Examining Asian and European Reactions within Shock Advertising

DOI 10.14707/ajbr.170036

Silke M. Engelbart
University of Central Lancashire, School of Language and Global Studies, Preston, England
Delia A. Jackson
University of Central Lancashire, School of Language and Global Studies, Preston, England
Simon M. Smith
University of Winchester, Winchester Business School, Winchester, England


This paper seeks to establish whether subjects from different cultures, in this case from Europe (Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom (UK)) and Asia (China and Japan), react differently when exposed to the same shock advertising. This is of relevance to advertisers/ marketers who wish to target particular groups in a population as societies continue to evolve, change and become less homogenous. This paper examines the effects that gender and cultural identities have on different ethnic groups. The current study was carried out in the UK using 115 undergraduate university students from 6 countries. The participants were exposed to 7 adverts on safe driving from 4 countries. The aim of the study was to see if the participants would react differently to the degree of shock depending on the culture portrayed within the advert. Our findings highlight that there is a correlation between gender and the environment depicted within 3 of the adverts. Furthermore, significant differences between European and Asian participants were also found within 2 of those 3 adverts. The findings accentuate the importance of cultural content within shock advertising. Thus, advertisers/ marketers need to take great care when constructing and delivering messages to multi-cultural customer bases.

Keywords: Shock Advertising, Advertising, Marketing, Asia, Europe


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