Advertising Trends in Urban China


The Chinese advertising market expanded in the past decade at an average annual rate of above 40 percent. The sustainabiiity of such a rapid growth depends in part on the generai attitudes of the public toward advertising. This paper reports the results of a telephone survey of 825 consunners in five major cities in China. The survey

City University of Hong Kong

China Europe International Business Schooi (CEIBS)

focused on general beliefs about the institution of advertising, personal experiences, and general attitudes toward advertising. The relationships among beliefs, personal experiences, and general attitudes are modeled. The paper also investigates the relationships among demographic variables and experiences, beliefs,and attitudes. The study shows that urban Chinese have similar or more positive attitudes toward

University of British Columbia

advertising than their U.S. counterparts and that these positive attitudes demonstrate resilience over time. As in the United States, younger consumers have more positive beliefs and attitudes toward advertising. But in contrast to the United States, those with higher levels of education tend to have more positive attitudes and beliefs.

tbe nintb largest in tbe world, witb a growtb potential second to none. Indeed, some forecasts suggest that China's advertising market will overtake tbe U.S. market by tbe year 2015 (HKTDC, 1998). In tbe decade between 1986 and 1996, it grew at an average annual rate of 46 percent and is expected to continue at a growtb rate of 25 to 30 percent in tbe near future (HKTDC, 1998). In 1999, tbe total advertising expenditure in
Cbina was US$7 billion (Hotig Kong Economic Jour-


retail consumption, growing during 1986 to 1996 at an average annual rate of 18.7 percent. Retail sales for consumer goods in 1997 have reacbed
U.S. $300 billion {China Statistical Yearbook, 1998).

The authors are grateful for financial support received from the Chinese Management Researeh Centre at City University of Hong Kong. The authors acknowledge the very helpful comments provided by the ]AR editor, Dr. Arthur ]. Kover.

nal, 2000). Tbe growtb of tbe market since 1979 bas reflected two interacting economic secular trends: tbe rapid growtb of tbe Cbinese economy and increases in Cbinese consumer spending, and a government policy tbat bas encouraged tbe growtb of spending on advertising. From 1987 to 1997 tbe real growtb rate of GDP was about 9 to 10 percent. Per capita GDP in 1997 reacbed US$660. Tbis increased income, especially in urban areas, and tbe increasing cboice of available products as a result of tbe continuous opening up of tbe economy, bave led to rapid growtb iii

Tbe exposure of consumers to tbe mass media bas also grown significantly during tbe past decade. In 1997, tbe number of color TV sets owned by Cbinese families was 100.5 per 100 urban bousebolds compared witb less tban 40 in 1987. Radio ownersbip is almost universal and tbe circulation of newspapers was 30 billion for 1997 compared with 18 billion in 1987. A growing retail market and competition from others supplying tbe market is prompting companies to reacb more consumers tbrough advertising. Tbe sustainabiiity of tbe growtb of tbe advertising market depends, bowever, on tbree otber factors: government policy and regulations, tbe perceived effectiveness of advertising in generating sales, and tbe general attitude of consumers toward advertising. Tbe objective of tbis paper is to provide current information about tbe general May . June 2 0 0 2 JOUflllllL OFflDUERTISinGflESEiCfl7 3

1988." The modern history of advertising in 7 4 JOURIlflL OF flDyERTISIIlG HESEHRCH May .. In spite of this. how the beliefs result in a positive or negative general feeling toward advertising. As the China market opened to foreign firms. and how they motivate alternative types of actions). 1989). in many countries government policies toward. Advertising was considered as an essential tool of economic development.. In a 1987 address given by the then top legislator in China to the World Advertising Congress in Beijing. These criticisms led to the development of a regulatory framework to prevent deceit and ensure political conformity. factual. and Moore. Advertisements were largely simple.g. 1989). We then describe the methodology of our study and present sample demographics and the results of the study. Belk. These aspects provide an inventory of potential supporting argu- While commercial advertising has a long history in China. 1985). products. The propensity of a decision maker to act on these beliefs. depends on the general attitude that one has formed toward advertising (i. The 1949 revolution ushered in an era of increasing regulation and state ownership of industry. We follow by comparing these results with those of a similar study in the United States (Shavitt. Bauer and Greyser (1968) found a significant relationship between general beliefs toward advertising and attitudes toward advertising. We follow with an analysis of the evolution of the advertising market in China and review previous research studies about the attitudes of the Chinese toward advertising. THE EVOLUTION OF THE ADVERTISING MARKET IN CHINA AND THE GENERAL ATTITUDES TOWARD ADVERTISING China began in 1979 with Deng Xiaoping's policy of "Four Modernizations. It also differs from a person's evaluation or attitude about advertising in general. offices. Lowrey. The study reports that Chinese consumers were more positive about advertising than consumers in the West. Zhang and Gelb. branding it a tool of "bourgeois capitalism. did not change. and our standard of living). 1986. The government's position with respect to the general value of advertising.. criticism about abuse by advertisers appeared in the media. how strong these feelings are. Pol- The belief about advertising in general is distinct from a belief about a specific advertisement. 1996). The general attitude toward advertising manifests itself not only through political and regulatory activities but also through the exposure of individuals to advertising. We conclude with the implications of the study to advertisers and government regulators in China as well as to future research. and factories.. the advertising industry reflect the strength of the beliefs the government and the public have about the positive and negative social and economic consequences of advertising. The Cultural Revolution brought a total ban on advertising. purchasing decisions) to these advertisements (see. the 1949 revolution and the Cultural Revolution of 1966 to 1976 saw commercial advertising virtually disappear (Rice and Lu. James and Kover (1992) have shown that the overall attitudes toward advertising affect the involvement with specific advertisements in significant but complex ways. 1998) and a discussion of alternative theories that might explain the differences between the studies.g. Lutz. and Haefner." There are several studies about the reaction of Chinese consumers to advertising at that time. however. the effects of advertising on prices. GENERAL ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS TOWARD ADVERTISING ments and criticisms of the institution of advertising. with Chinese magazines carrying advertisements as early as the 1920s. and their responses (e. and the regulation of.g. magazines.. Wan Li declared advertising an "indispensable element in the promotion of economic prosperity.ADVERTISING IN CHINA attitude of urban Chinese consumers toward advertising in all media types and relate these attitudes to beliefs about advertising and demographic variables that may influence individual attitudes and/or public policies. e." The initial phase (1979 to 1991) saw a market largely dominated by limited state-owned advertising agencies with no direct foreign participation in the advertising industry. On the basis of a large random sample in the United States. "I like advertising" (Andrews. and billboards to familiarize the mass market with their brand names. The approach to advertising in this phase was focused on the informativeness of advertisements. radio. Indeed. foreign consumer product companies have focused on the mass "horizontal" media by placing advertisements in television. newspapers. They focused on eight specific aspects about the nature and consequences of advertising as a social institution (e.g. however. and Zhou. June 2 0 0 2 . and unsophisticated (Semenik. Zhou. Pollay et al. Chinese consumers expressed preferences for foreign advertisements compared with domestic advertisements. We start the paper with a discussion of the concepts of general attitudes and beliefs toward advertising and their significance in determining trends in the advertising market. e. (1990) surveyed a convenience sample of 123 Chinese consumers approached in the three big cities in China in shopping areas. the attention they pay to it.e. their perceptions of specific advertisements. Tse.

most families in large Chinese cities had telephones. we have persisted and. concluded on the basis of the first data set that "Contrary to the repeatedly cited earlier report that 'a Chinese audience loves commercials'. Subjects were called up to three times if they could not be reached initially. Prospective respondents for the study were selected using a systematic sampling method. Thus. A 1986 survey in Shanghai also reported complaints from some viewers. and personal experiences with advertising of urban Chinese. Respondents were screened for age and media usage. In each city the white pages phone directory constituted the sampling population." The results of the analysis of the second data set showed that 43 percent of respondents were satisfied with TV advertisements. beliefs about advertising. We also compared respondents' characteristics to those of the general Chinese urban population. This resulted in increased competition among agencies and a marked improvement in the quality of advertisements. Zhao and Shen (1995). In the surveyed five cities. Sampling procedures Personal comniunications with telephone company officials in Shanghai showed that non-listing is insignificant. In 1994 there was an increase in government regulation of entry to the industry and the elimination of some of the incentives that were introduced to attract foreign investments in the advertising and other service industries. managed to contact 30 nonrespondents in each of the five cities. Shanghai. The govemment permitted foreign advertising agencies to set up joint ventures in China and allowed state-owned enterprises to choose advertising agencies without its interference. Since nonrespondents could have different characteristics from respondents (Colombo. and Chongqing. (1990) attributed the positive attitude to advertising to government encouragement and influence through its propaganda machine. METHODOLOGY The objective of our study was to fill this information gap and measure current general attitudes toward advertising. It seems that the nonrespondents had slightly higher average income than respondents. This was expected since the five cities in our survey are among the most developed economies in China and are likely to attract more Five Chinese cities were selected as the sites of the study: Beijing. Qingdao. it is likely that the distribution of phones is skewed by household income for some cities. Data were collected in February 1999 through phone interviews using a structured questionnaire. after repeated tries. M a y . Beijing and Shanghai were included in the study since they represent about 40 percent of the advertising market (HKTDC. Since not every household owns a telephone. but given the almost universal ownership of phones in the major cities. Only qualified advertising agencies were now allowed to enter China. with the second data set based on a survey of more than 1. The only difference was income. from 39 percent in Chongqing to 17 percent in Shanghai. The response rates varied among the cities. A study based on a sample of 200 Beijing households found that most viewers were irritated by television commercials.000 Beijing residents. who conducted secondary analyses of these data sets.000 television viewers throughout China. In 1999. we concluded that the nonresponse bias in our survey is very small. The overall response rate was 24 percent with a total of 825 valid completed questionnaires. Zhao and Shen (1995) reported the results of a number of surveys in Chinese publications.ADVERTISING IN CHINA lay et al. The most extensive and representative study of Chinese attitudes toward advertising was based on two data sets collected in 1987. the possible income bias there n-iay not be strong. The years 1992 and 1993 saw dramatic increases in advertising spending (100 percent average annual increases) as well as in the number of advertising agencies (90 percent average annual increases). June 2 0 0 2 JOORnilL OF BOyEBTISIIlG RESEflRCII 7 5 . close to three-quarters of the respondents thought there were too many advertisements while a mere 2% wanted more. the habit of non-listing is not prevalent in China as phones are rarely used for direct marketing. Testing for group mean differences (t-tests) showed that there were no significant differences between these two groups in terms of their views on advertising and most of the demographic characteristics. Only those between the ages of 18 and 64 who had seen some advertisements in the past month before the interview were surveyed. There are no published studies about the general attitude of the Chinese consumers during the current period of rapid growth in advertising. Hangzhou. The comparison showed that only the more educated were marginally overrepresented. the percentages of household phone ownership ranged from around 60 percent in Chongqing to over 90 percent in Shanghai. We checked their demographic characteristics as well as their views on some of our survey questions concerning attitudes toward and beliefs about advertising. 2000) and the response rate of our survey is relatively low. Nonlisting of names could introduce another bias. The three other cities were randomly chosen from a list of the major cities in China. and security concerns have not been significant. 1998). However. One set was based on a survey of 25.

similar to the approach in Gallup (1959). A cross-examination of the relationship between attitude toward advertising and the perception that there is too much advertising found that there was no .^. 1968. in general. Forty-six percent believe that advertising promotes materialism. 1981. where alternative sources of information to aid purchase decisions are relatively scarce.^^1.5. though only 24 percent feel confident when using such information. Many (40 percent). 1989.1. 25.fl'P®"* 50.5. 1984.2 percent among users versus 49. is mis- 7 6 JOyRORL or RDUERTISinG flESERflCH May . However.014). (4) the belief that advertising leads people to buy what they do not need.3 26 7 19. seems to deter the use of such information. 1994) but added items that tapped attitudes based The results of the survey are summarized TABLE 1 below.2 49 8 " ^ ' ' *<^y ^'^^ advertising (49 percent) than those who disagree (20 percent).® Gender Male Female •' 18-30 .. These measurements included: (1) preferences for advertised domestic products versus advertised foreign products. Only a minority (25 percent) 8 2 5 ^ g ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^ advertising. Bauer and Creyser.ADVERTISING IN CHINA highly educated people. however. and (3) their personal experiences with advertising. with respect to statements relating to (1) their general attitudes toward advertising. u advertising thought there was too much Age 51. Thirty percent feel that they can trust advertising or that. The relative strength of these negative beliefs about the social contributions of advertising..®.8 advertising.''. we added several measurements not included in Shavitt et al. The differences between users and nonusers of information from advertising for purchase decisions are especially pronounced in the percentage of those who lack confidence (35.' >Some college/college : 1^. and forty-one percent believe that advertising leads people to buy things they do not need. A majority (56 percent). 41-64 Income <RMB 800 RMB 801-1200 RMB 1201-2000 34. ..1 .4 H-. (2) their general beliefs about advertising. did not translate to an overwhelming endorsement of tighter government regulations (only 25 percent agree there is a need for further government intervention).7^?. Some Chinese (20 percent) believe that advertising leads to a reduction in prices of the advertised products. agree. of those who reported they liked advertisirig' ^3. RESULTS leading. . (1998).u . Andrews.^ Education <High school High school ' '. Strong distrust.. In China. The items were translated to Chinese and retranslated into English to ensure translation accuracy.2. df = 4. 49.^.5 . The specific framing of the items closely followed the survey of Shavitt et al. disagree.^99. however. in their experience. and (5) the belief that advertising promotes materialism. (1998) to provide international comparisons. June 2 0 0 2 . even those who have low levels of confidence in information from advertising find it necessary to use it. while a similar percentage (43 percent) of those who did not like A ..^. Mittal. neutral. A majority finds advertising to be informative (69 " percent). To provide comparisons to previous research on attitudes to and beliefs about advertising in China.1 percent thought there was too much advertising. (2) the relative trustworthiness of advertisements promoting domestic versus foreign products. associate advertised brands with quality. strong relationship between these two variables (x^ = 3. Our results show that some respondents find advertising to be an insult to *heir intelligence (24 percent). Their instruments focused on similar dimensions used in previous studies (e. Chinese consumers appear to have increased their confidence in domestic prod- The questionnaire The survey asked respondents to provide ratings on five-point Likert-type scales (strongly disagree. ..^P!1!P. More Chinese agree that. however. df = 4.^!!^. p = 0.525).g. (3) the degree to which respondents perceive that there is too much advertising. however. despite the fact that a minority (34 percent) feel that selfregulation by the industry is preferred. in gen- Sample Demographics P. from Table 2 we noticed that. a significant number (45 percent) think that there is too much advertising. p = 0. Further analysis revealed that there was a positive relationship between confidence in advertising and using information from it for purchasing decisions (x^ = 12. products they use usually live up to the promises of quality and performance made in advertisements.• • .7 percent among nonusers).''. on respondents' own experiences. . report that they often use information from advertising to help make purchasing decisions.u u.0 ""'' 13. and strongly agree).. The demographic characteristics of the sample are given in Table 1.2 37. Indeed. Zanot.

1% .4% 35. People with higher education tend to find advertising more enjoyable (p <. . . . Older people tend to say they find advertising "an insult to their intelligence" (p < M a y .01) more than younger people. Forty-six percent of the respondents believe that domestic product advertisements are as trustworthy as adver.01).'®'". Too much advertising Total .". . income differences Too little advertising No opinion " . 1996).!i!*®. .05).! 20.V.01). Surprisingly. belief.®'..'*. consumption. Older peoplethan buy products they do not need more appear to be more patriotic. in their experience.'. . A .0% 20. They also tend to agree more strongly that advertised do" mestic products are as cood as foreign ones (p < . The higher the educational level the more likely respondents are to report that. 24. . Among those with lower levels of education. 43 percent of the respondents agree that advertised domestic products are as good as advertised foreign products (24 percent disagreed).01) and that advertisements pron-ioting domestic products are as trustworthy as advertisements for foreign x^ = 3.'r. .6% 31.01). .3% P. advertised products have better value for money than unadvertised products (p < .01) and informative (p < . tending to agree more than the younger ones that advertised domestic products are as good as foreign ones [p < .05). . The differences in attitudes.®.01). These results are consistent with past findings that advertising in China is used to target young consumers more often than people of other demographic segments (Cheng and Schweitzer.01) than older people.-„ tisements of foreign products (23 percent disagreed). . .01).? 21. The impacts of educational levels on attitudes toward advertising may be attributed to the close relationships between educational levels and cosmopolitan attitudes. . where orthodox ideology rejected private.05).!*.?. in their experience.ADVERTISING IN CHINA 2 the tastes of the young but not the old A Cross Tabulation of the Attitude toward Advertising and the Perception of the Amount of Advertising '^^""^ and Schweitzer. < . .05).^.T°. 1996). may not be rooted only in the differences in values (vilifying or legitimizing consumption and advertising which promotes it). Lower-income respondents tend to more Strongly agree that there is too much advertising (p < .01). Women tend to agree more than men that most advertising is informative {p < . and what was defined as frivolous.01).*.4% . products.. Similarly.01) and believe that advertising is mis.7% /lo ^n/ 48. . older people tend to agree more than younger people that. The differences in attitudes toward advertising among different age groups may reflect strong differences in the value systems to which the older and younger generations were socialized.?".0% .1% 48. . Older people tend to beHeve that advertising is leading people to younger people {p < . The lower the educational level the higher the tendency of respondents to believe that advertising is misleading (p < . No. The younger generation grew up in a culture where pragmatism replaced orthodoxy and in which markets and the consumption values they inculcate were increasingly legitimized. the higher the degree of belief respondents tend to have that advertising leads to a reduction in prices (p < . of degree offreedom = 4. It is possible that advertisers targeting advertising to the younger generation have produced advertising that is congruent with ANOVA results have shown that general attitudes toward advertising tend to be more positive for younger people (p < . They are generally more traditional.3% >i/ion/ 44.05). .'!y®r^i^i!'?. . . and experience variables.*.®. June 2 0 0 2 JDyRllIlL OF HDUERTISIIIG RESEimCH 7 7 . 01) and informative (p < . however. . ^ . .202.7% !^.8% 100% A N O V A results have s h o w n n o significant difference in general attitudes toward advertising among different income groupsbut suggest that the upper-income 5 K 65 KK groups find advertising more enjoyable (p ^^.^. Gender differences Education differences ANOVA results show that the higher the educational level of respondents the more positive their attitude toward advertising is likely to be (p < .05) and that they often use information from advertising to help make purchase decisions (p < . conserva- No significant differences between men and women were found for most of the attitude. . .^. . leading (p < ./ 43. „ Hr.8% 32. Younger people are also more likely to find advertising to be enjoyable (p < . .10/>n/ 43.' 21. . The older generation grew up in a puritan culture Age differences uct advertising and advertised domestic ^ . The lower the educational level. . migrants from the countryside are significantly overrepresented.6% 30.^. .^.9% 33. products they used lived up to the promises of quality and performance (p < .

S. 1995) 43% (satisfied) the urbanization process before the late 1980s was less significant and thus its effects on the relationship between educational levels and cosmopolitan attitudes ^ ^ ^ 1^^^ pronounced. On the other hand.i x ^^hide through which students were in'''''''''' "'*^ * ^ communist orthodox puritan ideology.'°!^:^^uca^or. First. we have found that the rich tend to enjoy advertisine more than the poor. The old educational system was.?''. a Comparison to previous studies of Chinese attitudes toward advertising A comparison of this study to previous studies on China and the United States is TABLE 3 teresting difference between the results of our survey and the 1987 Beijing survey relates to the relationship between attitudes toward advertising and education.P...i^.. there was a significant change in the nature of education in the early 1980s. 19:35 67:70 45:30 7 8 JOURnm OF HDUERTISinG RESEflRCH May .°/°.2. ^^^^ ^^ advertising. 1996). we notice that urban Chinese appear to have similar.. despite a profile of general beliefs that is more positive toward advertising. 1998) 44% 49% 20% 37% N/A 69% 45% 25% em N/A 69% 59% (useful) 66%-69% 47% ^^^^^^f^ ^^^^ ^-^^ the lifestyles portraye by advertising and can afford the goods advertised. Current study Percentage of respondents who like advertising Percentage of respondents who don't enjoy advertising Percentage of respondents who find . Percentage of respondents who think there is too much advertising Percentage of respondents who think advertising misleading _ . if not some^^hat more positive. The shift may be explained by the following factors. 47% 43:45 N/A N/A 43:68 (satisfied) ^ ^ 73:52 ^ 55:64 63:69 (useful) strangers (Gao et al. .. Percentage of respondents who trust advertising ^ 30% 38% 5% ^ Percentage of respondents who believe ^ in industry self-regulation 34% Percentage of respondents who don't believe that advertising results in .^ _. .?^ Percentage of respondents who feel insulted by some advertising Ratio of respondents who like advertising (high-to low-education) " ' Ratio of respondents who think . ^ low-education) Ratio of respondents who think advertising misleading (high... . This distrust. a smaller share of the Chinese respondents feel that they can trust advertising (30 percent compared to 38 percent). Those with higher education like advertising more. One in- In the Beijing sample. j i L .. „ . Second. and distrustful of the various manifestations of modernization. Indeed.-^^^^^ ^^^^j „ j^^^ ^i^^ ^^^ (Shavitt et ai. ^^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^p ^ j ^ ^ ^ ^^^^ ^^p^. or using the information transmitted by it. general attitudes toward .. enjoying it. attitudes and beiiefs c ^ ui o • u u r^uFrom Table 3.'. A Connparison of Current Study to Previous Studies on Attitudes toward Advertising Past study on U. June 2 0 0 2 . The general attitudes toward advertising in our sample are in line with the findings of Zhao and Shen (1995) for the Beijing 1987 . In our sample the relationship is reversed. ^ .^^"^^^J}^}^"!!^^^. provided in Table 3. . and thus enjoy watching the advertisements more.5?^° 57% N/A Comparing Chinese and American ^^.ADVERTISING IN CHINA tive. to a much higher degree... the impact of Past study on Ciiina (Zhao and Shen. It is also possible that the increased correlation between educational levels and income in the 1990s as a consequence of the liberalization of labor market intro^^^^^ ^^ . This may r > ^ reflect the general tendency in Chinese culture to distrust communications from ^.) 53:41 24% 5.. those with higher education were less satisfied with advertising and found its message less credible.l?^. advertising informative (high.

and general attitudes to advertising suggest that the results of Shavitt et al. experiences. In China these relationship are inverted. respondents with less education and those with lower income are more likely than other respondents to enjoy advertising. respondents. In comparing income groups in China and the United States it is important to note that the absolute scales are different. Not surprisingly. In the United States. CONCLUSIONS AND iiVIPLICATiONS We have tested the relationship between the general attitudes toward advertising and the beliefs about and personal experiences with advertising using multiple linear regressions. In contrast. however. and the belief in the need for further government regulation were statistically significant. should not ignore the importance of trustworthiness and informativeness. where the transformation of the advertising industry is recent. Not surprisingly. such as the belief that advertising is misleading. Investment in improving the content and presentation are warranted to strengthen the positive general attitude. were not significant. and attitudes and beliefs. Less-educated respondents tend to believe that most advertising is informative and have more confidence in it than more-educated respondents. Analyses of the relationship between attitudes and demographic variables point to some interesting differences and similarities between the Chinese and American societies. Their general beliefs about the institution of advertising tend to be positive with respect to most aspects. the entertainment value of advertising has to be increased. highly educated people are more open to innovations than those with lower education. Indeed. (1998) are robust. it is plausible to speculate that the general attitude toward advertising is correlated to the effectiveness of advertising. The more educated and the richer urban Chinese enjoy advertising more than the less educated or lower-income Chinese. The more educated find advertising more informative and a better aid in their purchasing decisions.S. To foster positive attitudes. Manufacturers of branded products gain from advertising irrespective of the attention their advertisements get. the lower income groups in China tend to show more positive beliefs about advertisements promoting local products than the rich. Similarly. indignity associated with the advertising message. Attitudes as a function of beiiefs and experiences beliefs. Advertising.ADVERTISING IN CHINA The rich can identify more with the lifestyles portrayed by advertising and can afford the goods advertised. Many of the products advertised and the lifestyles portrayed may be quite alien to low-income Chinese. and hold more positive beliefs about its trustworthiness. June 2 0 0 2 JOURflRL OF RDUERTISinG RESEflRCH 7 9 . Respondents with a better education tend to have more positive attitudes toward advertising. as being advertised provides a signal of quality to customers who tend to believe that advertised products give a better value for money than unadvertised ones. The survey suggests that advertising in China is well targeted. The foreign content element that is significant in advertising is likely to appeal to the better educated who are more likely to have a more cosmopolitan orientation. men and women's attitudes toward advertising appear largely similar. The variables found significant in our analysis belong to the same group of variables found significant in Shavitt at al. The analysis of the relationship between Our survey showed that urban Chinese largely have a positive attitude toward advertising and enjoy it. Advertisers. enjoy it more. the rich enjoy advertising more than the poor. fulfills an important role in conveying information about products M a y . Enjoyment. a lower education is likely to be associated with suspicion of the new and foreign. The implications to the industry are clear. The current content and form of advertisements represents an innovation in China. income. enjoyment is perhaps a universal key to positive general attitude formation toward advertising. In view of Haley and Baldinger's (1991) finding that the enjoyment of a specific advertisement is related to its effectiveness and our finding that the enjoyment of advertising is correlated to the general attitudes toward advertising. It seems to affect more purchasing decisions of those with the means to purchase. In both countries. and younger consumers have a more favorable attitude toward advertising. Their personal experiences with advertising are largely positive but they lack trust and confidence in advertising. Generally. The major differences between Chinese and Americans are reflected in the relationships among education. positive experience of better values with advertised brands. General beliefs about the institution of advertising. and thus enjoy watching the advertisements more. what is considered to be a high income in China may very well be defined as low income in the United States. (1998) for U. The largest contribution to the determination of the strength of attitude was the degree of enjoyment. Lowincome Americans can relate to the products advertised and the lifestyles depicted in advertising. informativeness. though not always trusted by urban Chinese. trustworthiness.

J. COLOMBO. Princeton. the usefulness and influence of advertising are likely to decline unless its trustworthiness increases. His research interests include corporate strategy. M. It is possible that watching and "hating" an advertisement fulfills some psychological need and thus increases the tolerance for more advertising. and A. there is a complex relationship between the tolerance of advertising and the attitude toward it. G . HONC KONC ECONOMIC JOURNAL. from the Facuity of Commerce and Business Administration at the University of British Columbia in Canada. China business. CHENG.S. He received his Ph. and S. is uncertain. Bond. Clearly. KOVER. This would not be surprising when dealing with the printed media since it's easy for readers to ignore the advertisement. one would expect that a positive attitude might increase tolerance for interruption that advertising may cause in listening to or watching a program. ILAN VERTINSKV is Vinod Sood Professor of International Business Studies and Director of the Center of International Business Studies at the University of British Coiumbia. NJ: The Gallup Organization. 8 0 JOURnHL or HDUERTISinG RESEHRCH M a y . SCHWEITZER. C. INC. A. 5 (1992): 78-83. The direction of causality. June 2 0 0 2 . enjoyment is perhaps a universal key to positive general attitude formation toward advertising. He is aiso the Director of the Research Center for Chinese Private Enterprise at CEIBS. However.D. R.g. and lifestyles in China. GREYSER. 1998. the Journai of intemationai Business Studies. He has been conducting research on China business for over 15 years and has published a number of papers in academic journals. 2 (1991): 11-32. international business and the Pacific Rim. then it is plausible that general attitude toward advertising can be a contributor to its effectiveness. REFERENCES ANDREWS.D. and others. Press. It is highly likely that a positive attitude increases enjoyment and enjoyment helps form a positive attitude. competitive strategy of the auto industry. R. Oxford Univ. ed. the Jourr)al of Global Marketing. GAO. the Journai of international Economics. Past research suggests that there is a relationship between the likability of a specific advertisement and its effectiveness (Haley and Baldinger. Advertising and Market Researcli in Chinese Mainland: Opportunities for Hong Kong. I.ADVERTISING IN CHINA Not surprisingly. HALEY. Kover and James. His research interests include marketing strategy and advertising. 1998. H . 2000." journal of Adver- WEIJIONG ZHANG is an associate professor of management and the associate dean at China Europe International Business Schooi (CEiBS). from the University of California at Berkeiey. His main research interests are in Chinese private enterprises. He received his Ph. the internet). R. BALDINGER. tising Research 40.. L. however. We have found that no relationship exists between the general attitude toward advertising and the perception that there is too much advertising. and J. <U^ D N S E G ZHOU teaches at City University of Hong oGHN Kong. China Statistical Publishing House. and many other journals. GUDYKUNST. "The Dimensionality of Beliefs toward Advertising in General. His work has been pubiished in the International Marketing Review. much the same way as was found about the relationship between the general attitudes toward advertising and the involvement with specific advertisements (see. HONG KONG TRADE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (HKTDC). BAUER. 1959. from the Facuity of Commerce and Business Administration at the University of British Columbia in Canada. " D O Overall Attitudes toward Advertising Affect Involvement with Specific Advertisements?" journal of Advertisiiig Research 32. TING-TOOMEY and W. the Journai of Marketing. 1996.g. THE GALLUP ORGANIZATION. 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