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Cultural Advertisement Differences Between China And Western world Cultural Studies Essay

Advertising isn't just an economic sensation, but also a ethnic phenomenon, which is a kaleidoscope, the representation of public culture. Linguists Wallace called the advertising as the most culturally characterized communal language among all the discourses. Culture is a compound entirety, and every community has its own unique culture. And dialect can be an important part of culture, which mirrors the annals and cultural history of a country, as well as contains the nation's life style and thinking style. That is to say, the introduction of language has accumulated considerable culture, the writing of which demonstrates the most serious connotation of culture. Thus, as part of language, inevitably, advertisement terminology can be inspired by culture. This thesis researches into the social distinctions between China and western countries reflected in advertising language, to make communication between China and american counties much easier.

[Key Words] Advertisement; Cultural Differences; Principles; National Trait

I. Introduction

In age information, advertising has become an important source of information for modern life. While using globalization of the market, advertising is now a worldwide commercial activity nowadays. As different kinds of culture conflicted with one another, any commercial advertising can not only operate in the info conveying goods, but likewise have a quest of ethnic dissemination. Different social backgrounds, different ideals breed different advertising creativity. The study is attempted to explore the cultural dissimilarities between China and traditional western countries through various instances, with the goal of getting better understanding of the developing craze of advertising both at home and in another country.

Language is the reflection and representation of culture. As a special kind of appearance of language, advertising campaign, with no question, can't be separated from terminology. Therefore, it was born with a profound printing of culture inevitably. For the cultural differences, a number of scholars have attempted to describe it in various aspects. In the past on the analysis of cultural distinctions in advertising, people tended to choose the point of view of linguistics, focusing on the vocabulary, syntax and rhetoric personal information, but it is not limited by language but rather a cultural happening. Many academics are trying to explore cultural differences in advert between China and european countries. The Dutch scholar G Hofstede who got three dimensions to analyze East-West cultural variations: individualism and collectivism self-reference and ethnocentricity, color signals and symbols, were more lucrative. Many Chinese scholars also did some research from a number of angles in this field, such as Niu Xiaojuan, Xu Dezhen etc. Based on the formers, the author collected a huge variety of materials, trying to go over cultural variations in advert between China and american countries.

Advertisement is part of culture. Culture includes school of thought, thinking, behavior, social psychology, ethics, customs, traditions and religious beliefs of history, and so forth. The author have read a whole lot of catalogs and collected a big variety of materials related to this review. Herein the author only decides some areas of culture to analyze and explore the variations between China and american countries.

2. 1 Culture

Culture, a hot concern at home and abroad, is a very complicated, multidimensional, and nonrepresentational subject. According to the definition in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Terms (Crystal, 1997: 784), culture is "the designed pattern of human being knowledge, opinion and behavior". "Culture defined consists of dialect, ideas, customs, beliefs, companies, tools, techniques, taboos, and works of art, rituals, ceremonies, and other related components. " And Hurford (1987: 315) defines culture as the utmost general concept to spell it out the patterns of human being and history. It identifies many items at different levels of generality: ideas, values, emotions, actions, tendencies and accumulations.

In simple fact, although there are hundreds of explanations of culture, anthropologists concur that the learned ways of behaving and adapting are included in the culture, as contrasted to carry on behavioral habits of instincts. Cultural scientists separate culture into several communities like family, politics, economics, education and religious beliefs.

Culture and words are connecting to each other. Culture can not be discussed without terminology used in it. Matching to Kirkpatrick (1995: 271-295), culture identifies "The life span way and its own manifestations that are specifically to a community that uses a particular language as its method of appearance. " Culture can be an abstraction concept; it offers almost anything, no matter material or spiritual. Terminology is the appearance of culture. Different dialects have its different ethnical meanings. It really is limited to accept variety culture, especially the spiritual scope. But Words is the most important base of the transfer of culture. Taking care of is, as the basic part of culture, language carries culture, shows culture, and builds up culture. Another aspect is words is inspired by culture deeply in many aspects of our life.

2. 2 Advertisement

There are numerous definitions for advertisements; American Marketing Relationship identifies advertising as "the non-personal communication of information usually payed for and usually persuasive in nature about products, services or ideas by dandified sponsor through various media. " Along with the development of technology and globalization, advertisement is run through into every part in various styles and learning to be a rigueur part of our daily life. The advert is a commercial activity in the market economy for the image of enterprises and the make of a product. The clients, as the audience of the advertisement, are edified by different ethnical environment in their thoughts and consciousness.

Advertising vocabulary, including advertising words and pictures, is a peculiar form of terms, and the particularity determined its close connection with culture. Therefore the advertisement composers tend to design the advertisements on the basis of good understanding of the ethnic characteristics and rack their brains to make the ads providing to the customers' social psychology through words skills and extravagant pictures. On the contrary, without fail, we're able to realize the ethnic differences through various advertisements.

III. Cultural Differences in Ad between China and European Counties

Today, with the development of the technology and the spread of the mass media, advertising has a generally influence to our lifestyle. However, whatever promoting strategies advertising companies use, the terms is the key carrier of the concept. As Vestergaard & Schroder (1985: 246) point out, "advertising removes many forms, but in the majority of them dialect is of vital importance. " Advertising language is provided in a style that has immediate impact with the intent of quick persuasion. In the world market, the translation of advertising terminology is essential for the effective transmission of advertising and thus the sale of products. However, before the translation is performed, possessing a good knowledge of both the similar and various characteristics of advertising terms found in the Western world and in China is crucial. Within this section the writer wish to discuss it in the next aspects.

3. 1 Values

Cultural values is a criterion that individuals judge the nice and the bad, the stunning and the unattractive, the valuable and the unworthy, the clean and the dirty, the right and the incorrect, the kind and the cruel, the just and the unjust, the respectable and the indecent and so on. Psychologist Henry Murray identified that value is the emotional reflection of basic demands, that ought to be modified by the real world. That is to say values are a kind of thought looking forward to something.

In this section the author like to discuss it in the next aspects.

3. 1. 1 Person vs. Collectivity

Generally speaking, american culture encourages specific orientation that is more worried about their own passions, as well as specific successes and achievements, and is also self-centered, with focus on personal dignity, and motivates and praises those people who have prosperity to the difficulties and difficulties of people. In comparison, the eastern nations show more hierarchical groups orientation and the orientation of the entire interests of land and prominent family, with particular focus on finding family passions and family ethics and coordinating relations. Thus, the original Chinese culture identifies the value of the average person, to a certain degree, from individuals and teams (family, religious and countrywide) such ethnic difference is a clear manifestation in advertising home and in another country.

China is a big traditional agricultural cultural pattern, so that it focuses on the Chinese ethnic system collectivism, authoritative personality. Chinese folks have strong patriotic emotions, emphasizing nationwide self-esteem, self-belief. The following examples are inclined to demonstrate this view.

Zhonghua toothpaste: ˜ ˜ (Hu Zhongli, Zhu Lijuan&Wang Yafei, 2007).

10 many years of ups and downs, China forever inside our hearts

The advertising not only show this brand relishes years' of level of popularity but also expresses that Chinese language people love their motherland through the homophonic pun. The following samples are no exclusion to this guideline.

± ± MeiLing refrigerator


Chinese life, Chinese MeiLing

- ChangHong Group Cooperation

-» ˜-·±»»

ChangHong shoulder the quest of dedicating itself to the service of its motherland and nation prosperity.

This not only reflects the progress of China's countrywide industry is the reality, but also expresses people's countrywide delight and inspires love of countrywide goods, contributing to the revitalization of the national industries.

In the United Says˜as a dominant communal individualism, personal unique personality means the quest for his own words, behavior, thought and distinctiveness. Advertising campaign of American Opel car straight promoted product 'unique', highlighting their seeking personality features. "All cars are the same nowadays". We've all been told this said. However, not by anybody who is aware of Opel. Coincidentally, an advertisements of Porsche sports car with an excellent attractive picture of your red sports car running rapidly on the Highway, creates "Lonely wolf " image as luxury sport cars driving via a forest. There is absolutely no uncertainty that such advertising can meet management aims, such as young consumers' desire to have self-expression, the pursuit of brilliant emotional cause. From the above samples, it is not difficult to see that self-expression, independent soul and values of people battling to be totally reflected in the advertising.

3. 1. 2 Love vs. Respect

To some degree, love and esteem are synonymy for they have much in keeping. By the value love from, and love distillated to value is a process of quantitative and qualitative change, nevertheless they cannot be the same. Value is definitely from the lower to top of the while love is identical regardless of level and category. With traditional ethnical influence of every own, Chinese ad is respect-oriented while western countries love-oriented. This is because in China, "filial piety" is a virtue. Chinese people deeply feel the duty of the family. Not only morally, but also legally, children have obligation and responsibility of maintenance for older people. Filial piety is a faithful, honest basis. One Manifestation of filial piety is distinguishing elderly. Such ideals have been strengthened in advertising. Let's check out two medicine advertisements in China and in foreign countries.

Health Safety Yangshen in tv advertising: Within the Screen, the child acted by movie star Huang Rihua is worried about his father's health, so he buys him today Yangshen that may probably benefit his health. But probably consequently of little communication between your father and son, it's a little problematic for the son to get the way to present Yangshen to his father. When the child is exercising "father, I really like you" in his room, the daddy breaks in and talks about the kid with wonder and misunderstanding. At this time, the boy hands Yangshen to his father and talks out "father, I love you", then we could see the rip in the father's sight.

Adalat Oros advertisements of preventing cardiovascular treatments: an image of a healthy elderly packed with energy and spirit and regarding his newly young committed wife using her wedding dress before the church, his self-confidence and lovely smile on his face. Advertising dialect is: "He should live longer than he expected. "

Two commercials are both good advertising, but also illustrate different cultural foundation in Chinese and, the burkha. One is admiration oriented, and the other love oriented.

YangShen advertising today demonstrates in the Chinese language family, child shows admiration to his dad at first, then the love. Advertisements take full advantage of the Chinese language culture; achieving an impact that Yangshen isn't only simply for health source but a token expressing love.

Likewise, Adalat Oros is some sort of medicine. It requires the performance by using laughter that two people with age difference get wedded, the advertising feature mock vocabulary, peaceful and candidly conveying brand notion: Love for your wellbeing is treasure and cherish life! The high self-assurance from high-hold brain of the dude and the crafty look of the old fellow obviously manifested the contest between love and life (Wang Chunmei, Wan Yinong&Zhang Lei, 2006).

3. 1. 3 Power vs. Freedom

China has experienced an extended history in the feudal society, as its mainstream culture, Confucianism has been broadly influencing the lives of Chinese language people, who've also shaped a less thinking function advocating moderation and upholding the specialist. This is shown in the life span of folks, who'll always take professional view and expert sector report as golden rule with no suspicion. Thus, China's advertising is often full of experts and advises certification of expert sector. In comparison, the Western marketers are more likely to create a graphic for the brand, presenting appearance to the people's desire to have individuality and liberty. We could see the differences in the next advertisement.

† : †˜-˜ ¶ ˜˜ ˜˜»˜† -- - ¶40»˜˜ "¶"˜»˜(CSA )˜†»˜(CPMA)"

The company determined high quality tooth-cleaning materials, totally consistent with national standards. This toothpaste does not wear the teeth, but helps it be clean and shiny. It has been identified by more than 40 Tooth Associations on the globe and more Chinese experts choose this brand. CSA and CPMA recommend the brand.

Safeguard, a make of fancy cleaning soap, also calls for the printing of China Medical Connection as an attractive point.

In the traditional western advertisement, hardly ever do we find the reorganization of expert. As for the westerners, freedom and individualism is a lot more important.

Nike Just do it

Marlboro Come to where in fact the flavor is

Come to Marlboro Country (Han Ping, 2005).

Marlboro is a name of cigarette. Here "Marlboro Country" refers to the folks who smoke this type of cigarette which makes people neglect their manual operations, thus there's a yearning for liberty to come back to the nature. "Flavor" has two meanings here. Is the unique preference; the other is the special dress and grace of the cigarette smoker. "Marlboro man" represents the most successful, most influential brand image in the hundred years. He is dressed up in jeans, using a tall courser, with a cigarette in his mouth area and blue sky as record. All this is symbolic of pizzazz, and flexibility, which many young men pursue. Commercial marketers take this image serving as a foil to the ardent, adventurous, enjoyable and free life which people are yearning and chasing. Because this advertisements totally satisfies the westerners' expectation for flexibility, Marlboro obtains an agreeable and delectable come back.

3. 1. 4 Contribution vs. Enjoyment

China is a large agricultural social routine; the Chinese language put much stress on collectivism, authoritative character, submitting to dynamics. The advertisement mirrored the characteristics of Chinese culture.

, »»- (Hua Li-- mosquito killer)

Hua Li mosquito killer makes the world no mosquitoes.

This arouses resonance in the imagination of consumers.

As for the westerners, they have a tendency of enjoyment. There is a popular saying in the USA: Work hard, and revel in yourself. An important concept of People in america working is separating work time and leisure time. In their view, the work is without doubt important, but entertainment and relaxation is the best way to improve efficiency.

The following ads will be the best certification.

Enjoy complete Vodka, take it easy, it deserves you. (Vodka)

Just for the flavour of computer. (Coca Cola)

Be young˜have fun, drink PEPSI.

Take time for you to indulge˜˜ NES Snow cream˜These advertisements display the consumer's notion: take it easy, seek for considerable consumption, and ownership of pleasing products.

3. 2 National Trait

Every country has its nation trait, corresponding to these nation traits; we suggest the attributes, characteristics, tendencies, principles, moral ideas and beliefs. All of them are an integral part of culture. Here, the author from three aspects individual to demonstrate and show the cultural dissimilarities.

3. 2. 1 Traditional vs. Newfangled

Chinese people love jubilant scenes, love to pay attention to auspicious words. Most of the advertising language starting from the essential mass psychology completely reflects radiant free atmosphere. For example:

˜˜˜» ¶˜, ¶˜¶˜˜

We won't agree to presents this festival except Naobaijin

(Some sort of health security food)

On the screen, the family, including old and young, with cheerful expression, shows the tranquility and delight.

, »(Instant Noodle Advertising campaign)

(Much contentment, much satisfaction)

¶'˜¶(Wine Ad) (Kongfu family wines reminds people of home)

All in all, most advertisements of wine beverages and food come with an obvious Chinese attribute, and also embody the original identity of "‡-"(auspicious words in China).

Western culture induces visitors to develop invention, self-advocacy, and liberalism, emphasizing individuality, personal values, especially advocating person, equality, competition and frank vocal, lively contribution and self-affirmation of the export-oriented identity. Reflected in what in the language of advertising, it shows a individualized curriculum and creates something unconventional. The next is an ad for Motorola.

Baked, Drenched, Tried to the extreme. A Motorola mobile phone stands tough in the face of torture. Just ask Danielle Bel1, whose phone came back from the ashes of an three--alarm flame. Motorola, the best- selling˜most preferred cell phones in the world. This is a distinctive advertising idea; a picture of the Motorola cellular phone of deformation, there has to be nothing but a major disaster. Clearly it will leave a lasting impression.

Another ad for tyre: Even its footprint tells you it's different (Han Ping, 2005).

You will find everything unique and fresh in advertising language.

3. 2. 2 Implicative vs. Outright

Different ethnic backgrounds determine different expressions. Chinese people express passion, friendship and love with implicit personality in the advertising words.

--†˜ : JUST A LITTLE young lady used Diaopai cleansing powder to clean clothes while her mother went out to find job. And she remaining a note: Mum, I could help you with housework.

This love for Mum touched all the folks who viewed it.

-±˜»- ˜ (Health Products Ad) (Xu Dezhen, 2003).

The advertisement portrayed the implicative and self-evident affection between partner and man.

But in western countries the appearance of affection is very explicit. For illustration˜Take the telephone to go away your love˜The originality is usually that the daughter from thousands of kilometers away called her parents, who had been having their evening meal, and said: "I really like you. "

There is another advertisements on TOYOTA:

I love what you do for me (Xu Dezhen, 2003).

The open-and-shut character fully discovered its candor.

3. 2. 3 Conventional vs. Extroverted

Chinese and american culture has distinctions in orientation and understanding on gender. Our advertising restrictions specifically prohibit a picture of temptation and seduction or intimate content. Even if it is necessary to involve related content, it will become implicit and hidden.

Owing to the relatively conventional nature of the concept, many perfume and cosmetics advertisements stress implicitness.

For instance: » ˜

This 12 months you are 20, next calendar year 18. (Baili Soap) (Xu Dezhen, 2003).


Keep young, keep charming. (Makeup advertisement)

-- !

Pox disappears. (Cosmetic makeup products advertisement)

But in the traditional western countries˜advertisement concerning gender can be found everywhere, and the uncovered beautiful women is common.

An advertising for Charlie perfume:

The generous, sexy-young scent. By Revlon (Wu Keming, 1999: 178).

Close-up toothpaste:

Your perfume changes him on. Will your breathing switch him off?

Such an advertisement is not allowed in China, but it appears that the Western advertisement composers take delight in it.

3. 3 Thinking Mode

Thinking can be an important part, highest rally, main designer and dedication of human culture. Quite simply, thinking is the fundamental essence of real human cultural phenomenon. Thinking can be split into two basic types: intuitive thinking and logical thinking. Chinese advertisements focus on intuitive thinking while the westerners stress rational thinking.

The advertisement witnessed different thinking settings in China and West. Take telecom advertisement as an illustration.

In order expressing the concept of "Telecom communicates, heart and soul communicates", Chinese language telecom spares no work in five different dribs and drabs in daily life: Communication is solicitude (daddy and boy); Communication is love (mine worker particular date); Communication is talk about (quarrel between few); Communication is recognized (daddy and son); Communication is admiration (teacher and pupil). Directly, it tells the clients that telecom can reduce distance between people and make communication convenient without space limitation but intendment and true feelings (Xu Dezhen, 2003). China telecom spends so enough time, only in wish of passing the concept clearly and directly. It's not problematic for us to understand the pondering way of the originality is intuitive thinking. It not only tallies with the Chinese language traditional thinking way but suits the cultural behavior of the followers. Plus the same is telecommunications advertising. The United States ingeniously introduced only one life details: Yawning. A guy walking on the road has a causal yawn, a female not far uses him--- another yawn, and then one older is also attacked with a yawn. And what even more interesting is the pet doggie accompanying them with yawning. At the sight of this picture, at first, I didn't realize what it wants to appeal for at the moment. Just then your words struck the symbol with an individual comment: Communicating is simple.

This is a perfect advertising; I cannot but admire the traditional western reasonable ideation. Yawning is only a normal occurrence, but the western advertisers tell the customers that communication is really as easy as yawning. You could communicate with anyone anytime if you are willing to.

3. 4 Behaviour towards Animals, Numbers, and Plants

People living in several cultures backgrounds may have their own different behaviour and thoughts towards animals, numbers, and vegetation. One culture might not suggest the same in another. That is why the same words have different interpretation in various countries. The differences triggered by such words in advertising may be illustrated with the next examples.

We all know that Chinese people often respect bats as a good luck because the Chinese language character " " seems exactly like "" (meaning "fortune" or "blessing"). Some Chinese legends say that whenever a bat lives 100 years, it becomes white in color and hangs upside down from a tree, and eating that bat could bring person longevity. A red bat foretells even better success for " " tones exactly the same as "" (being supremely fortunate) (Hu Wenzhong, 2005). But in western cultures the translator must adapts their linguistic behavior to the different attitude towards the pet, they do not think "Bat" is a good name, because bat is undoubtedly an extremely bad omen in much Western european folklore. So may be translations like "Fortunes" better.

Sometimes numbers can result in a number of organizations. Common speaking, every culture has some amounts. It is believed to be either "fortunate" or sometimes" sinister", However, that may sometimes different. Then we take the translation of "7-up" for example, which is a brand of soda. Many English speaking countries consider that the number "7" is an extremely luck amount for the people˜while Chinese people don't believe so. This is is different in Chinese eyes. According to the ethnical difference, the translator is trying to help make the same effect on the list of Chinese buyer. So they workout the name "-". The name of it is very acceptable for the people because its first part "" is faithful to the brand name without transmitting any unfavorable interpretation, and its second part "-"transmit this is of "happy and all the best", and so offset the increased loss of connotation in the number "7".

Finally, flower words likewise have different meanings in different cultures. For example, the brand named "»", Chinese people think this means clean and genuine. But to British people, the term "narcissus" means a self-loving person. So if these washing machines use such a brand, cultural adaptation is necessary to european consumers. So the term "Daffodil" might become more suitable.

In simple, using these kinds of words as brand names in a global market can indicate going for a risk. As we have said, the producers should become more careful when making such brands in advertising (Zhou Ruxin, 2004). Cultural turmoil and difference is almost almost everywhere, even the exiguous part shouldn't be neglected. So it is a smart decision to take the aforementioned cultural element into consideration while bringing the products into world market.

3. 5 Geographical Location Differences

In cultures, the positioning may be regard as an important factor. In dialects, different locations have different languages cultures, and it can interpret in different ways in different cultures. For instance, snow is becoming an indispensable part of Eskimos' life. So they have a quite large vocabulary of different sorts of snow in their language. While people moving into India can rarely imagine what's snow, what snow looks like. So there is no word for "snow".

There is another example: China has once produced some agricultural machines called "" because of the geographical location of China. Chinese people feel that "" is a symbol of warmth which means good omen. In China, this means "advantageous conditions" as the Chinese language "±˜ " (Zhou Ruxin, 2004). But in american countries, "east breeze" has completely different meaning. For these people, their "west wind flow" is equivalent to our "east wind". Therefore, although brand was put into "East Wind", many people keep that the greater proper name might be "West Wind".

IV. Conclusion

Culture is the merchandise of historical development of humans. Advertising is the merchandise of interpersonal and financial highly development. In society, advertising plays an increasingly heavy role. In a sense, the advertising impacts on our lives all aspects. It not only transmits product information to us, more transmit some sort of cultural awareness. As for the cultural variations, lots of scholars have tried out to describe it in several aspects. In the past on the study of cultural dissimilarities in advertising, people tended to choose the point of view of linguistics, focusing on the vocabulary, syntax and rhetoric id, but it is not limited to language but instead a cultural occurrence.

Advertisement, as a community social habits, since its naissance˜embodies ethnical uniqueness and nationality. Based on the formers, the author collected a large volume of materials, trying to go over cultural distinctions in ad between China and traditional western countries. But cultural background of one nation, in the end, has obstacle. In the modern day world, with the introduction of globalization, no subject Chinese or American advertising, social dialogue and cross-cultural communication is absolutely necessary to make it through and make further development. Thus the advertising campaign both in China and western can win amalgamation. Boldly speaking, our purpose is to make the current advertisement to attain a bourn of "seeking common items while reserving difference, seeking uniqueness while along. " This research endeavors to provide some information for the marketers through comparability between Chinese language and Western advertisements along the way of international and intercultural communication.

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