- Cultural Differences in Russian and English Magazine Advertising: A Pragmatic Approach
Cultural Differences in Russian and English Magazine Advertising: A Pragmatic Approach
Many American companies looking to increase sales and achieve growth targets consider expanding the reach of their product lines to other countries. However, expansion on a global scale often requires much trial and error as English-speaking companies try to market their goods to a foreign audience. In order to ease this process, localization experts are often hired to “localize” or change advertisements in order to make them more culturally relevant to consumers. Because the field of localization is relatively new, there is little research done on the degree and extent to which advertisements are localized. The purpose of this study is to explore the cultural differences in advertising between Russia and the United States of America. Two different samples of print magazine advertisements were taken from beauty magazines published in Russia and America to determine how much, if any, localization is occurring in Russian media. In order to compare the different advertising strategies of Russia and the United States, 235 non-localized Russian advertisements and 128 localized advertisements were coded for several different pragmatic features that Simpson (2001) included in his “reason” and “tickle” advertising framework. The results were then analyzed through content analysis and Chi-square statistics to find what pragmatic features are characteristic of localized and non-localized Russian ads. The study found that non-localized Russian advertising places more emphasis on reason-based persuasion strategies—most notably celebrity endorsement and extensive listing of reasons to buy a particular product. Localized Russian advertising, in contrast, uses more tickle-based persuasion tactics such as metaphor and implicature. 80% of localized Russian advertisements had little to no change in their advertising text from the English version of the advertisements, which means that the rate of localization in Russian advertising is currently low. Low rates of localization and differing persuasive techniques among the two samples signify the need for better cultural awareness in international marketing campaigns.
Thesis Author: Emily Kay Furner
Year Completed: 2018
Thesis Chair: Don William Chapman
LING/TESOL MA: LING
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