The language of luxury: Advertisers' language choices evoke different reactions

Sep 15, 2008

Multinational companies advertising luxury goods abroad should consider advertising those goods in English, whereas ads for necessities might be more effective in local languages, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Aradhna Krishna (University of Michigan) and Rohini Ahluwalia (University of Minnesota) examined the role of language in advertisements in India. The results of their study indicate that multinational corporations marketing products to bilingual populations should pay special attention to language. The authors found that participants' perceptions of ads changed significantly when different languages were used.

"We find that while the Hindi language is associated with "belongingness" (close, personal, friendly, family), English is associated with "sophistication" (global, cosmopolitan, urban, upper class)," the authors write.

Participants associated "belongingness" with necessities, such as detergent, and the researchers found that ads for detergent were more effective when the ads were partially or fully in Hindi.

In contrast, when the product being marketed was a luxury item—chocolate in the case of this study—participants reacted more favorably to ads that were in English.

The authors also found that study participants responded favorably to mixed-language advertising, when words from both languages were found in the advertising slogans.

"Results of this experiment suggest that multinational corporations need to be more cognizant about language choices in global bilingual markets, and it would be ill advised for them to simply follow the choices that appear to be working for the local corporations," the authors conclude.

Source: University of Chicago

Explore further: Education Dept awards $75M in innovation grants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US cities prep for warm climate without saying so

Sep 08, 2014

Climate change remains a political minefield across the U.S., despite the strong scientific consensus that it's happening, so some local leaders have hit upon a way of preparing for the potentially severe consequences without ...

Latino children make greatest gains in NC Pre-K

Aug 25, 2014

A new summary of 12 years of research on North Carolina's pre-kindergarten program for at-risk 4-year-olds shows that "dual-language learners" make the greatest academic progress in the program. According ...

Presentations collectively prepared

Aug 07, 2014

Today, every speaker compiles his or her own presentations to accompany their lectures. With a new Internet platform that uses Wikipedia as its model, slide show presentations can now be drafted, distributed, ...

Recommended for you

Research band at Karolinska tuck Dylan gems into papers

Sep 29, 2014

(Phys.org) —A 17-year old bet among scientists at the Karolinska Institute has been a wager that whoever wrote the most articles with Dylan quotes before they retired would get a free lunch. Results included ...

A simulation game to help people prep for court

Sep 25, 2014

Preparing for court and appearing before a judge can be a daunting experience, particularly for people who are representing themselves because they can't afford a lawyer or simply don't know all the ropes ...

When finding 'nothing' means something

Sep 25, 2014

Scientists usually communicate their latest findings by publishing results as scientific papers in journals that are almost always accessible online (albeit often at a price), ensuring fast sharing of latest ...

User comments : 0