
among a set of categorical items. It quantifiescategoricaldata by total number of local and global items was negative (r =
assigning numerical values to the advertisementsand the cate- -.77, p < .001). It was also negative for local and foreign
gories of the items (for all five items, the categories were "local," items (r = -.57, p < .001). At the same time, the correlation
"foreign,"and "global").In addition,MCA providesan interpreta- between global and foreign items was not significant (r =
tion in termsof distances in a multidimensionalmap.Categoriesof
-.03, n.s.). All three correlationswere also significantly be-
differentitems that tend to sharethe same advertisementsare rela-
low 1.0 (ps < .0001).
tively close to one anotherin the map.Thus, categoriesof different
items are located relativelyclose to one anotherif they occurjoint- Given these results, LCCPand GCCPare meaningfulas
ly in the same advertisements(Hoffman, de Leeuw, and Arjunji separateindividualbrandpositioningconstructs.Use of the
1994). The validity of combining scores across items is therefore sum measures for GCCP and LCCP therefore is justified.
supportedif the relevant items are close together. The results for the FCCP measure are encouraging in that
7Some of the advertisementshad missing data for one or more the impositionof monotonicconstraintsand the correlations
items because none of the categories was applicable.For example,
indicatethatFCCPis a meaningfulseparateconstruct.How-
if the brandlogo was not displayed visually duringthe advertise-
ment, this item could not be coded. However, missing data present
no problems for HOMALS, and there is no need to discard the 8A cluster analysis on the category quantificationsdepicted in
missing observations(Gifi 1990). The analysis was carriedout on Figure I revealed four clusters. One cluster consisted of the five
the incompletedata matrix.Gifi (1990, p. 138) refersto this treat- global categories, and a second clustercontainedthe five local cat-
ment of missing data as "missing values passive."Anotheroption egories. The five foreign categories were divided in two clusters.
is to add the category "missing"to each item. Gifi (1990, p. 138) The category "foreign"(items 1, 2, and 5) composed one cluster,
calls this "missing values single." We also analyzed the data using and the foreign categories of items 3 and 4 were the other cluster.
the "missing data single" approach.The category quantifications The formeritems dealt with the brand,whereasthe latterdealt with
for local, foreign, and global were virtuallythe same. theme and characters.

GlobalConsumerCulture/ 81
FIGURE 1
Results of Multiple Correspondence Analysis: Consumer Culture Positioning Measure

Dimension 1

3.0 - Fl
F2
G = coded as global
F = coded as foreign 2.0
F4 F5
L = coded as local
F3

1.0 -

G1
G2 Dimension 2
G4 G5
C3
I I - ---T- . . I . I I I I I I I I
-2 I I
-3.0 -2.0 -1.0 1 1.0 2.0 3.0
L2 L
-2 L5
-1.0

Scale Items by Number:


1. Spokesperson appearance
2. Theme -2.0 -
3. Pronunciationof brand
name
4. Visual display of brand
name -3.0 -

5. Brand logo design

TABLE 1
Consumer Culture Positioning by Country

Country

United
States Thailand Korea India Germany Netherlands France Total

Culture
Positioning
Strategy
LCCP 177 81 133 102 84 81 90 748
(88.5) (40.5) (66.5) (85.0) (45.4) (46.0) (48.4) (59.0)
GCCP 11 83 44 12 60 38 36 284
(5.5) (41.5) (22.0) (10.0) (32.4) (21.6) (19.4) (22.4)
FCCP 1 13 4 1 11 15 3 48
(.5) (6.5) (2.0) (.8) (5.9) (8.5) (1.6) (3.8)
No dominant 11 23 19 5 30 42 57 187
consumer (5.5) (11.5) (9.5) (4.2) (16.5) (23.9) (30.6) (14.8)
culture
positioning
Total 200 200 200 120 185 176 186 1267
Note:Percentagesare in parentheses.

82 / Journalof Marketing,January1999
ever, the graphicalMCA results are less clear-cut than for erage of 53.5% in the other countries [X2(I) = 85.25, p <
the othertwo constructs.This may be due to the small num- .001]. The only countrywhere the percentageof GCCP and
ber of FCCPadvertisements(48 total) in this sample, which LCCPadvertisementswas close to the United States was In-
rendersthe results for FCCPless stable (cf. Gifi 1990). Re- dia (GCCP: 10%,LCCP:85%).9
sults involving the FCCPconstructare, therefore,viewed as
strictlyexploratory. Advertising Content Differences
H5 proposes that advertisementsemploying GCCP would
Relative Frequency of GCCP use soft-sell messages more frequentlythan hard-sell ones.
H2 states that LCCP would be employed more frequently Whereas 56.3% of the GCCP advertisementsemployed a
than either of the other two strategies.This hypothesis re- soft-sell approach,43.7% employed hard-sell. This differ-
ceived strong support.Overall, LCCP was used in 59% of ence is significant in the predicted direction and provides
the advertisements,versus 22.4% for GCCP and 3.8% for support for H5 [X2(l) = 4.33, p < .05].
FCCP.The differencein frequencyof occurrenceamong the
three consumer culture positioning strategies was highly Product Category Differences
significant [X2(2)= 704.62, p < .001]. Analysis of the fre- Table 2 provides a general overview of the frequencies of
quency of use of LCCP,GCCP,and FCCPfor each country the three types of consumer culture positioning for the dif-
supportedthis basic conclusion (see Table 1 for the frequen- ferent product types distinguished.This table provides the
cies). In six of seven countries, significantly more adver-
tisements employed LCCPthan either GCCPor FCCP(p < 9It is possible thatthe difference in the use of GCCP in the Unit-
.001). Only in Thailand was the percentage of advertise- ed States versus the othercountriesis due to differences in the rel-
ments using LCCPnot significantlygreater. ative frequency of product types across countries ratherthan the
intrinsic differences suggested in this study.Therefore, we exam-
Consumer Culture Positioning in the United States ined whetherH3 also was supportedwhen we controlledfor prod-
uct type using logit modeling.The dependentvariablewas whether
H3 states that GCCP would be identified in fewer television an advertisementused GCCP,and the country involved (the Unit-
advertisementsin the United States than in other countries. ed States [= 1] versus the other countries [= 0]) and the product
Chi-squareanalysis indeed revealed a significant associa- types were includedas independentdummy variables.Three prod-
tion between country (United States versus othercountries) uct-type dummies were created:food, high-techdurables,and ser-
and consumer culture positioning (GCCP versus LCCP, vices, with personal care, nondurables, and low-tech durables
FCCP,or no dominantpositioning):X2(l) = 39.07, p < .001. serving as baselines. H3 predictsa significantnegative effect of the
country dummy, which was indeed the case (p < .001). We per-
Only 5.5% of the advertisementsin the U.S. sample were formedthe same analysis for H4, using LCCPratherthanGCCPas
found to use GCCP versus, on average, 25.6% in the other the dependentvariable.H4 predictsthatthe countrydummy is pos-
countries(see Table 1). In line with H4, 88.5% of the adver- itive and significant,which was also the case (p < .001). Thus, con-
tisements in the U.S. sample employed LCCPversus an av- trolling for producttype, the same conclusions were reached.

TABLE 2
Product Type by Consumer Culture Positioning

Product Type
Low-Tech High-Tech
Food Personal Household Consumer Consumer Consumer
Nondurables Nondurables Nondurables Durables Durables Service Other

Culture
Positioning
Strategy
LCCP 275 185 85 68 36 81 18
(63.1) (58.3) (63.0) (53.6) (34.3) (72.3) (51.4)
GCCP 81 76 32 32 35 18 10
(18.6) (24.0) (23.7) (25.2) (33.3) (16.1) (28.6)
FCCP 25 11 2 6 1 2 1
(5.7) (3.5) (1.5) (4.7) (1.0) (1.8) (2.9)
No dominant 55 45 16 21 33 11 6
consumer (12.6) (14.2) (11.8) (16.5) (31.4) (9.8) (17.1)
culture
positioning
Total 436 317 135 127 105 112 35
Note:Percentages are in parentheses.

GlobalConsumerCulture/ 83
relevantinformationfor testing H6-H8.A significantassoci- Managerial Implications
ation was found between the use of GCCP(versus any oth- A key strategicissue for managersinvolves identificationof
er positioning strategy, including no dominant culture country, consumer segment, and product category factors
positioning)and the type of good involved [X2(2)= 11.64,p that favor the use of GCCP,FCCP,or LCCP.For example,
< .01]. As Table 2 shows, GCCP was used in 18.6% of the the managerof a beer brandemploying GCCP in many na-
food advertisements, 24.2% of the advertisements for tional markets might analyze competitive advertising in a
household, personal care, and low-tech durable consumer newly targetedcountryand conclude that none of the brands
products, and 33.3% of the advertisementsfor high-tech alreadyin that marketuses FCCP.If the foreign culturehis-
consumerdurables.Thus, H6 is supported.However,63.1% torically tied to the beer brandhas a positive image among
of the food advertisements;58.4% of the advertisementsfor consumers in the targeted country, the manager might
household, personalcare, and low-tech consumerdurables; choose to employ FCCP initially (cf. Leclerc, Schmitt, and
and 34.3%of the advertisementsfor high-techdurablesused Dube 1994). If so, brandadvertisingwould emphasize aes-
LCCP.The difference in percentageswas again significant thetic, spokesperson, and thematic signs associated with a
[X2(2) = 28.86, p < .001], in support of H7. Finally, in sup- specific foreign country.At some future date, the manager
port of H8, LCCP was used relatively more often in adver- could determinewhethera shift to GCCP(or even LCCP) is
tisements for services (72.3%) than in those for goods warranted.
It is possible thatGCCPmight work betterthanLCCPin
[57.9%;X2(1)= 8.71, p < .01].
marketsthat are characterizedby lower levels of economic
development.This could be the case because consumers in
Discussion and Implications these markets may admire the "economic center" and be-
lieve thatproductiontechnologies in their own countriesare
Although scholars agree that the perceptionof a brand as
less advanced (Appadurai 1990). This is consistent with
global enhancesequity (Kapferer1992; Shocker,Srivastava,
some of the researchon country-of-origineffects (cf. Hes-
and Ruekert 1994), efforts to identify pathways through
lop and Papadopoulos1993, p. 45). In line with this, Fried-
which such associations diffuse have been limited. In this
man (1990) and other cultural anthropologistsreport that
study, we conceptualizeda theoreticalframeworkin which ownership of brands from the West increases the owner's
the advent of global consumer culturesgives rise to global statusin many developing countries.Therefore,tangibleand
signs (i.e., language, aesthetic systems, and story themes) thematic signs that connote enhanced status from GCCP
and hypothesizedthatthese signs would be used in advertis- brandownershipmay achieve meaning transfermore effec-
ing to associate certainbrandswith global consumerculture tively for consumersin developing countries who are prone
througha process of meaningtransfer(McCracken1993). to reference group influence, such as teenagers (Bearden
Applying this framework,we proposed and validateda and Etzel 1982; Parkand Lessig 1977).
new measureof GCCP in television advertising(HI). It en- Longitudinaltrends in aggregate marketbehaviors also
ables managersand researchersto distinguish GCCP from might affect perceptions of positioning strategies. For ex-
two other types of consumer culture positioning, that is, ample, as the quality of local goods improves and imported
LCCPand FCCP.Supportwas found for predictionsregard- goods lose scarcity value, marketsinitially favoring GCCP
ing the overall use of GCCP versus LCCP (H2), the use of brandsmay turn inwardand favor LCCP brands(cf. Etten-
GCCPand LCCPin U.S. advertising(H3 and H4),the use of son 1993). Firms using GCCP thus must trackits effective-
GCCP in conjunction with hard or soft sales themes (H5), ness, because changing market sentiments may suggest
and the use of GCCP and LCCP across productcategories alternativepositioning strategies.
(H6-H8).These results acquireadded value from the nature This frameworkcan be used for other analyses as well.
of the data used (a random sample of television advertise- According to previous work regarding brand positioning
ments from diverse countries)and the natureof the analyses (Park,Jaworski,and Maclnnis 1986; Roth 1992, 1995a), it
conductedon the data (such as the MCA used to test the dis- is possible that certain brandsare sending mixed messages
to their targetmarketby communicatingmultiple consumer
criminantvalidityof GCCP,FCCP,and LCCP,as well as the
cultureidentitiesin theiradvertising.That is, advertisements
additionaltest of the robustnessof the measurementmodel;
see Footnote 4). employing too much breadth(e.g., one FCCP element, two
GCCPelements, and two LCCPelements) may confuse con-
Previousresearchhas given substantialattentionto com- sumers and/or create negative brand attitudes. Managers
parative analyses of advertisingcontent-for example, in- could thereforebenefit by using the frameworkdeveloped
formation level, humor use, and materialisticthemes. Yet herein to examine previouscommunicationstrategiesto en-
few comparative studies have examined strategic, brand- sure they err on the side of depth ratherthan breadth.
related issues such as positioning. Furthermore,to date, a In termsof the tactical question-how best to communi-
frameworkthat supportsanalysis of culturalcontent in tele- cate GCCP in situations in which it is strategicallythe best
vision advertising(as opposed to culturaleffects on adver- positioning option-we offer the following hypothesis,
tising content) and relates that content to alternative based on theory discussed previously regardingparticipa-
positioning strategieshas been missing. As an initial test of tion in global experience: GCCP executions should accom-
the culture-based brand positioning concept grounded in plish meaning transfer more effectively when they (1)
semiotics theory,this study is encouraging. feature the idea that people all over the world consume the

84 / Journalof Marketing,
January1999
advertisedbrand (e.g., Benetton) and (2) appeal to certain tailed semiotic analysis of the signs associated with GCCP,
human universals or depict consumer segments that share FCCP, and LCCP might prove worthwhile. As we noted,
similarattitudes,lifestyles, and aspirationsaroundthe world Robertson(1987a, p. 38) defines globalizationas the "crys-
(e.g., Sony). tallization of the entire world as a single place." By impli-
The first idea might be communicatedby providing ev- cation, showing that consumersall over the world consume
idence of consumers in several diverse culturesconsuming a particularbrandmay be one recurringGCCPsign-for ex-
the advertisedbrand,the second throughdepiction of rele- ample, a direct visual image in individual advertisements
vant symbolism-ladenvisual signs (such as laptop-wielding (e.g., Benetton's "United Colors of Benetton"). Other the-
business people; cf. Caudle 1994). Some locally based mar- matic signs used to symbolize GCCPmight include appeals
keters, fighting global brands,have begun to use GCCP to to "freedom,""individualrights," or "democracy,"which
imply to local consumers that their products are "world- Appadurai (1990) argues constitute the emerging global
class" for quality and acceptability. Thus, in the Indian ideoscape. In addition, there may be a variety of aesthetic
market,advertisingfor local brandssuch as Videocon (con- (color, complexity, and so forth), spokespersons(sports fig-
sumer durables), Amrutanjan(pain reliever), and Kenstar ures, actors, models, and so forth), and place signs (soccer
(appliances) shows data on exports or visuals of foreign stadiums, modern urban centers, and so forth) associated
consumers consuming their products. Advertising in the with GCCP(cf. Caudle 1994).
Netherlandsfor Brand,a well-known local beer, portraysa Second, furtherresearchcould involve identifyingwhich
U.S. setting and uses English. The use of GCCPapparently consumersegmentsare most responsiveto GCCPstrategies.
is not limited to multinationalbrands. As we noted previously,Hannerz(1990) suggests that glob-
al cosmopolitansperceive themselves as less provincialand
Limitations and Future Research Directions more competentwith regardto foreign cultures.These con-
Similarto any study,this one has limitations.First,the mea- sumersare often younger,more educated,and less ethnocen-
sures used to assess positioningtypes may benefit from fur- tric.Thus, tangibleas well as thematicsigns thatspecifically
ther refinement-for example, identification of additional connote internationaland/or interculturalcompetence and
coding measuressuch as color scheme and aestheticstyle or controlmay be particularlyeffective in accomplishingmean-
alternativeweighting schemes. Second, our coders were lo- ing transferfor this group. In contrast,signs that are rich in
cal consumers;however, it is possible that they interpreted local culturemeaning(e.g., traditionalclothing) may achieve
advertisingcontentdifferentlythan"ordinary"consumersin meaning transfermore effectively for consumers who are
theircountries.Additionalresearchcould use largersamples higher in ethnocentrism(Shimp and Sharma 1987). In sum-
of ordinaryconsumers to validate our findings. Third, de- mary, understandingthe effectiveness of different types of
spite attempts to control for potential confounds (such as positioningin differentcountriesmay requirethe analysis of
that between productand positioningtype; see Footnote 9), complex, higherorderinteractionsthatinvolve producttype,
some may remain, such as the possibility thatmultinational country,and characteristicsof the targetsegment.10
advertisersin some countriesalso may have the largestshare A final area for future theoretic development involves
of voice. Because multinationaladvertisersoften use local managerialuse of GCCP,FCCP,and LCCP.Surveys of lo-
brand names, partialingout this factor would be challeng- cal and multinationalbrandmanagerscould begin to address
ing, but furtherresearchshould investigatemethods of do- these issues. Building on Roth's (1992, 1995a) work, man-
ing so. In a similar vein, though the correlationbetween agerial reportswould help determinewhetherthe effective-
GCCPand global brandstandardizationis likely to be posi- ness of depthversusbreadthstrategiesfor GCCP,FCCP,and
tive, the strength of that relationshipis unclear.This cer- LCCP also vary by targetmarketand other macrolevel fac-
tainly represents an interesting empirical question for tors. Over time, such researchwill enhance the competitive
additionalresearch.Fourth,because of our sample size and tools that brandmanagerscan apply to the global market-
theoreticfocus, we did not model higher orderinteractions. place.
Furtherresearchshould considerthese as well.
There are several other potentially fruitful avenues for
additionalresearchand theorydevelopment.First, more de- l1Wethanka reviewerforthissuggestion.

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