The Change of Cultural Depictions on Chinese and American Print Smoking Advertising.
[Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]
Advertising is not only a communication tool, but also a differentiation marketing strategy in tobacco industry (Hong et al., 1987). Smoking advertising is a significant stimulation of cigarette demands. It has to take the blame for the increasing smoking-related deaths (Pierce et al., 1999). As a result, it has been banned in the United States in the 1960s and China in 2005 (Pierce et al., 1998). According to the literature and the database of the smoking advertising, from year 1901 to 2000, the smoking advertising has experienced the golden and decline time. In addition, the previous studies ignore the cultural, political and social influences on smoking advertising content. This study is intended to investigate how the cultural depiction in the print American and Chinese smoking advertisements change from 1901 to 2000. Furthermore, this dissertation compares and contrasts the differences of cultural depictions in the two countries. In order to express the change, the cultural depictions have been represented by six sub-cultural depictions, such as sex and age of the people portrayals, portrayals in group, gender roles, rational and emotional appeals and health perceptions; will be examined. The sub-cultural depictions have been inferred from the three models in the literature review.
The previous studies separate the evolution of smoking advertising and the cultural depictions. In order to examine the change of the cultural depictions on smoking advertising, this dissertation combines the change model (four-stage model) from Lopez et al. (1994), culture models from Hofsteds (2001) (Hofstede Model) and Muller et al. (2009) (Interactive Resilience Model). The four-stage model is useful in examining the change over the 100 years in detail. Furthermore, it indicates the cultural depictions of gender, age, group influence, education and health perceptions. Moreover, Hofstede Model is effective in the comparison of American and Chinese advertisements. Finally, the Interactive Resilience Model shows the smoking advertising content’s adjustment to the social and psychological changes.
In addition, the content analysis has been applied to analyze the cultural content in the advertisements. Content analysis is helpful in examining the selected communication content such as the six sub-cultural depictions in this study since it is a systematic technique. The 40 advertisements are chosen as the sample for coding and analyzing. They are from 4 time periods as Lopez et al. (1994)’s model indicated; each period has 5 advertisements from each country. Hence, 20 advertisements are from the United States and the other 20 advertisements are from China.
The findings show that the main cultural depictions changes happen in the gender roles, rational and emotional appeals and health perceptions. The main differences between the two countries mainly took place in these three aspects as well. The overall trend is more female working roles, more rational appeals and more health warning labels in the print smoking advertisements in the two countries during the 100 years. However, Chinese smoking advertisements have more female portrayals in total. American advertisements have more information on health perceptions than Chinese ones have. Furthermore, the American advertisements have less emotional appeals than the Chinese advertisements own. Moreover, the people portrayed in the advertisements seem younger and younger from 1901 to 2000; the average age in Chinese portrayals is slightly older than the American portrayals. Nevertheless, there is no obvious difference on the number of group portrayals between the two countries.
This study illustrates that the four-stage model and the Interactive Resilience Model can be used in marketing research. The four-stage model can indicate the change points like war and post war, and the elements of cultural depictions. The Interactive Resilience Model can discuss the cultural depictions in deep. For instance, it explains the interaction between the external policy and advertisements; and the relationship between the internal self-esteem and advertisements. The results imply that the smoking advertising strategies should be different in the United States and China. The emotional and social appeals are becoming popular in advertisements since the improvement of female status. In addition, the advertisement should include the health perceptions to recall the company’s the social responsibility.
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