Printed advertising in the Czech Republic and France: homogeneous or heterogeneous practices?

 

Christian Dianoux

University of Metz (France)

Jana Kettnerová & Zdenek Linhart

Czech  University of Agriculture in Prague (Czech Republic)

 

 

Summary

The aim of this research is to determine the main features in which the Czech and French advertisements are similar and in which they differ, and to further develop the line of work on the content analyses of advertisements (Resnik and Stern, 1977).

The study concerns the content analysis of 577 printed advertisements published in the 10 most representative magazines in the Czech Republic and France. The five largest categories of magazines in terms of their focus are represented as follows:  women, men, businesses, seniors and juniors.

The results show some noticeable divergences in the basic structure and content of advertising, such as the size, the presence of children or elderly people, the number of product features and the indication of prices.

Some convergences appear as well, such as the human presence, the use of testimonies and/or celebrities and the mention of the brand only.

These results open up new possibilities for future research in order to verify the key factors, which advertisers could standardize or adapt for their advertising campaigns.     

 

Key words:    magazines, advertisements, homogenous, heteregenous, divergence,

convergence.

 

Introduction

 

Recently, Al-Olayan and Karande (2000) noted that the largest number of studies exploring the cross-cultural differences between publicities concentrated mostly on just a few countries: USA (with a range of 40 out of 59 studies in the meta analysis of Abernathy and Franke, 1996), the Western European countries (France, Sweden, Great Britain, etc), and the leading countries in Asia (Japan and Korea).

 

On the other hand, countries such as those from the former Soviet bloc have had very few studies despite their increased economical importance and their integration into the European Union ([1]).

In fact, the entrance of seven of these countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) into the EU in May, 2004, now allows advertisers to develop communication strategies with at least the plan of regulations (notably those dealing with misleading publicity and comparative publicity), which will enable them to benefit from homogenous constraints. 

The objective of this paper is based on the current research with the hope of making a contribution to a better understanding of the politics of the advertisers' communication. It also aims at responding to questions posed by the statement of Whitelock and Chung (1989): “Which approach is adopted by practitioners is, however, still a matter for some speculation, since the writers have confined themselves to giving only anecdotal examples in support of their arguments”.  The analysis presented here is concentrated on the analysis of the contents of publicity magazines in the Czech Republic and in France ([2]), the second largest investor in that country (after Germany). It expresses itself in the manner following: the point of comparative research at the international level and that which we know about the two countries which helped us formulate our working hypothesis (§.1), the methodology used (§.2), and the obtained results (§.3).  Finally, we will conclude by revealing the principal tendencies observed, the managerial recommendations that emerge, and will indicate the unchanging limits of this work from which several research perspectives arise.

 

 

1. Review of the Literature and the Hypothesis

 

A.  International Communication

 

The debate on the standardization of the politics of multinational communication enterprises was born several decades ago with the positions, notably, of Elinder (1965) and Fatt (1967), who alleged that the evolution of societies brings about a bigger and bigger convergence level between countries and has a tendency to eliminate cultural barriers in permitting the emergence of standardized international communication.  Roostals (1963), several years previously, noted that even if standardization of publicity developed logically, keeping the same differences, owing to the specific demands of the nationality of the consumers, that the diversity of the languages in Western Europe, as well as the media and the rules, made things even more difficult.  Others, like Buzzels (1968), commented that, on the other hand, in most cases the many differences between the local markets encouraged a vision of an adaptation of communications. 

 

In fact, even if the standardization was favourable to achieve the economic ladder (Levitt, 1983), a certain local adaptation was necessary and seemed, in most cases, economically the most pertinent (Auelch and Hoff, 1986) point of view was stated by the famous expression, “Think global, act local” (Wind and Douglas, 1986).  Other authors have also shown that the general debate on the standardization was futile because this question was notably contingent on the existence of homogeneous  international segments and that in this case it justified itself but not in the other (Baalbaki and Malhotra, 1993).

 

Adding to the debate, numerous studies and been led to analyse the practices of enterprises and have shown that the practice of total standardisation was rare, with most cases having a tendency to adapt the communication.  This adaptation always had to be considered unified.  According to Harris (1994), after a study on the practice of multination Americans and Europeans in the European Union, there exists, in reality, a very large spectrum of practices from the adaptation of total standardisation.  This spectrum can be considered as a sort of continuum in which all the states were represented:

-  a visual, text or simply a claim adaptation

-  an adaptation with no value, limited, moderate or high value

-an adaptation that varied according to the markets

 

Finally, if the total adaptation is the exception, so is the pure standardisation, even if there has been a strong tendency during the last 40 years to move towards standardisation, because even though it is still not effective, it permits the economic ladder to envision significances and to diffuse an identifying position around the world (Agrawal, 1995).

 

In such a context, the study of the differences between countries from the analysis of the contents of the advertisements is most interesting.  This is so because, besides the consumer study and what the enterprises claim to practice, the analysis of the contents permits one to give objective indications on the actual practices of the advertisers.  Even though this approach is not moving in the sense that was recommended by Taylor (2002) who affirmed that the academic research on international publicity produced too many content analyses and not enough experiments: “what we need is experimental research in which the impact of specific executional variables is isolated”, it is not far from the end.  For us, the analysis of the contents is not an end in itself but a first step permitting an orientation towards future investigation of the elements of execution of experimental testing.  Before looking at the comparison of the efficiency of this or that element of execution between two or more countries, it seems more important to us that we should, firstly, define the limits of the advertisers' practices and, secondly, provide orientation for future research.

 

 

B.  Differences between the Czech Republic and France

 

If, as already stated, the majority of the comparative studies were based on the publicity styles, they concerned essentially the comparisons between the Americans and Asians, or the Americans and Europeans. The comparisons concerning European countries are fewer (Walliser and Moreau, 2000), and those concerning the comparisons of Eastern and Western Europe are fewer still. However, even the small number of studies on this subject allows us to point out the following characteristics:

- In France, the diverse publicities are preferred to the informative publicities (Mandel, 1991) which tend to orientate the creation towards messages mostly centred on a global image of a product rather than on the explanation of facts (Hall and Hall, 1990; Walliser and Moreau, 2000), with ads that are emotional (Zandpour, Chang and Catalano, 1992) and rich messages with subtle hints and non verbal expressions (Fleury, 1990), are dominant. In Poland, publicity uses humorous symbols or the historic and literary past of the country with word plays and linguistic expressions with double meanings that are only understood by the Poles (Dianoux, Domanski, and Herrmann, 2000; Domanski, Dianoux and Herrmann, 2003).

 - by contrast, Vida and Fairhurst (1999) did not find a strong ethnocentricity in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia, in comparison with the western European countries;

-The study of Kaynac and Kara (2001), even though dealing mostly with Asia, shows that the creative strategies emphasizing family values were more obvious in the countries where there was a strong family image;

- According to Grapard (1997), even if the solid communal bases between the European countries on the geographic and social-political plans leave us to assume that there are many similarities, actually many differences subsist, notably between the East and the West. This is because of the tendencies of the consumers situated in clarified levels, affinities and diverse cultural influences, distinct expressions in their languages, rapid and brusque reforms and economic performances which haven’t yet converged.

 

Parallel to these studies, which were focused on the consumer behaviour, are numerous differences mentioned in management manuals that can equally be pointed out.  It is, for example, preferable to avoid the seriousness and aloofness that characterize the French in business relations; the Czechs tend to weave personal relationships into their business relationships with their partners.  Misunderstandings with the Czechs are possible.  Those who find themselves in the upper cultures of the Russians, where the posture, the tone, facial expressions, silences and gestures are just as important bearers of the sense of things as the words, will notice the great contrast provided by the lower cultures of the Germans who express themselves essentially by the spoken word.  In the same line of thinking, general studies emphasize thoughts like those of Todd (1990, quoted by Demorgon, 1996): “The Western European family community, which expresses more strongly than anywhere else its values, must affirm to the East an absolute, divine authority and salvation for everyone.”  A study on professional values by Hoefstede (Table1) shows the significant differences between the two principal countries concerning two dimensions (the distance between power and the fear of uncertainty), suggesting the idea that the Czechs would be more inclined than the French to accept a stranger and less inclined to accept the differences between the status and the dependence on a leader.

 

Table 1.  Hofstede's Country scores

 

Power distance

Individualism

Masculinity

Uncertainty avoidance

France

68

71

43

86

Czech Republic

35

60

45

60

Germany

35

67

66

65

Poland

50

60

70

50

Austria

11

55

79

70

Russia

95

47

40

75

Source : http://www.centreurope.org/france/france-in-figures/hofstede-analysis-france.htm

 

Bearing in mind the numerous marked differences between the Czech and French consumers, and despite the tendency noted in standardized multinational communication (Laroche, Kirpalani, and Darmon, 1999), it seemed probable that the advertisers, voluntarily or not, had a natural tendency to adapt their communications to the two countries.  We must, therefore, find this tendency in the contents of the publicity and the hypotheses of the following basis must be demonstrated: the Czech ads differed substantially in their content, form and their medium of discourse from the French ads.

 

 

2.  Methodology

 

Before entering the contents of the ads in the two respective countries, an observation pattern emerged at first (see Appendix).  This was constituted after the different precise elements were completely exhausted and at the same time the criteria were limited to a reasonable number so as not to complicate the task of the observers, nor to multiply the risk of error or oversight.  We divided them according to the three headings held by Okazaki (2004):

                   - the type and amount of information

                   - the creative strategy used

                   - the cultural values reflected by the message

 

For a survey of the type and the amount of information required outside the classic information permitting a description of the general context (color or black and white; photo or design; presence of a product, an animal or people in the ad; type of person), and the text (brand name, slogan, length of the text), we had reserved several items intended for approximate evaluation of the informative character of the publicity.  To determine the informational dimension of the advertisement (informational cues), numerous studies use the criteria proposed by Resnik and Stern (1977).  Instead of this approach, which is very detailed and not useful for our purposes (for example, the authors use the following items: quality, performance, availability, warranty, special offer, etc), we preferred to opt for a quicker solution which permitted us to simply identify the presence or the absence of information relative to the functional characteristics or the technicalities of the product, its price (or similar information, such as the bank credit interest) or, finally, the environment or ecological characteristics of the product (an aspect which is not taken into account in the pattern proposed by Resnik and Stern).

 

Concerning the determination of the creative strategies in the different criteria reserved by Okazaki (2004) notably after the work of Leogn et al. (1998), Gudykunst and Ting Toomey (1998), we kept the four following ones:  information is symbolic; the product is compared with the others (quotation of a competitor); the advertisement proposes a promotional offer; the presence of at least one celebrity (star, sports champion, etc).  To these criteria, we have added eroticism on the assumption that France is a country very open to this form of expression.  To measure it, we took into account the resort to nudity, sharing the principle that among the different forms that can cover eroticism (or sex appeal), nudity is the most used expression (Reichert, 2003).  The other characteristics suggested by Okazaki (2004) were not used because they seemed too ambiguous to evaluate in logical reasoning, or curiosity arousal.

 

Finally, to record the different cultural values conveyed by the ads, we focused on the significant relations put into place by Albers-Miller and Gelb (1996) between the advertising appeals of Pollay and the four dimensions of Hoefstede.  Only the susceptible points of extreme divergence between the two countries have been used.  In a parallel direction, we added four other appeals (noted *) used in literature to complete the mesures ([3]):

-for the reaching effects of power: this ad shows the importance of social status (+), it shows that the product is a good deal (-), the presence of a personality (*), this ad is non-conforming (*);

-for intolerance of uncertainty: this ad incites adventure (-), it is very concentrated on security (*);

-for masculinity: this ad is based on the efficiency of the product (+), it evokes the values of tenderness (*);

-for individualism/collectivism: this ad evokes family values (+).

 

The sample of ads was constituted according to the following criteria:

- we used the 5 most important categories of magazines (business, women, children, seniors, men)

- for each of the 5 categories of magazines, the 2 most distributed in part of the Czech Republic and the other part in France were chosen except when there was the same review in the two countries and it corresponded with one of the 10 most distributed reviews in each of the two countries (see the list of utilised reviews in Appendix 2).  This last point permits a minimum basis of identical reviews in the two countries (Elle and Maxim-al), this would have been impossible in the first case because there is no corresponding review having a high circulation between the two countries;

- all the publicity ads have been looked at whatever their format (only the analysis of ads relevant to minor ads such as sales of houses, personal objects, job offers, etc. have been excluded);

- after a detailed briefing, the Czech and French student teams in the second and third cycles in marketing, were given the task of examining all the ads that they found in different reviews. To ensure certain homogeneity of judgements, each ad was given to three different persons.  The only criteria that were kept were those that had fewer than two convergent opinions.  For the criterion which had a dispersion of less than three points between extremes on a 10 point scale, an average was calculated.

 

Finally, 577 different ads were used in the evaluation which represents an average of nearly 29 ads per magazine, 309 of which were Czech and 268 were French (the difference coming from the larger number of  losses on the French side).

 

Other information presented was collected from the following sources:

- for the diffusion: from the data 2004 of the Institute ABCCR for the Czech Republic and from the OJD for France;

- the price of the publicity ads come, for that matter, from the data indicated on the review of the Internet sites in 2005, the standard basis used was the normal page in four colours;

- the prices in the Czech and French currencies were calculated on the basis of 30 crowns = 1 Euro.

 

 

3. Results

 

A.  Structural comparisons of publicity

 

Of all of the product categories used, the most significant differences occurred in the categories of computers, automobiles and books (see Table 2).  We observed that in the other categories there was not a very clear difference between the Czech and French reviews.  The publicities involve similar categories of products.

 

Table 2. : Total number of different publicities taken from 20 magazines (base 577)

Product Category

 Czech Reviews

French Reviews

Total

Food and Cleaning Products

5,2%

6,0%

5,5%

Cosmetics, Health and Hygiene

19,7%

23,9%

21,7%

Clothing-Textiles

10,7%

12,3%

11,4%

Computers, Hifi-sound-image-Telephones

10%

1,5%

6,1%

Automobile, Motorcycles

3,9%

8,2%

5,9%

Books, Magazines, DVDs

10,4%

5,2%

8,0%

Other products

6,8%

12,0%

9,2%

Banks and Insurance

4,2%

6,7%

5,4%

Telecommunications

4,5%

6,3%

5,4%

Tourism and Transport

3,2%

4,9%

4,0%

Entertainment

9,1%

4,9%

7,1%

Other services

12,3%

8,3%

10,4%

 

100%

100%

100%

Note :  These figures do not take into account the size of the publicities

 

As for the fact that we found brands, which were more or less known in the two countries, no difference was observed (Khi²=0,42 ; p.c.=0,52), with 32% of the brands being the object of an ad in a Czech magazine were known in France, against 30% for the opposite cases.

 

Concerning the position of the name brand (high, low or in the middle of the ad), there was no difference, except the fact that in France the brand is repeated in different places in the ad, which was not the case in the Czech Republic.  If such a difference appears odd, it is sufficient to study the dimensions of the ads for a better understanding, since the fundamental difference rests, without doubt, on this point: the Czech ads have a tendency to repeat the formats, which are clearly inferior to those observed in France. This explains the fact that we can often repeat the brand name.  Equally important, even if the percentage stays low, the Czech ads were more often in black and white (5.7%) than the French ads (1.1%), probably for economical reasons.

 

Table 3,  Publicity Dimensions

(N=577)

Less than one page

One page or more

Total

Czech Republic

53,7%

46,3%

100%

France

15,3%

84,7%

100%

 

35,9%

64,1%

100%

The dependence is very significant. Chi² = 92,11, ddl = 1, p.c. = 0,00

 

This economic research is easy to understand when we look at the tariffs used by the Czech media.  In fact, if the average tariffs used in France were largely greater (6.860 euros in the Czech Republic per normal page in four colours vs. 26.721 euros in France), they were significantly lower than those that led the Cost Per Thousand (CPM) with 135 vs. 58 because of the low distribution of magazines. This is a problem inherent in countries with a low population even if the numbers of the Czech readers are proportionally greater (the number of French readers per review is 4 times greater, even though the French population is 6 times greater).

 

 

B.  Comparison of the Publicity Contents

 

In respect to the differences according to the contents of the Czech and French ads, we can similarly observe significant differences illustrated in Table 4.

 

Table 4: Comparison of Contents of French and Czech Publicity

(N=577)

USA1

UK1

France1

 

France

Czech

Black and white

6%

11%

13%

 

2%

5%*

Comparison

10%

5%

1%

 

2%

4%*

Minority race

7%

5%

7%

 

7%

7%

Elderly person

3%

2%

1%

 

11%

3%*

Children

16%

4%

6%

 

16%

9%*

Photograph

72-82%2

74-68%2

48-60%2

 

80%

85%

Product shown

57-41%2

60-49%2

49-37%2

 

77%

75%

Price shown

16-6%2

24-8%2

16-15%2

 

21%

31%*

Description

68-43%2

67-42%2

72-39%2

 

52%

55%

Symbolic

10-6%2

16-23%2

37-20%2

 

36%

44%*

1. The data in the first three columns come from the study of Cutler, Javalgi and Erramilli (1992), and are given an illustrated title.

2. The first number corresponds to the durable product category, the second to the non durable.

*- when the difference is at least 95% significant (Khi² test  )

 

Apart from the racial minority characteristics, considering the photography, product presentation and description of the products, the ads presented in the Czech reviews had, in a significant way, tendency to differ from those presented in the French reviews.  Taking into account only international brands (known in both the Czech Republic and France) didn’t change the results, except in the children category (no significant difference between the two countries).

It seems that, in general, the advertisers adapt the contents of their communications to the local context.

 

We have equally indicated the results obtained by Cutler, Javalgi, Erramilli (1992) within the framework of a comparative study between the USA, Great Britain and France (note that the study also concerns India and Korea, which aren’t discussed here).  The important differences appear to be that between the two studies, France illustrates one of the principal problems, which was encountered when comparisons between the content studies were made:  the selection of magazines and ads.  In their study, Cutler, Javalgi, Erramilli (1992) only used three magazine categories (women, business, general interest) with the same types, as closely as possible, in the other countries. 

 

They excluded ads concerning fashion clothing and all ads not having a one page format ([4]).

On our part, we believe that the selection carried out by the authors leads to a poor appreciation of the advertising tendencies in a given country because the exclusions lead to an “imperialist” analysis, accentuating the tendencies of the native country of the researchers.  As an example, if we had used only one-page or more ads in this study, we would have rejected the majority of the Czech ads and would have had partially false results.

 

As for other criteria used in our study, Table 5 shows very few differences between the two countries, even if it is only due to the environment used in the images (the Czech ads having a greater tendency than the French to use the interior environments), and the number of characteristics presented (the Czech ads use a number of characteristics very significantly elevated to show the merits of the product).

 

Table 5.  Comparison of the Contents of French and Czech Publicity in other items

(N=577 except for (1) N=361)

France

Czech

Indoor Environment

77%

88%*

Photo or drawing of at least one animal

6,4%

6,2%

Photo or drawing of at least one person (1)

66%

63%

Female Presence (1)

78%

75%

Use of a celebrity (1)

16%

19%

Use of Nudity (1)

3,4%

2,9%

Text of at least four lines

55%

59%

Only the brand name

12%

11%

Testimony of one person

6,2%

6,8%

Promotional offer

15%

18%

Information with at least 6 characteristics

13%

27%*

*significant difference of at least 95% (Khi²  test)

 

 

C.  Comparison of the Values Used by Publicity

 

Taking into account the values used by the ads showed results fundamentally different from what we took into consideration as known brands in the two countries (qualified here by international brands, see Table 6) and the known brands known only in one country (qualifies here by the "locals", see Table 7).

 

Table 6 : Comparison of the values used used by the ads of international brands

 

France

Czech

Test t

Evoking Family Values

4.26

3.24

n.s.

Non conformer

4.71

4.56

n.s.

Appeal to Adventure

5.05

4.52

n.s.

Based on the efficiency of product

6.24

5.78

n.s.

Focus on security

5.42

4.70

n.s.

Social Status

5.48

4.34

F=4.42 *

Gentleness

4.38

2.71

F=6.44 *

Bargains

5.93

4.36

F=7.20 **

Erotic

3.00

3.35

n.s.

Full of Humor

4.82

2.83

n.s.

 

 

 

 

 

The results show a certain degree of homogeneity between the two countries in the different values measured, the homogeneity is probably aligned with the research of a uniform international position.  In fact, as highlighted by Moriarty and Duncan (1990) the position is often standardised when the relative execution decisions are made locally.  Also, according to the work of Laroche et al. (1999), this degree of standardisation can be reinforced by the degree of control by the headquarters of the subsidiary which is, in turn, in control of the strategic decisions whatever the objectives of the campaign are, the subsidiary having the most influence on the decisions linked to the environmental choices whatever the copyright or the media plan.

 

Finally, we note it is possible that one differentiation of the characteristics doesn’t carry real interest.  Hoeken et al. (2003), for example, have found no difference in the capacity to persuade in ads that appeal to adventure and in ads that appeal to security between countries such as the Netherlands and France.

 

On the other hand, if Table 6 shows that the values used by the ads of international brands are considered close enough between the Czech and French readers, we can say the same for those concerning the local brands.  In fact, other than the “non conformist” item, the ads are generally considered to be different between France and the Czech Republic in a manner which is often very significant (Table 7).

 

Table 7.  Comparison of Values Used in Ads for Local Brands

 

France

Czech

Test t

Based on the Product Efficiency

6.46

4.75

F=23,65 ***

Bargains

6.01

4.30

F=18,36 ***

Evoking Family Values

5.38

3.97

F=7,33 **

Focus on Security

5.35

3.79

F=9,49 **

Gentleness

5.16

2.55

F=49,62 ***

Appeal to Adventure

5.06

3.49

F=11,73 ***

Social Status

4.94

3.50

F=10,92 **

Full of Humor

4.60

2.84

F=7,50 **

Erotic

4.39

2.83

F=7,25 **

Anticonformist

3.74

3.08

n.s.

 

These very interesting results have been compiled with great care in our methodological choice and we utilize them in our conclusion.

 

 

Conclusion

 

We strongly ascertain that there is a large number of differences between France and the Czech Republic in the point of creative advertising, whatever the structural plan (formats are smaller in the Czech Republic), or in terms of contents (the price is more often mentioned in the Czech Republic, and children and older persons are used less).  Our hypothesis is therefore largely supported by the collected data and we can conclude that the advertisers have the tendency to adapt the contents of their communication in function with the Czech or French context.

 

Concerning the values, we have also found important differences between the two countries, but only in local brands and a few international brands.

 

These results are so consistent that we have queried the methodological choices used (distinct evaluators in the two countries). In fact, the overall examination of the results (Tables 6 and 7) shows a strong tendency towards the French marks being higher.  Faced with such a result, one has the right to ask if the given marks aren’t also influenced by a dissimilar assessment approach between the Czech and French readers?  Remember that when each ad was analysed by three evaluators, they stayed with the magazines of their own country, the French analysed the French ads and the Czechs analysed the Czech ads.  Since the “objective” observations such as, for example the size of the advertisement or the presence of individuals, should not vary because of the nationality of the evaluator.  Anything that is associated with interpretation is susceptible to be influenced by nationality (eg an advertisement with family values).  Research into this issue had to be undertaken because if it had been confirmed, the best solution to remedy the problem would have been to disperse the evaluators (50% of the Czechs to evaluate the French publicity and vice versa) and thus obtain an opinion, which would be rather difficult to codify (eg when something is judged non conformist in one country, can it also be judged as non-conformist in another?).  Such a judgement, we understand, risked a serious compromise of the entire study, because of the difficulty in finding evaluators who would be fluent in five or six different languages.

 

From the methodological point of view, this study also shows the importance of taking into account a statistically sufficient (large) publicity sample from each country, in order to avoid the methodological choices found by Cutler, Javalgi, Erramilli (1992). We hope to have a representative perception of the communication forms used in a given country.  In this sense, it important to pay attention to the following issues:

- to use a large category of magazines covering different segments of the population and then post information such as "X % of the persons in the ads are older persons" (Cutler, Javalgi and Erramilli, 1992) logically would not make great sense when the selected magazines are not targeting the senior segment;

- selecting identical magazines in different countries is interesting because it permits a homogenous target but it also generates a greater problem of concentrating on groups which could be marginal in the studied countries.  If we wish to have a representative sample, it seems preferable to keep magazines in separate categories in relation to their respective level;

- similarly, to exclude certain publicities can generate important biases (except, of course, those which can be qualified as short ads and not publicities, communicating precise products: offer or request for employment, real estate sales, etc.). Also, being limited to one page formats risks, according to the country, a creation of important distortions such as has been the case between the Czech Republic and France. This confirms the comments of Avery and Franke (1996) within the framework of their meta-analysis.

 

This first tour of the horizon of the universe of the Czech and French advertising has permitted us to have a global view of the practices of the advertisers in the two countries.  Each time, knowing that the idea of “what is practiced is what is effective”, doesn’t always exactly reveal that what is practiced. This conforms with the suggestion (5[5]) of Harris and Attour (2003) that there are basic characteristics that permit publicity to be as efficient in France as in the Czech Republic, notably those in which we have observed the most differences between the two countries, such as the communication on the functional attributes and the price.

 


 

References

 

Abernethy Avery M., Franke George R. (1996), The Information Content of Advertising A Meta-Analysis, Journal of Advertising, 25, 2, 1-17.

Agrawal Madhu (1995), Review of a 40-year Debate in International Advertising, International Marketing Review, 12, 1, 26-48.

Al-Olayan Fahad, Karande Kiran (2000), A Content Analysis of Magazine Advertisements from the United States and the Arab World, Journal of Advertising, 29, 3, Fall, 69-82.

Albers-Miller Nancy, Gelb Betsy (1996), Business Advertising Appeals as a Mirror of Cultural Dimensions: A Study of Eleven Countries, Journal of Advertising, 25, 4, 57-70.

Baalbaki Imad B., Malhotra N. K. (1993), Marketing Management Bases for International Marketing Segmentation: An Alternative Look at the Standardization/Customization Debate, International Marketing Review, 10, 1, 19-44.

Bollinger Daniel et Hofstede Geert (1987), Les différences culturelles dans le management. Comment chaque pays gère-t-il ses hommes ?, Paris, Les Editions d’Organisation, 268 p.

Buzzel Robert D. (1968), Can You Standardize International Marketing?, Harvard Business Review, 46, November/December, 103-113.

Cutler Bob, Javalgi Rajshekhar (1992), A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Visual Components of Print Advertising; The United States and the European Community, Journal of Advertising Research, January/February, 71-80.

Cutler Bob, Javalgi Rajshekhar, Erramilli Krishna (1992), The Visual Components of Print Advertising: A Five-country Cross-Cultural Analysis, European Journal of Marketing, 26, 4, 7-20

Demorgon Jacques (1996), Complexité des cultures et de l’interculturel, Paris, Anthropos, 319 p.

Dianoux Christian, Tomasz Domanski et Jean-Luc Herrmann (2000), Comparative advertising in central and Eastern Europe: the case of Poland, Proceedings of the 8th Annual Conference on Marketing Strategies for Central and Eastern Europe, Vienna, Austria, december, Edited by P. Chadraba et R. Springer, 59-71.

Domański Tomasz, Dianoux Christian, Herrmann Jean-Luc (2003), Reklama porównawcza w świetle prawa, Marketing y Rynek, 2, 2-6.

Domański Tomasz, Dianoux Christian, Herrmann Jean-Luc (2003), Wpływ reklamy porównawczej na zachowania konsumentów, Marketing y Rynek, 3, 2-6.

Elinder Erik (1965), How International Can European Advertising be? Journal of Marketing, 29, April, 7-11.

Fatt Arthur C. (1967), The Danger of Local International Advertising, Journal of Marketing, 31, 1, 60-62.

Fleury Pascal (1990), Au-delà des particularismes. Quels fonds universels ?, Intercultures, 8, déc.- janvier, 119-130.

Grapard U. (1997), Theoretical Issues of Gender in the Transition from Socialist Regimes, Journal of Economic Issues, 31, 3, 665-685.

Gudykunst W. B., Ting-Toomey S. (1998), Culture and Interpersonal Communication, Sage.

Hall Edward T. (1976), Beyond Culture, New-York, Anchor Press/Doubleday, traduit en français, Au-delà de la culture, Paris, Ed. du Seuil.

Hall Edward T., Hall Milred R. (1990), Guide du comportement dans les affaires internationales, Paris, Ed. du Seuil, 261 p.

Harris Greg (1994), International Advertising Standardization: What Do the Multinationals Actually Standardize?, Journal of International Marketing, 2, 4, 13-30.

Harris Greg, Attour Suleiman (2003), The International Advertising Practices of Multinational Companies: A Content Analysis Study, European Journal of Marketing, 37, 1/2, 154- 169.

Hoeken Hans, Van Den Brandt Corine, Crijns Rogier, Dominguez Nuria, Hendriks Berna, Planken Brigitte, Starren Marianne (2003), International Advertising in Western Europe: Should Differences in Uncertainty Avoidance be Considered when Advertising in Belgium, France, The Netherlands and Spain?, The Journal of Business Communication, 40, 3, July, 195-218.

Hofstede Geert (1991), Cultures and Organisations, Software of the mind, Intercultural Cooperation and its importance for Survival, McGraw-Hill, traduit en français : Vivre dans un monde multiculturel, comprendre nos programmations mentales, Les Editions d’Organisation, 1994.

Kaynac Erdener, Kara Ali (2001), An Examination of the Relationship among Consumer Lifestyles, Ethnocentrism, Knowledge Structures, Attitudes and Behavioural Tendencies: a Comparative Study in two CIS States, International Journal of Advertising, 20, 4, 455-482.

Laroche Michel, Kirpalani V. H., Darmon René (1999), Determinants of the Control of International Advertising by Headquarters of Multinational Corporations, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 16, 4, 273-290.

Leogn E. K. F., Huang X., et Stanners P. J. (1998), Comparing the Effectiveness of the Web Site with Traditional Media, Journal of Advertising Research, 38, September/October, 44-51.

Levitt Theodore (1983), The Globalizations of Markets, Harvard Business Review, 61, May/June, 92-102.

Linton Ralph (1945), The cultural background of personality, traduit en français par Andrée Lyotard, Le fondement culturel de la personnalité, Paris, Dunod, 1965.

McCullough Lynette (1993), Leisure Themes in International Advertising : A Content Analysis, Journal of Leisure Research, 25, 4, 380-388.

Manrai Lalita, Lascu Dana-Nicoleta, Manrai Ajay, Babb Harold (2001), A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Style in Eastern European Emerging Markets, International Marketing Review, 18, 3, 270-286.

Marcoux Jean-Sébastien (1995), L’influence de l’origine de fabrication de produits sur les préférences des consommateurs polonais, 11ème Congrès de l’Association Française de Marketing, Reims, ESC, 73-95.

Mendel Dorothea (1991), Comparaison des cultures allemande et française et implications marketing, Recherche et Applications en Marketing, 6, 3, 31-75.

Moriarty Sandra, Duncan Thomas (1990), Global Advertising : Issues and Practices, Current Issues and Research in Advertising, 13, 2, 313-341.

Nasierowski W. (1996), Emerging Patterns of Reformations in Central Europe: the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, Journal of East-West Business, 1, 143-171.

Okazaki Shintaro (2004), Does Culture Matter?: Identifying Cross-national Dimensions in Japanese Multinationals’ Product-based Websites, Electronic Markets, 14, 1, 58-69.

Quelch John A., Hoff E.J. (1986), Customizing Global Marketing, Harvard Business Review, 64, May/June, 59-68.

Raju P. S. (1995), Consumer Behavior in Global Markets: the ABCD Paradigm and its Application to Eastern Europe and the Third World, Journal of Consumer Marketing, 12, 5, 37-56.

Resnik Alan, Stern Bruce L. (1977), An Analysis of Information Content in Television Advertising, Journal of Marketing, January, 50-53.

Roostals Ilmar (1963), Standardization of Advertising for Western Europe, Journal of Marketing, October, 15-20.

Solberg Carl Arthur (2002), The Perennial Issue of Adaptation or Standardization of International Marketing Communication: Organizational Contengencies and Performance, Journal of International Marketing, 10, 3, 1-21.

Taylor Charles R. (2002), What Is Wrong with International Advertising Research?, Journal of Advertising Research, Nov.-Dec., 48-54.

Vida Irena, Fairhurst Ann (1999), Factors Underlying the Phenomenon of Consumer Ethnocentricity: Evidence from Four Central European Countries, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 9, 4, October, 321-337.

Walliser Björn et Moreau Fabienne (2000), Comparaison du style français et allemand de la publicité télévisée, Décisions Marketing, 19, janvier-avril, 75-84.

Wind Yoram, Douglas S.P. (1986), The Myth of Globalization, Journal of Consumer Marketing, 3, Spring, 23-26.

Whitelock J., Chung D. (1989), Cross-Cultural Advertising : An Empirical Study, International Journal of Advertising, 8, 291-310.

Zandpour Fred, Chang Cypress, Catalano Joelle (1992), Stories, Symbols, and Straitght Talk : a Comparative Analysis of French, Taiwanese, and U.S. TV Commercials, Journal of Advertising Research, january-february, 32, 1, 25-38.

Zandpour Fred, Harich Katrin (1996), Think and Feel Country Clusters: A New Approach to International Advertising Standardization, International Journal of Advertising, 15, 4, 325-345.


Appendix  1A:   Observation grid

 

A- General Information (you can tick two or more cases if necessary)

1- Category of product

 

r1  GOODS ð

 

 

r2 SERVICE ð

 

r1  Cosmetic, perfume, health, hygiene      r4  Hi-Fi/sound/image                                                                      r7  Food & liquid

r2  Wearing, shoes, bags, jewellery,…       r5  Automotive, motorbikes                                                                     r8  Cleaning

r3  Computer, phone, office automation     r6  Household appliance                                                                     r9  Book, magazine, music

r10  Other goods

 

r11  Bank and Insurance            r13  Tourism & transport         r15  Institutional

r12  Telecommunications           r14  Distribution                      r16  Entertainment              r17  Other service

2- Name of the brand if any

Write in capital letters:

 

3- Position of the brand name if it is there

r1  Middle of the ad              r2  Top of the ad                     r3  Bottom of the ad

4- Size of the advertising

r1 Less than ¼ page             r2 ¼ page                 r3 ½ page                r4 1 page            r5 2 pages or more

5- Colour

r1  Colour                           r2  Black and white

 

B- Image (you can tick two or more cases if necessary)

1- Type of image

r1  Photo                     r2  Drawing

2- The product advertised is

r1  Showed in the ad                          r2 Not showed in the ad

2b- If yes, the product is showed on:

r1 At least a quarter of the advertisement                      r2  Less than a quarter

3- The environment is

r1  Mountain                r2  Urban                        r3  Sea                   r4  Countryside

r5  Indoor                    r6  Other                         r7  Indeterminate environment

4- In the image is there animal(s)?

r1 Yes                          r2 No

5- Are there people in the image?

r1 None              r2 One               r3 Two or Three                  r4 Four or Five                      r5 Six and more

 

If there is one or more people, answer to the following questions, if not, go directly to grid C

 

5b- Sex of people:

r1  Male(s)                 r2  Female(s)              r3  Indeterminate

5c- Age of people

r1  Child  r2  Adult                   r3  Elderly person                   r4  Indeterminate

5d- Race

r1  White                    r2  Black                    r3  Yellow                  r4 Other               r5  Indeterminate

5e- Type of person

r1  Celebrity person              r2  Unknown person           r3  Not sure (I don’t know if that’s a celebrity)

5f- Nudity

r1  Naked person (breast or back visible)                          r2  No naked person

 

C- Information (you can tick two or more cases if necessary)

1- Appearance of text in the ad (tick as many options as you have found)

 

r1 Name of the brand

r2 Slogan

r3 Explanatory comments up to 3 lines

r4 Explanatory comments four lines and more

2- The argumentation is based on (tick as many options as you have found)

r1  There is not a written argumentation (only the name of the brand)

r2  Symbolic information

r3  Description or use of the product

r4  Comparison (talk about a named competitor or implicit named competitor)

r5  Testimonial

r6  Promotional offer (special price, 2 in 1, game, …)

r7  Other type of argumentation

3- Type of information (tick as many options as you have found)

r1  Functional or technical features (focused on the utilisation of the product or its characteristics)

r2  Price or value or similar information (e.g. interest rate for a bank)

r3  Environmental features (focused on ecological information)

r4  Nothing of these information

4- Number of characteristics

If there is information about functional or technical features, the number of distinctive characteristics are:

r1  One or two           r2  Three or four        r3  Five or six            r4  More than six

5- If you have to judge this advertisement, you will say

Tick 0 if absolutely not

Tick 5 if neither yes nor no

Tick 10 if absolutely yes

a- This ad evokes family values                                     r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

b- This ad is nonconformist                                           r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

c- This ad incites to the adventure                                 r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

d- This ad is based on the efficiency of the product      r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

e- This ad is focused on the importance of safety         r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

f- This ad shows the importance of the social status     r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

g- This ad evokes tenderness values                              r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

h- This ad is focused on the bargain you could do        r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

i- This ad is erotic                                                          r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

j- This ad is humorous                                                    r0  r1  r2  r3  r4  r5  r6  r7  r8  r9  r10 

 


 

Appendix 2:  List of reviews

List of French magazines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Type of magazine

Title

Periodicity

Date

Price
(Euro)

Pages

Nb pub
 tot

Circulation

Ad rates
 2005 1p

CPM
(euro)

Business

Capital

Monthly

March 05

2.5

148

31

361 000

37 500

104

Business

Challenges

Semimonthly

March 05

2.5

148

23

234 000

16 400

70

Men’s

Entrevue

Monthly

March 05

3

124

27

590 000

28 900

49

Men’s

Maximal

Monthly

March 05

3

124

19

147 000

13 900

95

Senior

Notre Temps

Monthly

March 05

3.1

174

76

1 029 000

31 500

31

Senior

Pleine Vie

Monthly

March 05

3

168

48

1 042 000

26 400

25

Teenager

Fan 2

Bimonthly

March 05

3.5

92

15

298 000

 

 

Teenager

Star Club

Monthly

March 05

2.7

104

24

305 000

16 300

53

Women’s

Elle

Weekly

March 05

2.3

158

53

351 000

26 000

74

Women’s

Femme Actuelle

Weekly

March 05

1.2

104

34

1 346 000

37 650

28

List of Czech magazines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Managers

Ekonom

Weeklies

Feb 05

1.17

66

29

23 171

5 933

256

Managers

Euro + E8

Weeklies

Feb 05

1.17

124

24

24 414

5 633

231

Men

Maxim

Monthlies

Feb 05

1.63

99

21

36 342

5 833

161

Men

Playboy

Monthlies

Feb 05

3.3

119

16

9 097

5 167

568

Senior

Nedělní Blesk

Weeklies

March 05

0.4

47

34

342 685

9 467

28

Senior

TV magazín

Weeklies

March 05

0.27

47

25

584 301

11 667

20

Teenager

Bravo

Fortnightlies

Feb 05

0.65

47

9

90 362

8 667

96

Teenager

Top dívky

Monthlies

Feb 05

1.3

83

23

60 573

3 833

63

Women

Elle

Monthlies

Feb 05

2.83

179

99

43 776

7 000

160

Women

Svět ženy

Monthlies

Feb 05

0.4

74

38

296 201

5 833

20

 

 



[1]- Note that before 1989, the socialist economies were more concentrated on the offer rather than on the demand, the behaviour of the consumer wasn’t useful (Nasierowski, 1996), this could contribute to the tardiness noticed at present.

 

[2]- Principle characteristics of the two countries:

       - France: $ 1,600 billion gross (Gross Domestic Product); 58.5 million people

       - Czech Republic: $ 161 billion  (GDP); 10.2 million people

 

[3] For the items taken from the Albers-Miller and Gelb article (1996), the sign “+” signifies that the authors have found the relation between the measure and the dimension of Hoefstede vary positively, the sign “-“ signifies the inverse.

 

[4]- Please note that they also exclude adverts with the requests for employment or for real estate. We also excluded them because they aren’t true ads proposing permanent products.

 

[5]- The authors propose that instead of looking for the winning tools of a complete adaptation or a total standardization (which is, without doubt, a fantasy), it would be better to try to understand the benefits taken from the standardized forms applied.