Advertising And Cultural Values

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Advertising is a fixture in modern life that everyone is exposed to. Companies advertise their products through all mediums, including print, television, radio, and the Internet. Through these mediums, advertisers attempt to reach the largest audience they can. However, not all ads are effective across different cultures, so advertisers must tailor advertisements to match the culture they are targeting. Inevitably, this leads to advertisers having an influence on culture and cultural values. With this, two conclusions can be drawn: advertisers have an influence on cultural values; while at the same time, cultural values greatly influence advertisers.
Advertising has a perceptible influence on cultural values. One way in which this can be seen
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Strategies for advertisers, as Ciochetto (2011) puts it “need to be responsive to local cultural values if they are to be successful” (p. 175). Ciochetto (2011) also provides multiple examples of cultural values influencing advertising: the targeting specific groups of people, such as children, and using cultural figures like athletes in advertising, to name two (p. 175-176). An excellent example of the amount of influence cultural values can have on advertising is visible in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a theocratic kingdom that follows the Wahhabi form of Islam (Abdul Cader, 2015). Because of this, Saudi culture is greatly tied to religion, with religion even taking precedence over culture (Abdul Cader, 2015). Violating or offending Qur’anic teachings is a serious offense, which forces advertisers to shape their ads in specific ways to prevent a boycott from the people or a ban by the Kingdom itself (Abdul Cader, 2015). With this in mind, Abdul Cader (2015) has four considerations advertisers should follow when advertising in Saudi Arabia. The first three considerations deal with Islamic taboos, musical considerations, and women in advertisements (Abdul Cader, 2015). The fourth consideration is where Saudi cultural values possibly have the most influence on advertising. Islamic, and therefore Saudi, culture encourages a feeling of brotherhood, where one should not defame others (Abdul Cader, 2015). Therefore, it is important for companies advertising in Saudi Arabia to not defame one another, even if they are competing for the same market (Abdul Cader, 2015). This contrasts sharply from American advertising, where advertisers freely compete with and besmirch one another. Since advertisers use different strategies across the world, especially so in Saudi Arabia, cultural values indeed have a noticeable influence on the type and content of advertisements
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