Crossing the cultural divide through bilingual advertising: The moderating role of brand cultural symbolism

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Kubat U., Swaminathan V.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN MARKETING, vol.32, no.4, pp.354-362, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ijresmar.2015.04.003
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.354-362
  • Keywords: Biculturals, Bilingual advertising, Culturally symbolic brands, Identity integration, BICULTURAL IDENTITY INTEGRATION, LANGUAGE, ACCULTURATION, CONSUMER, PERSUASION, IMPACT, SELF
  • Akdeniz University Affiliated: No


This research examines the roles of brand cultural symbolism and advertising type (i.e., bilingual vs. host country language) in influencing brand liking among biculturals (people who equally identify with two distinct cultures). Across four experiments, we show that a brand's cultural symbolism (or the degree to which a brand symbolizes a cultural group) moderates the impact of bilingual advertising (vs. English-language advertising) on brand liking among biculturals. Brands low in cultural symbolism can appeal to some types of biculturals by engaging in bilingual advertising, whereas there is no significant improvement in brand liking when bilingual advertising is paired with host-culture symbolic brands. This research also highlights the role of bicultural identity integration (BII), or the degree to which biculturals perceive their mainstream (host) and ethnic (home) identities as compatible (versus incompatible), as a key process mechanism that mediates these effects. We demonstrate that at high levels of BII, biculturals react more favorably to a bilingual ad than an English ad, but only for a less symbolic brand. At low levels of BII, advertising type has no significant effect on biculturals' brand evaluations. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.