Introduction example, the majority of Saudi Arabia is Muslim,

Introduction
(383 words)

Multinationals often encounter problems in
different countries. This is because they need to apply a different advertising
strategy to each country as each country has a different culture. (Nakata &
Sivakumar, 2001). In other words, companies need to adjust their advertising to
each country’s culture. According to De Mooij (2015), advertising is only
effective when it matches the ideology of the target country. More clearly,
what may be effective in one country, may not be effective in another country
at all. This paper will dig deeper into the cultural differences that influence
advertising. That is, it will focus on the multinational    

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IKEA is a
company of Swedish origin, founded in 1943, with its main office located in Leiden,
The Netherlands. However, the company has branches all over the world. Namely, according
to Statista, there are 389 IKEA branches in 28 countries. The company sells
furniture and home products that the buyer usually needs to put together
himself or herself. IKEA is one of the largest furniture-selling companies and
is still increasingly growing (Lutz, 2015). This company was particularly
chosen to focus on as it is a suitable example of a multinational company that
uses different advertising strategies for different countries. As to the
countries, Saudi Arabia and the United States could not differ more. That is,
they have very different cultures. For example, the majority of Saudi Arabia is
Muslim, while the United States is commonly known as having a wide variety of
religions (Reichel, 2002). These kinds of dissimilarities make a world of
difference when it comes to applying the proper advertising strategy
(Albers-Miller & Gelb, 1996). This makes analysing the countries and their
culture highly interesting.

In this paper,
these differences in culture will be analysed and it will be explained why
these differences matter when one wants to advertise in these countries. Also,
it will analyse a selection of already existing advertisements by IKEA and
discuss whether the advertisements correspond to both the culture of Saudi
Arabia and the culture of the United States. Furthermore, the different types
of advertising will be discussed and related to the selected advertisements.

Lastly, a conclusion will be provided that contains the strengths and
limitations of the selected advertising campaigns.

 

Theoretical
framework (1068 words)

This paper will particularly focus on the
values of cultures and how they influence advertising. A value is something that one regards as something that is of
importance or how one prefers to live their life. Taken on a cultural level, a
value is something that a culture lives by (De Mooij, 2014). For example,
Indonesian people value togetherness and family as one of their core values,
while in Japan the citizens are more focused on each other’s achievement.

Moreover, the concept of value can be divided into two categories: terminal and instrumental values. Namely, terminal values refer to how one
wishes to eventually become and the goals that we work towards. Instrumental
values are ways to achieve these goals (De Mooij, 2014).

More
specifically, these values can be uttered in different ways such as signs, symbols, body language, but also
in imagery and music (De Mooij, 2014). For instance, thumbs up is considered a positive
gesture in Western countries, while countries in Australia regard this sign as
highly offensive (Tipton, 2008). Also, each culture has its own graphic
perception, which influences the style and angle presented in an image. Furthermore,
even though, music is known to be rather universal, cultures have their own pace.

That is, as addressed by De Mooij (2014), people who know how to speak another
language than their native language, are also familiar with “the music and
rhythm of that language” as it is important to understand the rhythm in which the
language is spoken. These are all different ways through which a culture can be
expressed in advertisements.

Furthermore, there
are various ways in which cultures can be measured. This paper will analyse the
advertisements published by IKEA according to Geert Hofstede’s view on culture.

That is, it will use four out of the five cultural dimensions established by Hofstede
(1984) established five dimensions of culture: power distance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus
femininity and uncertainty avoidance.

Firstly, the power distance dimension
may refer to the power distance between parent and child, employer and employee
or man and woman. Most of the time, the culture’s society is often set to this
degree of power distance. A large degree of power distance can be found in,
among others, Asian, Arab and Latin American countries. A small degree of power
distance can be found in the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia, among others
(Hofstede, 1984). Secondly, individualism
versus collectivism refers to the extent to which individuals are
integrated into groups and how they move and behave within these groups. For
example, the United Kingdom is known to be more individualistic as they focus
more on independence, while South Korea is highly collectivistic as they focus
more on solidarity (Hofstede 1984). The third dimension, masculinity versus femininity, concerns the distribution of roles
between men and women in society. Feminine and masculine tasks are intertwined
in feminine cultures. The people are caring, modest and pay a lot of attention
to the emotions of others. In masculine cultures, it is the other way around.

An example of a masculine country is, for example, the United States and Saudi
Arabia (Hofstede, 1984). Lastly, the degree of uncertainty avoidance demonstrates the level of fear of the future
within a culture. If there is a high level of uncertainty avoidance in a
country, the population will suffer from many rules, they want assurance in
their work, save a lot and are often religious. Low uncertainty avoidance has
the next features: fewer rules, differences in beliefs are accepted and divergent
or unique behaviour is (to a certain extent) respected by society (Hofstede,
1984).

Additionally, the
concepts of high-context and low-context cultures introduced by Hall (1994)
will be incorporated in the analysis of the advertisements. Namely, in a high
context culture is indirectly and covertly communicated. In a low culture
context, on the other hand, direct and unambiguous communication takes place
(Hall, 1994). High context cultures can be found in, for example, Asia,
Southern Europe and the Middle East as, in these cultures, it is assumed that
misinterpretation is practically impossible. Low context cultures can be found
in Northwest Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. In other words,
low context cultures prefer to communicate very clearly and thoroughly as the
people need more clarification to comprehend the text, while high context cultures
prefer to be more direct and efficient as the people need fewer words to
comprehend a text (Hall, 1994). Still, it must be acknowledged that the fact
that this paper categorizes and generalizes cultures indicates that it makes
use of stereotypes.

Nevertheless, as
discussed by De Mooij (2014), marketers often encounter confusion when it comes
to cultural values. That is, the more people get to know other cultures, the
more they become aware of their own culture. For this reason, it is hard to
decide whether to advertise based on national values or global values. This is
also known as the global-local paradox (De Mooij, 2014). Later in this paper,
it will be concluded which of these two options IKEA has used for their
advertisements. Did the advertisements clearly showcase the values of the
United States and Saudi Arabia? Or were the advertisements more globally
oriented?

Furthermore, the
analysis will also contain a classification of the advertisements published by
IKEA based on their executional styles. Namely, the classification model by
Franzen (1994) will be used. This model contains the seven basic advertising
forms: announcement, association transfer, lesson, drama, entertainment,
imagination and special effects. More defined, announcements are advertisements
without people. They only present the product and small bits of information.

Association transfers contain the product together with something else like a
person or certain setting. In this sense, the audience is supposed to associate
the person or setting to the brand (Franzen 1994). Furthermore, lessons are the
direct demonstration of information, meant to educate the spectators. The
fourth basic advertising form, drama, involves the interaction among two or
more people. In this case, the people convey the message and indirectly attempt
to persuade the audience (Franzen 1994). Likewise, entertainment is a form of
indirect advertising as well. Namely, its purpose is to delight the audience
rather than to sell. Moreover, imagination refers to the use of animations or non-realistic
portrayals of a fictional world and the special effects form of advertising
refers to the use of all sorts of artistic elements such as animation, music
and camera effects in advertisements.

Together, these
concepts and paradigms form the theoretical framework that will be used for the
analysis of the IKEA advertisements in Saudi Arabia and the United States.