Cultural differences in message strategies: a comparison between American and Japanese TV commercials

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Author: Carolyn A. Lin
Date: July-August 1993
From: Journal of Advertising Research(Vol. 33, Issue 4)
Publisher: World Advertising Research Center Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 4,431 words

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Abstract :

A comparison between American and Japanese television commercials showed differences in terms of style and content. Japanese commercials were not as informative as American commercials. Japanese commercials emphasized product packaging and availability, while American ads emphasized attributes such as price, quality and performance. Japanese commercials also assumed a soft-sell approach using short messages, songs, celebrities, female voice-overs and still graphics. In contrast, American commercials assumed a hard-sell approach using long messages, animation, male spokepersons and humor. Culture was seen to play a large part explaining these differences. Japan is a 'high-context society' whose communication needs are answered through familiar symbols and icons rather than logical recommendations. On the other hand, the US is a 'low-context culture' requiring Western rhetoric and logical tradition to communicate thoughts and actions.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A14526781