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A Vietnamese– American Cross Cultural Study On Cultural Reflection Of Television Advertisements Vu Thi Thanh Huyen 051 E8 Thesis Content

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A Vietnamese– American Cross Cultural Study On Cultural Reflection Of Television Advertisements   Vu Thi Thanh Huyen  051 E8  Thesis Content A Vietnamese– American Cross Cultural Study On Cultural Reflection Of Television Advertisements Vu Thi Thanh Huyen 051 E8 Thesis Content Document Transcript

  • VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL SUDIES ENGLISH DEPARTMENT ………………… VŨ THỊ THANH HUYỀN A VIETNAMESE– AMERICAN CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY ON CULTURAL REFLECTION OF TELEVISION ADVERTISEMENTS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF ART (TEFL) Hanoi, May 2009
  • VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL SUDIES ENGLISH DEPARTMENT ………………… VŨ THỊ THANH HUYỀN A VIETNAMESE– AMERICAN CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY ON CULTURAL REFLECTION OF TELEVISION ADVERTISEMENTS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF ART (TEFL) SUPERVISOR: ĐÀO THU TRANG, MA
  • Hanoi, May 2009 ACCEPTANCE PAGE I hereby state that I: Vũ Thị Thanh Huyền, group 39E8, being a candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (TEFL) accept the requirements of the College relating to the retention and use of Bachelor’s Graduation Paper deposited in the library In terms of these conditions, I agree that the origin of my paper deposited in the library should be accessible for the purposes of study and research, in accordance with the normal conditions established by the librarian for the care, loan or reproduction of the paper Signature Date
  • ACKNOWLEGEMENTS First of all, I would like to take this chance to express the deepest gratitude to Mrs. Dao Thu Trang MA., my supervisor for her great encouragement, constructive guidance and precious comment, without which, this study could hardly been accomplished My gratitude also goes to all teachers of English Department who have provided me with precious knowledge and experience to pursue this scientific research I am indebted to my friends, Nguyen Duc Cuong and Jacob Kohl, who are now studying at Omaha University, Nebraska, USA for their invaluable assistance in the data collection process and sharing materials related to the subject under-research in this study I also would like to give my special thanks to both Vietnamese and international friends who gave me useful suggestions in the various ways of collecting Vietnamese and American advertisements. Their support is greatly appreciated My final heart-felt thanks to my family, without whose moral support, unfailing love and encouragement, I could not have got this far
  • ABSTRACT Nowadays, under the influence of the explosive growth of means of mass media, we are exposed to more and more different kinds of advertising appeals which are aimed at influencing our attitudes towards a wide range of consumer products and behaviors. It is also a fact that advertisements have a powerful cultural function since they not only sell a product, but promote “identities” and “life-styles” as well. Due to such increasing importance of advertising in today’s world, it is absolutely necessary to be aware of the reflection of culture and custom in advertisements. The study focuses on the reflection of the American and Vietnamese cultures in their television advertisements. To investigate that cultural reflection of Vietnamese and American commercial, 50 advertisements of each cultural group were collected. The total number of 100 commercials was then analyzed carefully in a systematic way with the application of statistical and interpretive methods. The study shows remarkable insight into the cultural reflection in television commercials of two cultural groups’ as well as the marked similarities and differences between their cultural values. Finally, the research offers some suggestions for bridging the cultural gap in perceiving American and Vietnamese advertisements, which
  • is expected to be useful for the study of advertising strategy for the markets of America and Vietnam TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements ………………………………………………………..ii Abstract……………………………………………………………………iii Table of contents…………………………………………………………..iv List of abbreviations, figures and tables…………………………………...ix CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION.................................................................1 1.1. Rationale .............................................................................................. ..1 1.2. Aims of the study ..................................................................................1 1.3. Significance of the study........................................................................2 1.4. Method of the study ...............................................................................2 1.5. Scope of the study .................................................................................3 1.6. Organization ........................................................................................ ..4 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW......................................................5 2.1. An overview of culture ..........................................................................5
  • 2.1.1 Definitions of culture........................................................................5 2.1.2 Overview of American and Vietnamese cultural values ..................6 2.1.2.1 American cultural values..........................................................6 2.1.2.1.1. Individualism............................................................7 2.1.2.1.2. Self- reliance.............................................................7 2.1.2.1.3. Idealizing what is practical ......................................8 2.1.2.1.4. Competition...............................................................8 2.1.2.1.5. Progress and future orientation................................9 2.1.2.1.6. Directness.................................................................9 2.1.2.2 Vietnamese cultural values......................................................10 2.1.2.2.1 Strong sense of community .....................................10 2.1.2.2.2 Allegiance to the family...........................................11 2.1.2.2.3 Wishing to live in harmony with nature and people ....................................................................................11 2.1.2.2.4. Adaptability.............................................................12 2.1.2.2.5. Indirectness.............................................................12 2.2. An overview of advertising, advertisement and television Advertisement.............................................................................................13 2.2.1. An overview of Advertising..........................................................13 2.2.1.1 Definition of advertising ........................................................13 2.2.1.2 The impact of advertising ......................................................14 2.2.1.2.1. The economic impact..............................................15 2.2.1.2.2. The social impact ...................................................16 2.2.1.2.3 The political impact ................................................18 2.2.1.3. The classification of advertising..........................................18 2.2.1.3.1. Objective- based classification...............................19 2.2.1.3.2. Media-based classification.....................................20
  • 2.2.2. An overview of advertisement ....................................................21 2.2.3 Television advertisements ............................................................22 2.2.3.1 The history of television advertisements.............................22 2.2.3.2. The elements of television advertisements ........................22 2.3. Culture and advertising .......................................................................23 2.3.1. The relationship between culture and advertising .......................23 2.3.1.1. Importance of culture to advertising.................................23 2.3.1.2. Importance of advertising to culture.................................24 2.3.1.3. Why can advertisements reflect cultural characteristics?...............................................................................26 2.3.2. Cultural values and advertising appeals ......................................28 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY .............................................................31 3.1. Introduction .........................................................................................31 3.2. Research method .................................................................................31 3.3. Selection of subjects.............................................................................32 3.4. Procedures of data collection...............................................................33 3.5. Procedures of data analysis..................................................................35 3.6. Conclusion ...........................................................................................36 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND CONCLUSION .......................................37 4.1 Introduction ..........................................................................................37 4.2. Findngs ................................................................................................37 4.2.1. The frequency of advertising appeals used in American TV ads ...................................................................................................37 4.2.2. The frequency of advertising appeals used in Vietnamese
  • TV ads ...................................................................................................39 4.2.3. The comparison between the frequency of advertising appeals used in American TV commercials and that in Vietnamese ones .........40 4.3. Implications .........................................................................................43 4.3.1. Realization of typical cultural values and characteristics reflected in American TV advertisemnts ..............................................44 4.3.1.1. The individualism .............................................................44 4.3.1.2 The self- reliance................................................................45 4.3.1.3. The directness ...................................................................46 4.3.1.4. The competition ................................................................46 4.3.1.5. The attitude towards sex ...................................................48 4.3.1.6. The attitude towards nature...............................................48 4.3.2. Realization of typical cultural values and characteristics reflected in Vietnamese TV advertisements ..........................................49 4.3.2.1. The strong sense of community ........................................49 4.3.2.2. The alliance to the family and tradition-orientation.........50 4.3.2.3. The wishing to live in harmony with nature .....................52 4.3.2.4. The indirectness.................................................................53 4.3.2.5. The attitude towards sex....................................................53 4.3.2. Comparison of cultural values and characteristics reflected in American and Vietnamese advertisements ........................54 4.3.2.1. The similarities .................................................................54 4.3.2.2. The differences ..................................................................55 4.4. Application ..........................................................................................57 4.4.1. Suggestions for bridging the cultural gap in perceiving American and Vietnamese advertisements............................................57
  • 4.4.2. The implication for the study of advertising strategy .................59 4.4.3. The use of television advertisements in ESL classes ..................60 4.5. Conclusion ...........................................................................................62 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION....................................................................63 5.1 Introduction...........................................................................................63 5.2. Summary .............................................................................................63 5.3. Contribution of the study.....................................................................64 5.3. Limitations of the study.......................................................................64 5.4. Suggestions for further study...............................................................65 REFERENCES ...........................................................................................66 APPENCDICES ............................................................................................i Appendix 1........................................................................................i Appendix 2.......................................................................................v
  • LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS, FIGURES AND TABLES List of abbreviations Ad: Advertisement Ads: Advertisements TV: Television List of figures Figure 1: The proportion of advertising appeals utilized in American TV Ads Figure 2: The proportion of advertising appeals utilized in Vietnamese TV Ads Figure 3: The proportion of advertising appeals utilized in American and Vietnamese TV Ads List of tables Table 1: The proportion of advertising appeals utilized in American TV ads
  • Table 2: The proportion of advertising appeals utilized in Vietnamese TV ads Table 3: The Frequency of Advertising Appeals Utilized in Vietnamese and American TV Ads CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1. Rationale Marshall Mcluhan (1911-1981) pointed out: “advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century”. Having a long history of development, advertising, in fact, is considered not only one of the most effective marketing means but also an important part of our social and cultural life. Along with the great advances in technological world, television advertisement has been identified as the dominant among advertising types. Also as the international advertising has considerably increased, it is necessary to be properly aware of the relationship between commercials and their cultures as well as how different cultures can be reflected in their television advertisements. All the aforementioned reasons have encouraged the researcher to work on this study in the hope of gaining insights into the cultural
  • reflection in American and Vietnamese commercials through the comparison between them. 1.2. Aims of the study Firstly, the researcher would like to explore how the typical values and characteristics of Vietnamese and American cultures are reflected in their television advertisements. Secondly, a comparison between American and Vietnamese cultures will be drawn from the analysis of their commercial advertisements. Finally, a cross cultural understanding between two countries is attained on the ground of the above results.  Research questions: 1.What are the typical values and characteristics of Vietnamese culture and how they are reflected in Vietnamese television ads? 2.What are the typical values and characteristics of American culture and how they are reflected in American television ads? 3. Are there any differences or similarities between the values and characteristics of the American and Vietnamese culture reflected in their television ads? 1.3. Significance of the study Once having been completed, this study would give decent benefits. On the first place, the research can draw out some similarities and differences between American and Vietnamese cultures through their commercial advertisements; consequently, it can helpfully contribute to mutual understanding between the two cultures in general and their television advertisements in particular. Moreover, the result of this study is
  • expected to serve as noteworthy reference for creating effective television advertisements when it comes to the marketing strategies. 1.4. Method of the study • Subject of the research The subject of the study is 50 American television advertisements and 50 Vietnamese ones. • Data collection instruments The type of my research is literature review, which is mainly based on secondary sources, so it is expected that that most of the materials will be collected from various sources, such as : the relevant previous studies, books, articles; the opinions of advertising specialists, teachers , family, friends and the researcher my self. The following methods will be applied: + Consultation with the supervisor, specialists in relevant fields + Data collecting + Information synthesis + Data analysis + Personal observation • Data analysis The collected data will be processed with the application of both statistical and interpretive methods. The statistical method is supposed to analyze, synthesize and present the data in forms of graphs and tables while the interpretive one will help to discuss the results. Procedures: The researcher intends to follow the steps below to collect and analyze the data
  •  Step 1: select 50 popular American commercial advertisements and 50 Vietnamese ones  Step 2: analyze these advertisements to find out the typical values and characteristic of the two cultures  Step 3: gather the analyzed information and present them in forms of graphs and tables  Step 4: draw out the conclusion 1.5. Scope of the study The main focus of this study is on “the American and Vietnamese cultural values and characteristics reflected in television advertisements”. This means that the study covers only the television advertisements, not any other types of advertisements 1.6. Organization Chapter 1: Introduction- describes the research’s rationale, aims, objectives, significance and the scope of the study Chapter 2: Literature review- lays the theoretical foundation for the research Chapter 3: Methodology- details the methods that have been used and the procedures that have been followed by the researcher Chapter 4: Result and discussion Chapter 5: Conclusion: ends the study by summarizing its main points as well as finding out the limitation and suggestions for the further studies The following parts are references and appendix
  • CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1. An overview of culture 2.1.1. Definitions of culture There have been so far various definitions of culture by different researchers. According to Encarta Dictionary (2004), culture is “the customary beliefs, social forms and material traits of racial, religious or social group”. As Edward Burnett Tyler wrote from the perspective of social anthropology in the UK in 1871, “culture or civilization, taken in its wide sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other compatibilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”.
  • Meanwhile, Spencer-Oatey (2000) offered a simpler definition on the concept of culture, that is, “ a fuzzy set of attitudes, beliefs, behavioral norms and basic assumption and values that are shared by a group of people, and that influence each member’s behaviors and his/ her interpretations of other people’s behaviors” ( p. 18). In Vietnam, Nguyen Quang, PhD also mentioned this issue. From his point of view, “culture is something which was and has been created through the history of human development. Culture is not static and is always changing. The beliefs and values we hold now are not completely the same as those held in the pre- historics of medieval times, or 100 year ago”( Nguyen Quang, 2001). The definition that is the most suitable for this scope of this study is cited by Dr Nguyen Quang (p. 3) “culture is shared background ( for example, national, ethnic, religious) resulting from a common language and communication style, customs, beliefs, attitudes, and values”. 2.1.2. An overview of American and Vietnamese cultural values It is said that most cultural values are presented in all communities. However, their proportion and manifestation are the very bases to define each community’s “identity”. As the objects of the study are American and Vietnamese values reflected in American and Vietnamese television advertisements, an insight into general American and Vietnamese values is essential. The literature in this area is rather immense; therefore, merely a brief review of the most relevant items to the discussion part is mentioned in this study. 2.1.2.1. American cultural values Being the home to a variety of immigrants from different races all over the world, America is well-known for its diverse culture. Immigrants
  • from each country have brought along with them the peculiarity of their own culture, diversifying American native one. America, on one hand, is said to be “a melting-pot” where a various racial and ethnic groups have been combined together. “American is God’s crucible, the great melting- pot where all races of Europe are melting and reforming Germans and French , Irishmen and Englishmen, Jew and Russian into Crucible with you all! God is making the American” (Crandall, Datesman, Kearny, 1997). On the other hand, American is regarded as “a salad bowl” where the various groups have remained somewhat distinct and different from one another, making up a richly diverse American culture. American values are considered “what among all of its cultural diversity gives America its national character” (Cao, Hoang, M. Nguyen, Phung, T. Nguyen, 2005, An Introduction to American Studies, p.64). 2.1.2.1.1. Individualism There have been many definitions of individualism since its birth “ Individualism is the right to pursue one’s own goal, interest, in a society that encourages open competition, even conflict and that is largely free from collective constraints on individual citizen” ( Lipset,1968,p.p 57-58). As cited in dictionary.com “Individualism in the broad sense is a cultural concept referring to culture that place high emphasis in the individual’s goal in comparison to the goals of group and in the narrow sense, is the belief in the primary importance of the individual and in the virtues of self reliance, personal independence” Studies made by a famous Dutch professor named Geert Hofstede have shown that of all the cultures analyzed, American culture possesses the highest level of individualism which permeates many aspects of
  • American society. It is obvious that individual goals are considered more important than those of in-group, and as a result, in order to achieve the personal goal, it is possible to break with the in-group. “Americans are trained from very early in their life to consider themselves as separate individuals who are responsible for their own situation in life and their own destinies, they are not trained to see group, tribe, nation or any other collectivity” ( Gary Althen, Amanda R. Doran, Susan J. Samaria,2003, p.5) 2.1.2.1.2. Self- reliance De Tocqueville observed the American’s belief in self-reliance nearly 200 years ago in the 1930s: “They own nothing to any man, they expect nothing from any man; they acquire the habit of always considering themselves as standing alone, and they are apt to imagine that their whole destiny is in their own hands” American believe they should take care of themselves, solve their own problems and “stand on their own feet and one is never supposed to be dependent on a group” (Hofstede, 1991, p.50). Americans believe that if they rely too much on any support, they may lose some of their freedom to do what they want. In other words, individuals must learn to stand on their own two feet, otherwise, they risk losing freedom 2.1.2.1.3. Idealizing what is practical Within the context of frontier experience, survival experiences explain the American tendency to idealize whatever is quick and practical. In America, it is believed that what works is what counts. “This can-do spirit is something Americans are proud of today. They like to think they are
  • natural-born do it yourselfers” (Cao, Hoang, M. Nguyen, Phung, T. Nguyen, 2005, An Introduction to American Studies, p.66). Americans, thus, tend to be optimistic to any problem with the thought that they can find solution to any trouble 2.1.2.1.4. Competition Competition in America is seen as a race in which a person must run the race, competing with others in order to achieve success. At the same time, it is Americans’ belief that everyone shares equal chance to succeed, and then it is every person’s duty to try. “Learning to compete successfully is part of growing up in the United State” and “ The pressure of competition in the life of an American begins in childhood and continues until retirement from work” (Hoang, Cao, M. Nguyen, Phung, T. Nguyen, 2007, p.73). That is also the reason why there are many strong programs of competition sports provided by the schools and community groups. “People who like to compete and are more successful than others are honored by being called winners. On the other hand, those who do not like to compete and are not successful when they try are often dishonored by being called losers. This is especially true for American men and it is becoming truer and truer for women.” (Hoang, Cao, M. Nguyen, Phung, T. Nguyen, 2007, p73) That pressure of competition always makes American energetic. Anyone who does not succeed in competing- for any reason- do not seem to fit into the American life line as well as those who compete successfully 2.1.2.1.5. Progress and Future – Orientation The idea of progress is directly associated with the value of freedom. The desire to progress by making use of opportunities is important to
  • Americans, who tend to look forward to the future but not to the past. As a matter of fact, their children are often asked what they are going to do when they grow up and adult are asked about their future plans 2.1.2.1.6. Directness It is widely believed that in the United State, the individuals should speak their mind and express themselves openly to pursue the goal of communication. Direct style is, hence, prevailing, which means that “Americans choose to speak directly their opinion” (Huu Ngoc, 2006, p.156). The language is often used in straightforward and precise ways and emphasizes speaker’s ability to express his intention. Due to directness, Americans seem to have little stress on face-saving; therefore, they are not afraid of criticizing others As stated by Gary Althen, Amanda R. Doran and Susan J. Szmanzia, American usually assume that conflicts and disagreements are best settled by means of forthright discussion among the people involve. Also, this feature in communication helps explain why there are many American expressions exemplify this tendency, say: “don’t beat around the bush”, “get to the point”, “let’s get down to business”, etc. 2.1.2.2. Vietnamese cultural values Being deeply rooted in Confucianism, the Vietnamese culture is solidly founded on the structure of family where the Filial Piety is respected and followed by members of the family over generations. Historically, the culture of Vietnam has been influenced by different cultures: first by the Chinese culture during the one-thousand year Chinese Empire; then by French Colony of one hundred years. Nevertheless, the typical values and characteristics of Vietnamese culture have not faded away but have been preserved and enriched in our societies of all periods.
  • It is hardly possible to give a thorough description of Vietnam’s four- thousand-year-old culture; correspondingly, only the most outstanding features which have been acknowledged in earlier studies will be briefly examined in the following sections 2.1.2.2.1. Strong sense of community Vietnamese live closely to community and have the group-oriented spirit, which leads the fact that we live in tightly tied relationship with family, neighbors and society. “Strong sense of community is felt by all Vietnamese” (Ellis, 1995, p.85). In practice, there are always homogeneous residential areas offering support to newly arrived immigrants as well as any member when they need help and then close connection is established among them as a result It is the agricultural activities that attributed this attachment to Vietnamese. The water-rice culture made people cooperate and work together to bring in a good harvest. Consequently, the collectivism prioritizes the community rather than individual. 2.1.2.2.2. Allegiance to the family and tradition-orientation It is undeniable that one of the most important factors in the value system of the Vietnamese is the family. Each family is regarded as one cell-body of the whole society as well as the center of the Vietnamese’s lives. With reference to Ellis (1995, p.85) “As in many parts of Asia, Vietnamese life revolves around the families”. Under the effects of the principles of collective and mutual responsibilities, every individual is expected to make all of their efforts to be the pride of his family. The Vietnamese child is taught from early childhood to do things not only for his own sake but for his family’ honor, harmony and welfare as well. The child is supposed to be grateful to his parents for the debt of
  • birth, rearing and education. For this reason, he is supposed to think of his ancestor and parents first so as to make sacrifices for their sake, and to love and care for them, especially in their old age. Any Vietnamese man who lacks such filial piety is looked down upon not only by his own family but also by the community (Mac Giao, 2002). Vietnamese also live according to tradition and obey customs and habits strictly. Added to this, Vietnamese often look back to their ancestors’ achievements and consider them as the motivation and example to follow 2.1.2.2.3. Wishing to live in harmony with nature and people With the origin as an agricultural country whose production method used to be underdeveloped, Vietnamese used to depend much on the nature to survive, hence, their wish to live in harmony with the nature is easy to understand. As recommended by Ellis (1995, p.59), “social harmony is always preferred”. In other words, one must avoid extremes in communication, daily life activities and social interaction to ensure physical safety and adhere to the moral imperative of keeping one’s dignity unimpaired. It is also a fact that Vietnamese always try to get on well with each other and put great importance on face-saving and on what others may think of them. 2.1.2.2.4. Adaptability Adaptability enables Vietnamese to turn their action into the reality like one saying “Honor when honor is due” (đi với bụt mặc áo cà sa, đi với ma mặc áo giấy). This characteristic is considered as one of the strong points of Vietnamese as they can accept the current situation and try to adapt themselves to it rather than day-dreaming (Mac Giao, 2002, section 8, para.4)
  • 2.1.2.2.5. Indirectness Rooted in the high context culture where people have close connections over a long period of time, many aspects of Vietnamese cultural behavior are not made explicit. Therefore, Vietnamese people seem to talk around a subject and never get to the point (Tran Ngoc Them, 1997, p.158) Also, Vietnamese believes that people should consider one another’s feelings when deciding what to say. In other words, how to convey information is more important than the information itself. By and large, Vietnam and the United States have their own cultural values which hardly remain unchanged in our contemporary society where every value system is open to influences from and spreads its own influences to other value systems (Gudykunst, TingToomey, and Nishida 1996). This phenomenon occurs because of modern communication technologies and increasingly interconnected global economic systems. The practice of global advertising, for example, in conjunction with Western (and especially U.S.) media and entertainment content, influences other cultures (e.g., Al-Olayan and Karande 2000; Donthu 1998). As a result, the debates over the standardization or specification of international advertising messages in different countries around the world have added great momentum to research in cultural values and advertising. On the same theme but more specifically, this study is aimed to explore the cultural values conveyed in television commercials in U.S. and Vietnamese television advertising.
  • 2.2. An overview of advertising, advertisement and television advertisement 2.2.1. An overview of Advertising 2.2.1.1 Definition of advertising Terminologically, “advertising” has been defined in different ways. In the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, advertising is defined as “the act of describing a product or service publicly in order to persuade people to buy or use it”. Longman Dictionary (1999) provides a simpler definition on the concept of advertising that is “the activity or business of advertising things on television, in newspaper, etc.” According to Bill Max (1908-1994), a prominent figure in advertising industry “Advertising is the techniques and practices used to bring products, services, opinions or causes to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way towards what is advertised” (Encyclopedia Britannica Inc, 1996) From the concepts of advertising above, it may be seen that there are two tendencies in defining advertising. One refers advertising to a means of marketing solely for the commercial purpose which is selling products. The other appears more general to indicate advertising as a form of informative persuasion in which the advertisers try to influence the audience’s opinion and even lead them to act as they wish On the whole, although advertising may be looked at from different aspects, it is widely known as “a form of communication that typically attempts to persuade potential or current customers to purchase or to consume more of a particular brand of product or service” (Advertising, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved February, 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising#External_links )
  • 2.2.1.2 The impact of advertising Nowadays, advertising has adapted to a large number of media forms. We see them as we watch television, glance through newspapers or magazines, or when we go along roads or highway. It is estimated that advertisements take up more half of the space in most daily newspapers and magazines. Also they clutter websites on the Internet and even routinely interrupt our favorite T.V and cable programs. With such an intense bombardment, advertising undoubtedly makes a tremendous impact on every country’s economy, society, culture and political system. 2.2.1.2.1. Economic impact As a matter of fact, serving economic purposes is one of the first and foremost reasons for advertising coming into existence. In other word, it refers to the advertising’s effective contribution to the market economy by representing a wide range of consumer goods to the public. Also it is undeniable that advertising obviously has positive effect on the economy since it strengthens the economy by promoting the sales of goods and services. Added to this, advertising can create growing demand for new products; as a result, more profits are made and more employment opportunities are given to the labor market. Moreover, by stimulating the improvement of new products, advertising also helps increase competition, which is believed to lead to lower prices, consequently, benefiting consumers and the economy as a whole. By inducing consumers to purchase goods and services, advertising enables manufacturers to sell their products in larger quantity. The increased volume of sales brings companies chances to produce and sell at lower prices. Accordingly,
  • advertising, at the same time, provides customers with more benefits by offering goods at lower prices. Last but not least, advertising is regarded as the communicative bridge between the sellers and buyers. Thanks to advertising, consumers are informed of the functional capabilities of the brands as well as the values and benefits they can gain from the purchase of their goods and services. It is a fact that in an increasingly competitive marketplace, greater emphasis is placed on brand image development. For that reason, advertising plays a crucial part in developing brand image, whether at the corporate, retail or product level. In the bottom line, with an enormous contribution to the economic development, advertising is certainly viewed as an integral component of the modern economy nowadays. 2.2.1.2.2. Social impact “In a mobile society, commercial products with familiar brand names provide people with some sense of identity and continuity in their live” - Michael Schudson (1984:165) Obviously, advertising can have wide-ranging repercussions on a society. Some critics suggest that advertising can create a consumer culture in which buying exciting new products becomes the foundation of the society's values, pleasures, and goals. As advertising gets more and more pervasive, its social influences have become dramatic and intensive. Cohen (2005) has shown that in the United State, by the time a person reaches the age of twenty –one, he or she has been exposed to from one million to two million advertising messages (p. 12). Naturally, these advertisements are expected to reflect as well as shape new trends in societies of any ages. It is undeniable that advertising has certain role to play in determining our social identity, defining our gender role and shaping our attitude on health, success, lifestyle, etc. For example, watching commercial advertisements
  • on TV, we can be greatly influenced when it comes to making choice of what to buy or how much to spend. You may wonder whether you should give your husband a pair of Nike or Adidas running shoes, buy your baby Enfagrow A+ or Milmax Mama while they all are advertised as the high quality products. It is also true that the young generations tend to be easily affected by advertisements as they see television advertising as just another form of programming and react uncritically to its messages. For instance, they may imitate the actions or even consider them new and modern lifestyle, fashion or viewpoints to follow. There has also been concern about the way in which adolescent girls respond to advertising that features beautiful, thin models. And in fact, many adolescent girls are unduly influenced by this standard of beauty, hence, become dissatisfied with their own bodies, and may develop eating disorders in pursuit of a thin figure. Not only are social trends under the great influence of advertising but social messages are also conveyed to some extents by the advertising. Advertisements with beautiful images and healthy content often embody a nice dream about a better life with better citizens. The advertisement for Omo showing the image of children’s willingness to help and support others without being afraid of dirt and dust is a typical example. In conclusion, advertising is seen with both negative and positive influences upon society, depending on the functions and implementations of numerous advertising. Beside such functions mentioned above, advertising nowadays has gone far beyond a means of conveying information about product to consumers as it also plays an important role as an influential form of social communication in our society. Through advertisements, marketers and advertisers generate system of meaning, prestige and identity by associating their products with certain lifestyle, symbolic values and
  • pleasure. In other words, the category of information within advertising has been expanded to including not just functional product information, but social symbolic information as well. It is in this sense that advertisements function as “communicators” and “satisfiers”- they inform and mediate social relation, telling individuals what they must buy to become fashionable, popular and successful while inducing them to buy particular products to reach these goals. On the whole, advertising has made an extensive impact on our society in many aspects. Coming from our normal life, advertising links closely to the real life and its social influences always exist as the basic for its reflection of cultural values. 2.2.1.2.3. Political impact Not only are the economic and social fields unavoidably under the great impact of advertising but the politics is also influenced. For example, in the United State, advertising has been now a major component of political campaign and therefore has big influence on the democratic process itself. It is estimated that more than $467 million was spent on election campaigns and that amount of spending placed political advertising in the ranks of the country’s thirty leading advertisers that year. (Cohen, 2005). Undeniably, advertising is an effective means enabling candidates to convey their positions on important issues and to acquaint voters with their accomplishments and personalities. Especially, television advertising is considered to be inevitable for candidates running for national or state office on the basis that it can reach so many people at once. Candidates can also use advertising to respond effectively to the charges of their
  • opponents. Conversely, political advertising gives voters better chances to identify their would-be leaders, which leads to their wiser and more precise decisions. In conclusion, advertising plays a very important role in our life. It touches multifarious aspects of life. Thus, it is quite reasonable to understand why advertisements can reflect cultural values and this will be discussed further in the following part of the paper. 2.2.1.3. The classification of advertising There have been so far numerous ways to have advertising categorized, but in the most common sense, advertising can be classified according to the objective- based classification and the media- based classification. 2.2.1.3.1. Objective- based classification Depending on this criterion, advertising can be subdivided into three categories: commercial advertising, non- commercial advertising, and institutional advertising. Commercial advertising This kind of advertising is aimed at selling products which may come in the form of goods or services to get profits. Non-commercial advertising Advertising is also used by institutions and organizations that are non- profit in nature. As a matter of fact, this form of advertising is made not to search for profits, but to build the aware or seek for responses and sound behaviors of the community about social problems, such as AIDS, environmental protection, social evils, etc. Institutional advertising
  • The advertising campaign of this type seeks to create a favorable impression of a business or institution without trying to sell a specific product. A for-profit business has other reasons for improving its reputation rather than trying to sell a particular product as in some cases, a large company may sell a diversity of products. As a result, there is more value and greater efficiency in building a brand image for the company itself. If consumers learn to have a high regard for the company, then they are more likely to have a favorable opinion of all of the company’s diverse products. That is the reason why the basic objective of this advertising form is to develop goodwill or improve an organization’s relations with groups, not only customers but also current and prospective channel members’ suppliers, shareholders, employees and the general public as well. 2.2.1.3.2. Media- based classification Print Advertising – Newspapers, Magazines, Brochures, Fliers The print media have always been a popular advertising medium. Advertising products via newspapers or magazines is a common practice. In addition to this, the print media also offers options like promotional brochures and fliers for advertising purposes. Outdoor Advertising – Billboards, Kiosks, Tradeshows and Events Outdoor advertising which makes use of several tools and techniques to attract the customers outdoors is also a very popular form of advertising. The most common examples of outdoor advertising are billboards, kiosks, and also several events and tradeshows organized by the company. For example, organizing several sports tournaments or sponsoring those is considered an excellent advertising opportunity for the company that manufactures sports utilities. Broadcast advertising – Television, Radio and Online advertising
  • It is said that broadcast advertising is regarded as the most popular advertising medium that constitutes of several branches like television, radio or the Internet. Television advertisements have been very popular ever since they have been introduced. The cost of television advertising often depends on the duration of the advertisement, the time of broadcast (prime time/peak time), and of course the popularity of the television channel on which the advertisement is going to be broadcasted. The radio might have lost its charm owing to the new age media however the radio remains to be the choice of small-scale advertisers. The last form of broadcast advertising is online advertising which is a form of promotion using the Internet and World Wide Web for the expressed purpose of delivering marketing messages to attract customers. Examples of online advertising include contextual ads on search engine results pages, banner ads, e-mail marketing, etc. Covert Advertising – Advertising in Movies Covert advertising is seen as the unique kind of advertising in which a product or a particular brand is incorporated in some entertainment and media channels like movies, television shows or even sports. There is no commercial in the entertainment but the brand or the product is subtly (or sometimes evidently) showcased in the entertainment show. Some of the famous examples for this sort of advertising are the appearance of brand Nokia which is displayed on Tom Cruise’s phone in the movie Minority Report, or the use of Cadillac cars in the movie Matrix Reloaded. 2.2.2. An overview of advertisements In order to know how advertisements reflect cultural characteristic, it is essential to have an understanding of the typical features of advertisements as well as the persuasive techniques which are employed to dictate cultural values
  • When any advertisements are designed, advertisers must always keep in their mind the following structure, known as the AIDA Theory (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) Firstly, an advertisement must be attractive and eye-catching so as to catch the public’s ATTENTION. Secondly, advertisements must maintain the public’s INTEREST by appealing to the public in some ways bringing them feelings that what are being said seems relevant to their lives. Added to this, a successful advertisement must stimulate the public’s DESIRE Finally, an advertisement must be designed to call for ACTION. In this sense, that advertisement should be influential enough to get the public to take specific action which might be a product to buy, a phone number to ring, a behavior they can change, or a group to join. (What is an advertisement? Retrieved January, 2009 from www.wettropics.gov.au/st/rainforest_explorer/Resources/Documents/8to9/ HowTo/Advertisement.pdf ) 2.2.3. Television advertisements The TV commercial is generally considered the most effective mass- market advertising format, as is reflected by the high prices TV networks charge for commercial airtime during popular TV events. 2.2.3.1. The history of television advertisements As cited from the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the world's first television advertisement was broadcast on July 1st , 1941. The watchmaker Bulova paid $4 for a placement on New York station WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The 10-second spot displayed a picture of a clock superimposed on a map
  • of the United States, accompanied by the voice-over quot;America runs on Bulova time.quot; (History of television advertisement. Television Advertisements. Retrieved February 22nd from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Television_commercial#History ) show model used in the early days of television advertising. 2.2.3.2. Elements of a television advertisement Apart from the typical characteristics of an advertisement as mentioned above, a television advertisement certainly owns its specific features as follows: Elements of television advertisement Video Audio Dominating message perception. Music Using visuals and motion to convey Voices message. Sound Effects (Creating Broadcast Advertising, Chapter 13. Retrieved February 12th from www.westga.edu/~mrickard/Web %20Stuff/Advertising/PDF/Advts2003CH13.pdf In an advertisement, the images are supposed to be fused with words in order to present not only a creative concept, but also a story. Besides, many television advertisements feature catchy jingles (songs or melodies) or catch-phrases (slogan) that generate sustained appeal, which may remain in the minds of television viewers long after the span of the advertising campaign.
  • 2.3. Culture and advertising 2.3.1. The relationship between culture and advertising 2.3.1.1. Importance of culture to advertising As mentioned, culture, a complex and elusive concept, can be described as “both the lens through which we view our world as well as the blueprint for how we function in that world” (McCracken, 1986). As communication and culture are inextricably linked (Prosser, 1976), it is undeniable that people of different cultural origins assign different meanings to the same events. Based on this principle, integrated marketing expert, Schultz (2001) claims that successful communication results from “overlapping fields of experience – common languages, concepts or ideas, backgrounds or histories. One must know the reference points of the other, some basis for sharing ideas” (p. 8). From these perspectives, it is obvious that mass media and culture are closely related and are not easily separated: culture provides mass media with sources for content. All content must be derived from culture, including entertainment, news and advertisements; otherwise it could not be understood. Goff man (1979) argues that successful advertisements are expected to originate from real life since people are interested in dynamic descriptive poses that express ideals of themselves to show how things really are, or how they would like them to believe they are. Culture, therefore is the basis for images, and through the images, we create identities. For those reasons, in constructing advertising messages, businesses must understand how people in a group communicate and make purchase decisions. Advertisers research and consider people, their lifestyles, attitudes, perceptions, habits, behaviors, wants and needs – basic elements of culture – to develop effective communications. Then, the multicolor of a culture also brings the multifarious beauty in
  • advertisements. For example, in an advertisement, we can encounter a combination of heroism in the image, directness in the body copy (i.e. the main text) and simplicity in the slogan. 2.3.1.2. Importance of advertising to culture Advertising is apparently influenced by various elements of the originating culture, at the same time, it is also believed to “shape or affect the cultural values of its consumers over time” (Pollay, 1987). According to Campbell ( 2000: 352 ), “…advertising is not just a business expenditure undertaken in the hope of moving some merchandise off the store shelves, but is rather an integral part of modern culture”. Advertising is an important element of our culture because of the following reasons: On the first place, it is documented that “advertising can reinforce and strengthen many of social values, norms and stereotype of its audiences” (Mcquail, 1994). Two well- known researches, Fiske and Harthey (1970, 1980) noted that : advertising does not represent the “the manifest actuality” of the society but rather symbolically reflects the social values. In order to attract and hold the attention of the customers as well as to create their favorable attitude toward products, it is essential for any advertisement to include the popular cultural values of its customer’s community. The advertisement of Omo in Vietnam is such a typical example of reflecting Vietnamese culture when it appreciates the help among community members as well as emphasizes on the collectivism in stead of individualism which is regarded as the outstanding characteristic of American, on the other hand. Secondly, advertising plays a key role in constructing a new image culture. Through their cultural symbols and images, advertisements come to shape our consciousness and behaviors subtly by sanctioning some
  • forms of thought and behavior while eclipsing others. For instance, advertisements convey through their images positive presentations of assertive “masculine” behavior and images of well- groomed men. Then, masculinity and fashionableness may become new aesthetic standards in the society. What is more, advertising helps to promote a culture by dictating its cultural values. In the advertising industry, an enormous amount of money is spent on studying and designing advertisements suitable with a particular culture, which means advertisements have to be close to life and have to reflect the cultural characteristics of the people from that culture. For instance, in the USA, advertisements that encourage or aim at individual will be widely accepted. That is because the advertisements praising individualism are of American’s taste and as a result, the products advertised will have a greater chance to be in the purchase list of American and production American consumers. Lastly, in broader sense, with the globalization of the world economy, multinational corporations, in fact, often use the same advertising to sell to consumers around the world. Some critics argue that advertising messages are thus helping to break down distinct cultural differences and traditional values, causing the world to become increasingly homogeneous. 2.3.1.3. Why can advertisements reflect cultural characteristics? Culture is the general understanding engendered among groups of individuals about the nature of huinan relationships. “Each nation's culture expresses itself in a way which asserts normativeness and permits action (Edelstein, Ito, & Kepplinger, 1989)”. Advertising, as one form of communication, must convey cultural meanings pertaining to the society in which it is produced. As Stern once
  • said “Embedded in advertising's messages about goods and services are the cultural roles and cultural values that define our everyday life” (1992) What is more, “reality may be in the eye of the beholder, but the eye has had a cultural training, and is located in a social setting and history” (Kress & Van Leeway, 1996). In other words, an advertisement will hardly be accepted by its consumers unless it is true to the social context its consumers are rooted in. It can be affirmed that even the most laconic advertisement that only lists the qualities of a product it not “culture free” because these qualities operate in a specific cultural context and may become ineffective out of this context. Another example is that whereas in the past it was realistic to show women purely as housewives and subordinates to their husbands and children as well behaved and respectful of their elders, this is a far cry from the family of the twenty-first century today. Although advertisers may wish to show us a slightly stereotypical view of society – it has to hold some truth with the viewer or it will be simply dismissed. In addition, it is the fact that cultures vary from different societies, so before a company introduces their new products into a particular market, they have to do a research into the market as well as the culture of consumers in that nation on order to design suitable advertisements. Otherwise, an advertisement unsuitable with a society’s culture would be soon rejected. For example, the visual signs of the winking face and the handshake in any advertisement may be highly appreciated in this cultural group but may have no meaning to another who does not appreciate these nonverbal behaviors in their communication system. That is why, not surprisingly, advertisers utilize different codes and strategies to appeal to different audiences in different cultures. Most advertising agencies have
  • employed the Values and Lifestyles strategy (VALS) to decide this. This is a reliable method not only classifying people by values and lifestyles but also considering the ways consumers achieve (or do not achieve) the lifestyle to which they aspire. When advertising agencies employ this research method basing on cultural values, it is quite reasonable to conclude that advertisements can reflect cultural values. (Campbell, 2000: 355-357) “You can tell the IDEALS of a nation by its advertisements” – Schudson (1983: 96)- As a concluding remark, advertisements are sending us complex, unspoken, intuitive messages about the values embedded in one culture. They are claimed to reflect culture, and how advertisements reflect cultural values will be on closer look in the following chapter with advertisements samples collected from American and Vietnamese televisions. 2.3.2. Cultural values and Advertising As reported by Jones (2000), consumers of different cultures may share similar needs and wants; however, they differ in their ways of characterizing the products which can satisfy those needs. There have been so far quite a few studies examining the association between cultural values and international advertising. Up to the late 1980s, only a limited series of cross-cultural studies specifically focused on the comparison of Eastern and Western cultures. Mueller (1987) explores that the cultural appeals used in Japanese and U.S. magazine advertisement tend to differ in degree rather than in kind. Cheng and Schweitzer (1996) content analyzed 1,105 Chinese and U.S. television commercials from 1993 and identified eight cultural values that dominated either Chinese or U.S. television advertising:
  • quot;family,quot; quot;technology,quot; quot;tradition,quot; quot;enjoyment,quot; quot;individualism,quot; quot;economy,quot; quot;modernity,quot; and quot;youth.quot; Above all, it is believed that cultural values, norms and characteristics are embedded in advertising appeals which are defined as any messages designed to motivate the customers to purchase. According to Mueller (1987), each type of appeal chosen is supposed to reveal certain cultural values. He also pointed out some typical advertising appeal categories that are reflective of distinct Eastern and Western cultural values as follows: 1. Group/consensus appeal: The emphasis is on the individual in relation to others, typically the reference group. The individual is depicted as an integral part of the whole. References may be made to significant others. Pressure is on consensus and conformity to the will of the group. 2. Individual/independence appeals: The emphasis is on the individual as distinct and unlike others. Individuals are depicted as standing out in a crowd or having the ability to be self-sufficient. Nonconformity, originality, and uniqueness are key terms. Dependency is downplayed. 3. Soft-sell appeal: Mood and atmosphere are conveyed through a beautiful scene or the development of an emotional story or verse. Human emotional sentiments are emphasized over clear-cut product-related appeals. 4. Hard-sell appeal: Sales orientation is emphasized, stressing brand name and product recommendation. Explicit mention may be made of competitive products, sometimes by name, and the product advantage depends on performance. This appeal includes statements such as quot;number onequot; and quot;leader.quot; 5. Veneration of elderly/traditional appeals: Wisdom and the elderly, as well as the veneration of that which is traditional, is stressed. Older group
  • members are depicted being asked for advice, opinions, and recommendations. Models in such advertisements tend to be older. 6. Modernity/youth appeals: The emphasis is on modernity and identification of the younger generation, often through the depiction of younger models; stress is on contemporariness and youthful benefits of the products. 7. Status appeals: Advertisements suggest that the use of a particular product will improve some inherent quality of the user in the eyes of others. Position and rank within the context of the group are stressed. This category also includes foreign status appeals, that is, the use of foreign words, phrases, models, and foreign celebrity endorsements. 8. Sex appeal: Based on the premise that people are curious about sexuality, sex appeal is effectively exploited more and more in advertising to grab attention from their potential customers. As both males and females are attracted to this type of advertising, sex appeal in advertising is used to stimulate emotions and sell consumers products to both sexes. 9. Oneness with nature appeals: The goodness and beauty of nature are emphasized in relationship to people. Interaction and affinity of people and nature are stressed. The focus is on back-to-nature themes. 10. Manipulation of Nature Appeals: The theme here is man triumphing over the elements of nature. Man’s superiority over nature is reflected, as well as an emphasis on technological achievement. Although every nation has its own cultural characteristic, the two countries Vietnam and the United States are said to represent distinctive Eastern and Western cultures; therefore, their advertisements are expected to be involved in the above advertising appeals.
  • CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY 3.1. Introduction In the preceding chapter, the literature on the research topic was briefly reviewed for the theoretical basis of the whole study. Turning to the practical side, this research was carried out with strict adherence to justified methods of data collection and analysis in order to maximize its validity and reliability on which the succeeding chapter would shed more lights by discussing in detail the participant, the instrument as well as the procedure of data collection. Justification for each step in the whole procedure would be also given herein. 3.2. The research method The main approach to be applied in this study was content analysis – a research tool focused on the actual content and internal features of media.
  • According to Walizer & Winenir (1978: 23), content analysis is “any systematic procedure devised to examine the content of recorded information”. In more detail, Bernard Berelson defined content analysis as quot;a research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of manifest content of communicationsquot; (Berelson, 74). The main uses of content analysis: 1. Describing communication content 2. Testing hypotheses of message characteristics 3. Comparing media content to the “real world” 4.Assessing the image of particular groups in society 5. Establishing a starting point for studies of media effects The research method used in this research was content analysis since the study laid the main focus on assessing how American and Vietnamese cultural values and characteristics were reflected in their television advertisements. In accordance with the above method, the following ones were also employed: - Consultation with supervisor. - Reference to relevant publications. - Discussion with friends majored in marketing and advertising. 3.3. Selection of subject Since the cultural reflection in Vietnamese and American television advertisements was clearly identified as the subject of the whole study, it was the television advertisements from these two countries’ TV channels that were used as the subjects for data collection and analysis.
  • In order to have a comparative analysis and thorough insight into how American and Vietnamese cultural values and characteristics were reflected in their TV advertisements, the advertisements chosen were to satisfy the following criteria: + The time range of broadcasting was the last 3 years from 2007-2009 in order to guarantee that the advertisements were recently shown. + Only truly official television Vietnamese and American ads were used because only such samples could reflect faithfully their nation’s cultural values and characteristics. + Any duplicate commercials for the same brand and promotional ads for the station or programs were excluded from the sample to eliminate redundancies that may have skewed the results. 3.4. Procedures of data collection In an attempt to gather the original ads fully meeting the above requirements, apart from the way of capturing ads from official television channels with the help of the device named the EasyCAP USB 2.0 and downloading ads available on the Internet, asking friends living in the U.S. for help in collecting American commercials was also taken into consideration. While Vietnamese ads could be viewed and captured from a large number of Vietnamese TV channels, there were some difficulties in collecting American commercials due to the fact that although some American programs could be broadcast in Vietnamese cable channels, most of them were not the original ones accompanied with television commercials. Consequently, only a tiny number of American ads available on the American channels were captured direct from the Vietnamese cable
  • TV. In this case, the alternative way of downloading American from certain Internet websites was employed as an effective tool. Broadly speaking, the process of data collection could be put into the major phases as follows: Phase 1 The first phase was the preparation for the data collection which included the gathering the information relating to the Vietnamese and American TV channels broadcasting commercials, the website of TV ads available on the Internet, the effective tools to download them as well as the search for the brands of goods and services advertised on the American and Vietnamese TV channels. In terms of TV channel selection, among a great number of Vietnamese TV channels which often offered commercials of all kinds, VTV1, VTV3, VTC1, VTC2, HTV7, HTV9, HANOI TV1 were chosen since they have been regarded as the most popular channels broadcast mostly nationwide with the various contents covering news, sports, culture, education and entertainment. Although HTV7, HTV9 and HANOI TV1 are local stations, they were selected since they have been proved to reach a large number of audiences all over the country (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city are both the biggest economic and cultural centers of Vietnam). To address the major genres comparable to those of Vietnamese TV channels, The American TV channels available on Vietnamese cable TV including CNN, ESPN, HBO, STARMOVIES, DISNEY CHANNEL, STAR SPORT, were selected on the basis that they are not only the popular channels in America but also among the available U.S channels providing the American television commercials on Vietnamese cable TV. In the other place, some websites, such as http://clip.vn, http://youtube ,on which a great number of various ads uploaded were also
  • used to search for Vietnamese and American television ads as they offered easy and fast access to viewing and downloading ads. Added to the efforts above of the researcher to record American TV commercials from Vietnamese cable TV, another solution applied was to ask the researcher’s friends in the U.S. for assistance in gathering the samples by capturing TV America commercials currently broadcast in the native country as well as searching for the other American TV ads shown between 2007 and 2009 and uploaded on the internet websites. Afterwards, these friends would gather all of these commercials and send back to the researcher. Phase 2 Having started at the beginning of December, this second phase lasted till the end of March. During this period, 15 Vietnamese and 5 American TV commercials were captured from Vietnamese cable TV, 35 Vietnamese and 23 American TV ads were downloaded from the Internet; and 25 American ads sent to the researcher from the United State. In order to confirm the validity and reliability of the American samples collected in Vietnam by the researcher, all of these ads was sent to the two friends living in the U.S so that they could check whether these advertisements were exactly American or not. 20 out of 23 ads delivered were proved to meet all the necessary requirements mentioned above. In total, the number of ads collected was 100, 50 American advertisements and 50 Vietnamese ones. 3.5. Procedures of data analysis
  • After the data had been collected, they were analyzed carefully in a systematical way with the application of both statistical and interpretive methods, which ensured the validity and reliability of the study. The cultural values analyzed were adopted from Mueller's (1987) coding scheme as it provided a good contrast between Western culture and the Eastern culture which was strongly influenced by Confucianism. The advertising appeal categories namely group/consensus appeals, individual appeals, soft-sell appeals, hard-sell appeals, veneration of elderly/traditional appeals, modernity/youth appeals, status appeals , sex appeals , oneness with nature appeals, and manipulation of nature appeals were coded 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 respectively as follows: Advertising Appeals Coding number Group / Consensus appeal 1 Individual/ Independence appeal 2 Soft-sell appeal 3 Hard-sell appeal 4 Veneration of elderly/ traditional appeal 5 Modernity/ youth appeal 6 Status appeals 7 Sex appeals 8 Oneness appeals 9 Manipulation of Nature Appeals 10 The data was then organized into tables and charts to facilitate the synthesis and comparison. Pie charts were used to analyze and compare the figures in a general sense while tables were preferably applied when further details were required. 3.6. Summary All in all, the chapter has justified the methodology used in this chapter by clarifying the following aspects:
  • (1) The two groups of subjects involved in the process of data collection, namely the Vietnamese and American television ads (2) The process of data collection depicted in 2 major phases (3)The process of data analysis CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND CONCLUSION 4.1. Introduction This chapter aims to present the study’s findings. The statistics listed in the data analysis were calculated to figure out the percentage (in total of 100%) and sometimes more than one option was chosen so some of the numbers could not be added to 100%. Besides, the researcher would like to make a further discussion on those findings with regard to those of the previous studies, which have been reviewed in chapter two. 4.2. Findings The result of the statistical process offered interesting findings in the frequency of advertising appeals occurred in American and Vietnamese television advertisements.
  • 4.2.1. The frequency of advertising appeals used in American TV ads The Proportion of Advertising Appeals Utilized in American TV Ads 80 74 70 64 64 60 Percentage (%) 50 40 American 30 22 20 20 18 12 10 6 2 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Advertising Appeals Figure 1 The single bar chart above provides the overall picture of the proportion of advertising appeals used in U.S television advertisements. As can be seen from the chart, up to 74% of the advertisements collected employs the hard -sell appeal as a persuasive technique in creating effective commercials. On the other hand, it is revealed that only 1 out of 50 TV American ads makes use of the oneness with nature as well as the manipulation of nature appeals. With the big proportion of 64%, the individual and modernity appeals were seen among the most popular ones in American ads while the group/consensus appeals and traditional appeals are employed in merely 12% and 6% of the samples. It is also noted that the appearance of the appeals namely soft-sell, status, and sex appeals were put in quite a few commercials, counting for 22%, 20 % and 18% respectively.
  • Advertising Appeals American TV Ads No (total 50) Percentage 1.Group/consensus appeals 6 12% 2.Individual/independence appeals 32 64% 3. Soft-sell appeals 11 22% 4. Hard-sell appeals 37 74% 5. Veneration of elderly/traditional appeals 3 6% 6. Modernity/youth appeals 32 64% 7. Status appeals 10 20% 8.Sex appeals 9 18% 9. Oneness with nature appeals 1 2% 10. Manipulation of Nature appeals 1 2% Table 1. The proportion of advertising appeals utilized in American TV ads 4.2.2. The frequency of advertising appeals used in Vietnamese TV ads The Proportion of Advertising Appeals Utilized in Vietnamese TV Ads 70 62 58 60 Percentages (%) 50 40 40 40 34 Vietnamese 30 24 18 20 10 10 10 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Advertising Appeals Figure 2 The chart shows the frequency of the advertising appeals’ occurrence in Vietnamese television advertisements. The most preferred appeals in
  • Vietnamese commercials are the modernity/youth at 62% and the group/consensus at 58%. Having been employed in 20 ads, both the individual appeals and hard-sell appeals rank the same third position with the large percentage of 40. The same situation is true to the sex and the oneness with nature appeals, each of which, however, accounts for only 10% of the total number. This percentage is far smaller compared with those in the categories of soft sell; veneration of elderly/tradition and status appeals whose proportions of occurrence in 50 TV ads are 34%, 24% and 18% respectively. Finally, it is noteworthy that there is no application of the manipulation of nature appeals in any Vietnamese television commercial collected. Advertising Appeals Vietnamese TV Ads No (total 50) Percentage 1.Group/consensus appeals 29 58% 2.Individual/independence appeals 20 40% 3. Soft-sell appeals 17 34% 4. Hard-sell appeals 20 40% 5.Veneration of elderly/traditional appeals 12 24% 6. Modernity/youth appeals 31 62% 7. Status appeals 9 18% 8.Sex appeals 5 10% 9. Oneness with nature appeals 5 10% 10. Manipulation of Nature appeals 0 0% Table 2. The proportion of advertising appeals utilized in Vietnamese TV ads 4.2.3. The comparison between the frequency of advertising appeals used in American TV commercials and that in Vietnamese ones
  • Having been analyzed according to the same categories of advertising appeals, the statistics mentioned above showed both the similarities as well as differences in the proportions of advertising appeals utilized in each country’s television advertisements as demonstrated in the chart below:
  • The Proportion of Advertising Appeals Utilized in Vietnamese and American TV Ads 2 10 0 2 9 10 18 8 10 20 7 18 Advertising Appeals 64 6 62 American Vietnamese 6 5 24 74 4 40 22 3 34 64 2 40 12 1 58 0 20 40 60 80 Percentages (%) It can be seen from the bar chart that the American and Vietnamese television advertisement have certain similarities and differences in their uses of advertising appeals. In the first place, the two groups of American
  • and Vietnamese advertisements certainly have common preference towards the appearance of the modernity/ youth appeals which are used most frequently in both groups. With regard to the frequency of the status appeals’ occurrence in American and Vietnamese TV ads, it accounts for almost the same percentage, which is 20% and 18% respectively. Noticeably, there is not a significant distinction between Vietnamese and the U.S commercials since only one American ad displayed this appeal while none of Vietnamese group do. However, there are a large number of the outstanding differences between two groups in certain advertising appeal categories. As obviously seen from the chart, the American ads containing group/consensus appeals are outnumbered almost five to one by the Vietnamese commercials at the rate of 12% and 52%. The same situation arises in the category of the veneration of elderly/traditional appeals where the percentage of Vietnamese ads calculated is 24% while the American ones merely account for 6%. There are also more of the soft sell and oneness with nature appeals employed in Vietnamese commercial than in the American ones. On the contrary, the U.S advertisements display greater use of the hard-sell appeals than do the Vietnamese ones. With the proportion of 74%, this advertising appeal is proved to be the most dominant in American TV commercials while it is utilized in only 40% of Vietnamese ads. Similarly, the individual and sex appeals are seen remarkably more frequently in American TV ads compared to those in the Vietnamese ones. In general, it is demonstrated that Vietnamese and the U.S TV commercials share some similarities in considering the use of certain advertising appeals, still does each cultural group hold its own certain preferences for the others.
  • Vietnamese TV Ads American TV Ads Number Percentage Number Percentage Advertising Appeals (total:50) (total:50) 1.Group/consensus 29 58% 6 12% appeals 2.Individual/independence 20 40% 32 64% appeals 3. Soft-sell appeals 17 34% 11 22% 4. Hard-sell appeals 20 40% 37 74% 5. Veneration of elderly/ 12 24% 3 6% traditional appeals 6.Modernity/youth appeals 31 62% 32 64% 7. Status appeals 9 18% 10 20% 8.Sex appeals 5 10% 9 18% 9. Oneness with nature 5 10% 1 2% appeals 10.Manipulation of Nature 0 0% 1 2% Appeals Table 3. The Frequency of Advertising Appeals Utilized in Vietnamese and American TV Ads 4.3. Implications On the basis of preceding literature review, it is indicated that there are certain American and Vietnamese cultural values and characteristics represented by the frequency of the occurrence of the certain advertising appeals as given above. A closer look on how these values and characteristic were reflected in the television commercials of each cultural group is presented as follow: 4.3.1. Realization of typical cultural values and characteristics reflected in American TV advertisements
  • After the analysis process of the previous given findings, the following cultural values were proved to the most clearly – reflected values of American culture through their collected advertisements 4.3.1.1. The individualism It is the frequency of individual/ independence appeals utilized in American ads that indicate the reflection of the two cultural values of individualism and self-reliance in the U.S commercials. Residing at the core of American culture, individualism is believed to be the essential aspect in this culture; thus there would be no surprise to the findings that individual appeals are employed in 64% of 50 samples collected. In such advertisements, the main emphasis is placed first and foremost on the identification of each person as a distinct individual from the others. In other words, this approach is based on people’s desire to get nonconformity; originality and unique style. Intentionally, it attempts to persuade them that using the product would definitely help to make their individual personality and characteristic special and outstanding. Take the advertisement introducing Saturn Astra car as an example. In this commercial, people are encouraged just to be the way they are themselves in stead of “trying to be cool” as the others normally do at the present. By valuing the uniqueness of each individual’s personalities, this advertisement, at the same time, sends an intended message to its potential customers that the car they are introducing is the unique one which can offer them all the things they need for a car. 4.3.1.2. The self- reliance
  • It is widely believed that American culture values the self-reliance as one of the most significant characteristics of its people who always wish to “stand on their own two feet” in stead of relying much on the others. An American advertisement, accordingly, will undoubtedly capture its viewers’ attention if it can highlight the value of the product in connection with this cultural value of the self-reliance. That is also the reason for which many independence appeals are used of in a large number of advertisements collected. One typical example is the commercial of Heineken beer shown in 2009, in which John Turturro, an American celebrity gives some advice on how to obtain a good name for a man himself. Apart from the belief that everyman should be the champion of his own legacy as well as the creator of his own fortune, what this male model emphasizes is that: “what a man chooses to believe is his reality, but what a man chooses to drink is his ondestiny”. As a result, Heineken here is offered as an inevitable drink for any man who wants to give himself a good name. Apparently, the advertiser made the wise choice to take advantage of the common wishes of American, particular men to build their own high-classed identities by using Heineken beer. In a large number of American advertisements, this value is considerably attached with such impressive slogans as mentioned below: Follow your heart (CareerBuilde-2008 Super Bowl Ads) Think outside the bun (Taco Bell - The Speed of Love-Super Bowl 2009) Fiesta platter is truly a meal for men to enjoy (Fiesta Platters-Super Bowl Commercial 2008)
  • 4.3.1.3. The directness As a matter of fact, American cultures belongs to the low context culture in which people particularly value direct interaction, explicit verbal statement and tend to use “logic” and “fact” to present ideas. Correspondingly, it comes as no surprise that this cultural characteristic is expressed in many American commercials. Commonly, the U.S consumers tend to be much concerned with information on the product’s characteristic, thus, they tend to be more convinced by the ads showing direct the logical comparison, the factual number and figures about the products themselves in stead of the product’s implicit messages hidden in an emotional story or beautiful scenes. That is a reasonable explanation to the question why soft sell appeals occur in only a limited number of the American advertisements (22%). For example, in Prudential commercial, it is the impressive factual figures illustrated right at the beginning of the ad that makes a huge contribution to the effectiveness of this commercial: “Millions of workers, more than 4,500 organizations across America walk on the path…” , says the ad 4.3.1.4. The competition The competition is widely believed as among the most typical American cultural values. In advertising, this value is commonly represented by the extensive use of hard-sell appeal which highlights the product’s benefits by stressing its competitiveness in comparison with the others. Not surprisingly, a high percentage of 74% of the American collected is truly reflective of this value. The advertisement for Pizza Hut is such a representative example for that. Not only does it declare itself the America’s favorite pizza but it also firmly assures that “no pizza is more irresistible”, says the slogan of the ad. Besides, the competitiveness is also
  • reflected when the brand’s superiority over other products is demonstrated in the commercial’s content as such resounding slogans do in the following: It’s the Bridge Stone or nothing (Bridgestone Super Bowl Ad 2009) More spacious than a BMW 7 (Hyundai Super Bowl commercial 2008) Ex tra Gum- Last longer than that (Extra Gum Commercial 2008) Budlight-Always worths it (Bud Light 2008 Superbowl Commercial) Degree- from the world’s deodorant manufacturer (Degree Commercial 2007) What is more, most advertisements of this type introduce their products as effective tools to helpfully support people to gain achievements in this fiercely competitive world. In common sense, Americans suppose life is a race, and then people should run the race successfully. And in order to succeed, a person must compete with others. Therefore, the image of a man in some competitive contest matching his energy and intelligence against that of others for success becomes familiar in American advertisements. For instance, the advertiser for Vitaminwater commercial deliberately designs the ad as a live show of a breathtaking – ever horse race, in which the male model makes an unbelievably good performance to try his utmost to overcome other competitors, one by one on the way to the championship. That strong man, of course, spectacularly wins the competition finally and the very first drink he chooses is none but the Vitaminwater. The advertisement, therefore, can absolutely convey the message on the great-ever influence of its drink on people’s physical and
  • spiritual strengths considered necessary for their competitiveness. This idea originates from the typical viewpoint of Americans on the ideal of competition. Under the pressure of competitions, they are always energetic since anyone who does not succeed in competing -for any reason – does not seem to fit the American life lines as well as those who complete successfully. 4.3.1.5. The attitude towards sex The definition of the term “sex” here should be understood as referring to body exposure and bodily contact. The percentage of sex appeals utilized in American ads was 18 %, among which 12% and 6% involved body exposure and bodily contact, respectively. Regarding to the common knowledge that American tend to hold open views towards sex, sex appeal is effectively exploited in many American advertisements in order to grab attention from their potential customers. That can be seen in the advertisements for Gillette and Calvin Klein with vivid illustration for bodily contact imageries. 4.3.1.6. The attitude towards nature That oneness and manipulation of nature appeals rarely occurred in the American commercials collected somehow implies the American attitude towards nature is the wish for the “active-mastery” in the person- nature relationship. While there is no use of oneness with nature appeal in any American ads, the manipulation of nature appeal is still presented in one commercial for GE Company. The impressive thing is the image of a little boy succeeding in capturing the wind into a bottle and giving to his grandpa as a surprising present on his birthday. This ad indicates the relationship between people and nature in U.S culture, that is, nature is to
  • be conquered and controlled for human convenience and economic progress (Belk and Bryce, 1986). 4.3.2. Realization of typical cultural values and characteristics reflected in Vietnamese TV advertisements According to the statistical results, the most typical values of Vietnamese culture revealed in the advertisements are the following ones: 4.3.2.1. The strong sense of community This cultural value is faithfully reflected by the great use of group/consensus appeals in Vietnamese television advertisements. 58% of products advertised build their brand images with the material of group appeals, that is, the images of groups are utilized more than those of individuals. The ads for Doctor Thanh tea, P/S toothpaste or Nescafe are such vivid examples for the regular appearance of group images in Vietnamese TV commercial Moreover, the strong sense of community, to certain extents, also means the tendency of the heavy dependence on the others or the majority instead of the self-reliance. That is to say, from Vietnamese’s point of view, the quality of a product will be seemingly more guaranteed and reliable if it is widely used and accepted by as many people as possible. In the ads for Coca-Cola 2009, there are a variety of different groups of people from the little children, teenagers, couples to the old, and the common thing they share is their varied interesting experiences gained from drinking Coca-cola. Also, the plural first pronoun “WE” is usually used when it comes to judging the product’s quality. For instance, the ads for Anuta green tea and Kotex sound convincing to the customer as all the models say: Chúng tôi chọn trà xanh Anuta
  • -We all choose Anuta green tea- ( Anuta Green Tea commercial ) Chúng tôi tin -We all believe- (Kotex commercial) Therefore, it is the popular image in Vietnamese advertisement that a product tends to be enjoyed and shared among a group of people or in public in stead of individually Last but not least, by depicting the individual as an integral part of the whole group, a large number of Vietnamese ads lay the considerable emphasis on the benefits given to the community, not for an individual only. In other words, the values of product are associated with the common objectives of the whole community. Particularly, in these advertisements, the image of people enthusiastically helping each other in public has the frequent occurrences. The striking illustration of that can be seen in the ads for Nuti Full Cream, in which three members of the family forget their own sakes to help others. Regardless of the championship waiting for him, the little boy stopped during the race only to raise up his competitor who has just fallen down. They all drink Nuti and that is the way they do to have such good health as well as warm hearts and beautiful minds 4.3.2.2. The alliance to the family and tradition-orientation Based on the analysis of the Vietnamese samples demonstrating that the veneration of elderly/traditional appeals appeared in 24% from 50 ads, it is proved that there is a true reflection of the alliance to the family and tradition- orientation in Vietnamese television advertisements. In practice, with regard to the belief that Vietnamese are closely tied to family, the family setting is commonly portrayed in a big number of Vietnamese ads, especially in the ads of domestic products, such as Colgate, Café Viet, Milmax , Ajinomoto Prudential Insurance, etc.
  • Added to this, that Vietnamese people often attach crucial importance to the family’s happiness is the reasonable explanation for the question why the advertisers often design the ads in which the consumption of their products will bring happiness to the whole family. Take an example of the ad for Vinamilk yoghurt, in which its tastes are shared and enjoyed by all the members of the family. In addition to the dream about a happy family, it is also traditional for Vietnamese children to show their respect and gratitude to the older in the family, especially their grandparents and parents who are usually regarded as the symbol of love, care and wisdom. Bearing this cultural characteristic in mind, many advertisers promote their product’s values in connection with the familiar images of family. For instance, it is said in the ad for Enplus that: “Đối với mẹ, Enplus là tất cả những gì bạn cần” - As for Mum, Enplus is all that you need” Another example to illustrate this cultural value of Vietnamese is seen in the ad for Orion Choco-pie, which recalls a little girl to the familiar memory of her pass-away grandfather when she receives the choco-pie from her Mom and places it onto the altar in order to show her respect and love for her grand father. The effect here is that Vietnamese viewers , who have the tradition of being grateful and dutiful to their ancestors , are inspired by the beautiful sentiments expressed in the ad and maybe end up taking it as a meaningful present to show the love and care to their beloved family members Besides, the tradition-orientation is also reflected in Vietnamese television commercials. Typically, the traditional Tet holiday is also presented in many ads, such as Omo Tet 2008 commercials, Lipton commercial, Knor commercials etc. In most of these advertisements, what can be seen are the traditional and familiar images like the family union,
  • the funds for the poor or the best wishes to family member on New Year occasion which are considered the beauties in behaviors originated from traditional values. 4.3.2.3. The wish to live in harmony with nature In common sense, Vietnamese are believed to live closely to nature and have harmonious attitude towards nature. This wish to live in harmony with nature is represented by the frequent use of oneness with nature appeals in 10% of Vietnamese advertisements. Considering the traditional value that Vietnamese people always have love for products made from natural materials, advertisers tend to make increasing use of natural appeal in their advertisements. Accordingly, it is not surprising to see that there are more and more advertisements showing their product’s good qualities in close relationship to nature. Like most other ads of this category, in the commercial for Lipton Green tea, the product is guaranteed to be made from 100 % natural materials. Added to this, the advert seemingly sounds more appealing to viewers when describing the quality of this product as: “Lipton, thanh khiết như sương mai” - Lipton, as pure as morning dew - It can be said that this “back- to- nature” theme successfully shows the interaction and affinity of people and nature, for which the commercial for Ajinomoto is an impressive example. Stated as the sharing knowledge between the father and son, the ad reveals the familiarity as well as the importance of nature to people’s lives, that is: “….. Nước biển làm ra hạt muối và cánh đồng cho hạt gạo… nhưng ngạc nhiên nhất, ba bảo mía làm ra bột ngọt Ajinomoto…” - “…the salt is made from the sea water, the fields bring the rice…but most surprisingly, Dad says Ajinomoto is made from the sugar-cane”
  • 4.3.2.4. The indirectness The proportion of 34% of Vietnamese ads using the soft-sell appeal is seen as a clear illustration for the indirectness of Vietnamese culture. In general, it is found that Vietnamese advertising often displays emotional approaches in stead of informational ones. As seen from the statistical result, not a large number of all Vietnamese advertisements analyzed contains competitive statements, or emphasizes their superiorities compared with other products. In case comparative appeals are used, they seem to be “softened” to avoid the possibility that their competitor can lose face. Accordingly, it is a tendency for Vietnamese advertiser to base their marketing strategy on creating linking of the product through image and emotional appeals without bombarding the consumers with the impressive facts and proof. In the commercial for Omo, what is emphasized is not the remarkable feature of the product but the beauty of human values conveyed through the beautiful and moving scenes. Under the miraculous inspiration of people wearing the white and nice clothes washed with Omo, all the other people with different ages and genders become enthusiastic and willing to help the others without being afraid of dirtying their clothes. So even though the ad mentioned nothing related to the benefits offered by the product, it still can attract the attention as well as the preference from the Vietnamese consumers who highly appreciate the spiritual and cultural values hidden in the image of this product. 4.3.2.5. The attitude towards sex It is found that the sex appeals only made their appearance in 10% of the total number of 50 Vietnamese commercials. It is also noteworthy that the body expose is shown in 4 samples (8%) while only one ad for KFC is involved in bodily touching. This result leads to the implication that highly intimate bodily contact in public or too openly dressing is not considered
  • the favorite images in Vietnamese advertisements, which also indicates the attitude towards sex of Vietnamese, who are thought to be conservative with a truly oriental lifestyle. 4.3.2. Comparison of cultural values and characteristics reflected in American and Vietnamese advertisements In the following part, an in-depth discussion on the similarities and differences in the reflection of cultural values and characteristics between two cultural groups is presented. 4.3.2.1. The similarities The statistics discussed in the previous part named “Findings” show that the collected advertisement samples of both cultural groups are reflective of American and Vietnamese’s preference towards the appearance of the modernity/ youth appeals as well as the status appeal Firstly, the huge proportion of youthful or modernity appeals used in Vietnamese and the U.S commercials, 62% and 64% respectively shows the reality that nowadays, the advertisements with the appearance of young good-looking or famous models have more possibilities to catch the customer’s attention. The favorite models are usually celebrities such as talented singers, movie stars or sport players whose images become popular to the majority of target customers who is believed to have increasing interest in fashionable and modern stuffs. Another similarity is found in the frequent use of status appeals in both American and Vietnamese television advertisements. Accounting for 18% and 20% in Vietnamese and American commercials, respectively, the use of status appeals presents the people’s wish to improve their achievements as well as the social status. That is the reason why in
  • practice, a great number of men is fond of the product of Gillette since it is considered “the best a man can have”, as stated in the American advertisement for Gillette 2007. As for Vietnamese advertisements, the products tend to become preferred if they are imported from overseas. This is not really a characteristic but a common attitude of most Vietnamese people. In many Vietnamese ads, viewers can come across such information as: “Tide- bột giặt số một tại Mỹ” - Tide –the 1st brand of washing powder in America- (Tide commercial) “ Enfagrow A+ mới, sản phẩm từ Mead Johnson, Hoa Kì” - New EnfagrowA+, the product by Mead Johnson, the U.S- ( Enfagrow A+ commercial ) 4.3.2.2. The differences As discussed in the previous part numbered 4.3.1, there are particularly striking differences in the cultural reflection between Vietnamese and American TV ads. While American commercials faithfully reflect their certain typical cultural values namely the individualism, self- reliance, directness and competition, it is conclusively proved that the sense of community, allegiance to the family and traditional orientation, indirectness and wish to live in harmony with nature are among the most remarkable values revealed in Vietnamese TV commercials. Apart from that, in this section, some other significant differences are also pointed out as follows:
  • 4.3.2.2.1. Attitude towards nature There is a considerable difference between Vietnamese and American culture in considering their attitude towards nature. The Vietnamese normally express a harmonious attitude towards nature while the Americans tend to show their desire to challenge and conquer nature. The explanation for this is the fact that Vietnam is an agriculture-rooted country with a large proportion of population working in agriculture; thus, there is a heavy dependence on nature for the production as well as living condition and therefore, Vietnamese people always respect nature and wish to live in harmony with nature. On the other hand, with a different cultural pattern Americans are considered people of great mobility who do not have to depend much on nature since they often move from place to place to discover new lands as well as seek for new achievements. 4.3.2.2.2. Attitude towards sex Another considerable difference is also noted between Vietnamese and American’s attitude towards sex. As seen from the collected advertisements, in terms of body expose, the American models show a greater part of their body than the Vietnamese ones. Moreover, the ways these American models show parts of their bodies are far more impressive and shocking in comparison with the ways Vietnamese models do. With regard to bodily touching, the images of male and female model involved in intimate bodily contact are seen more in American commercials than in Vietnamese ones. For example, in the American ad for Calvin Klein perfume, there are quite a few hot scenes of a couple in loves with close bodily contact, which is hardly seen in Vietnamese advertisements. That big difference can result from the two distinct lifestyles. American has a modern liberal Western life style while Vietnamese mostly still remain their traditional oriental lifestyles. Highly
  • intimate bodily touching in public, therefore, is considered to be against Vietnamese’ traditional custom and culture. 4.4. Application 4.4.1. Suggestions for bridging the cultural gap in perceiving American and Vietnamese advertisements The gap in perceiving a cultural issue is a common experience to a person coming from another culture. The similar situation happens to the way people belonging to two cultural groups of Vietnamese and American get to know each other through their advertisements. That is to say, there always exist potential difficulties in understanding American ads for Vietnamese and vice versa. Therefore, it is necessary to find out some ways to avoid possible culture shock in such cross-cultural context. One valuable suggestion here is to enrich one’s knowledge of as many fields as possible. To overcome the cultural barriers, and get the right understanding of the foreign advertisements, what a person needs is not only being expert at the culture itself, but also the comprehensive knowledge of many other aspects of life. And thanks to that, he can find out the answers to the questions referring to cultural problem in the advertisements he sees. In addition to the improvement of knowledge, it is particularly significant for one to have an open and receptive attitude towards cultural differences. Such positive viewpoints are essential here on the basis that there are definitely no standards for anything to be called “right” or “wrong”, just cultural differences. If the cultural differences arise, one should consider them valuable chances to look back on his own culture and to be self-aware since “the more one learns about others, the more one sees
  • one’s own culture more clearly. By learning contrast, we can better understand how culture influences individuals and their communication with others” (Nguyen Quang, p.5). 4.4.2. The implication for the study of advertising strategies It is undoubted that culture plays a crucial role in the perception and use of advertising. As a result, it is indispensable for any marketer or multinational company to have a thorough knowledge on the targeted markets, particularly their cultural values and characteristic when they want to promote their product overseas or worldwide. The findings from my study, is expected to bring the useful knowledge when it comes to making advertising strategy for overseas markets in Vietnam or America. 4.4.3. The use of television advertisements in ESL classes 4.4.3.1. Introduction A foreign language learner is expected to have a good command of not only the language itself, but also its culture. Up to now, quite a few new teaching methods have been introduced and applied in Vietnamese classrooms. Many sources such as newspaper articles, songs, short stories, movies, etc… have been used in class as authentic materials for teaching and learning. Yet there have been few attentions paid to the usefulness of television advertisements in ESL classes. The following sections are supposed to present the reasons for which television should be used in ESL classes as well as suggest the methods of using TV commercials for class activities.
  • 4.4.3.2. Why television advertisements? The researcher personally recommends advertisement as an effective tool for second language teaching and learning because of its outstanding features namely availability, variety, authenticity and visual appeals. First of all, the explosion of the Internet and the considerable growth of means of media bring remarkable eases to the advertisement collection. Today, TV commercials are available on the Internet as there are a number of sites to locate commercials of all kinds. Additionally, most of TV ads typically last 30 to 50 seconds only, which makes them easier to select, to manipulate and prepare as well. Another great strong point is that commercials contain authentic content since they are written for native speakers and spoken in authentic English. That TV commercials are created in many different English speaking countries makes it possible for students to have exposure to a variety of English. As a result, by using TV commercials from different locations including the UK, USA, Australia, etc., language teachers can introduce different accents, dialects of English to students, and thereby give them opportunities to expand the reach of their listening and speaking abilities. An additional benefit is the visual elements of TV commercials which are expected to further enhance the ability of students to understand a commercial's meaning. A number of studies suggest that students who are exposed to commercials improve their listening skills and augment their motivation to learn. The visual clues of a TV commercial provide scaffolding for students to assist them to understand the linguistic meanings in the commercial. At the same time, teachers can use the original intent of
  • the commercial and the cultural elements contained therein to teach critical thinking and culture. 4.4.3.3. Developing activities with Commercials In the very first stage, teachers should define the cultural, linguistic, and logical objectives that they desire to focus on when searching for an appropriate TV commercial. The next step after selecting objectives and finding a good TV commercial is developing activities. The researcher would like to suggest 3 activities in the following: 1. Language Finding Since the commercials obviously contain a certain amount of linguistic and lexical data, they are considered useful materials for teaching vocabulary and grammar in ESL class. The objective of the activity The use of this activity aims at making the lesson of vocabulary and grammar more exciting and interesting to students, at the same time bringing them chances to practice the language and thereby strengthen their language skills. The level of student’s English proficiency This activity can be used in class with students at many different levels, including beginner level or Pre-Intermediate as well. The method For the lower level grammar element, teacher can provide students with some new words and structures and ask them to guess their meanings based on the situation and context in the advertisement.
  • In terms of higher levels, these new words and explained grammar can be included in production activities like information gap activities, and presentations. Thanks to this, students can practice and develop their language skills 2. Culture Discovery This activity is based on the fact that there are always messages of one society’s values and attitudes embedded in its advertisements; so it is always worth observing and drawing such typical values hidden in those advertisements. The objective of the activity The aim of designing this activity is to give students chances to discover the cultural values reflected in advertisements and improve their skill of critical analysis as well The level of student’s English proficiency Students are expected to be at the levels of Pre-Intermediate at least The method Teacher asks students to work in groups of four or 3. Before showing the TV commercial, teacher should give students some questions to ponder on the matter related to the advertisement. Then, the ad should be shown 2-3 times to make sure that the students understand the scenario and content of the ad. After that, teacher delivers some topics for students to discuss in groups. Finally, students are supposed to make presentation on the given topic
  • 3. Culture Comparison As a matter of fact, the same product can be advertised in the two distinct ways when it is promoted in two different countries. So there must be different advertising appeals or cultural values employed in the two advertisements of the same products The objective of the activity This activity is aimed to improve student’s awareness on the cultural similarities or differences in these ads The level of student’s English proficiency Students are expected to be at the levels of Intermediate or Upper Intermediate The method Teacher prepares a pair of television advertisements of the same product and delivers them to students who are supposed to work in group of 4 or 5 to analyze and compare two ads. The final output can be the group presentations or a task of writing a compare and contrast essay on the given advertisements. 4.5.Conclusion This chapter has reported the findings and discussed the result for the research questions with regard to literature and come up with the marked reflection of Vietnamese and American cultures in TV advertisements. Besides, the interpretation of the findings and some suggestions by the researcher are expected to improve the understanding of the Vietnamese- American cross culture more thoroughly as well as to encourage the use of TV advertisements in ESL classrooms nowadays.
  • CHAPTER 5. CONCLUSION 5.1 Introduction The present research is aimed at investigating the reflection of American and Vietnamese cultures in their television advertisements. In the previous chapters, the introduction, the literature, the implementation and the results of the research have been thoroughly elaborated. This concluding chapter is supposed to briefly and critically evaluate the outcomes and the contribution of the whole research. Also the research’s limitations will be cited and several suggestions for further studies will be proposed. 5.2. Summary In the sum, this research paper performs as a fairly comprehensive study on the cultural reflection of Vietnamese and American television commercials. Significant findings concerning the research questions have been revealed through a process of the investigation using the method of content analysis. Firstly, the findings show a close relationship between the expression in television advertisements of two groups and their cultural values. Generally speaking, American advertisements faithfully reflect their certain typical cultural values namely the individualism, self-reliance, competition, and directness. Meanwhile, sense of community, indirectness, wish to live in harmony with nature, and allegiance to the family and traditional orientation are proved as the most remarkable values revealed in Vietnamese TV commercials. It is also notable that a great number of American and Vietnamese advertisements make frequent use of youth, modern and status appeals in their ads. There are also distinct differences between two cultures with regard to the attitude towards nature and sex.
  • Based on the findings, the study then suggests some ways to bridge the cultural gap as well as some class activities to use advertisements as an effective tool for learning and teaching in ESL classes. 5.3. Contribution of the study The research is believed to offer some far-reaching implications as follows: In the first place, it contributes to the scarce literature on the cultural reflection of television advertisements in two target nations. Moreover, the study also sheds light on the major similarities and differences in cultural reflection between American and Vietnamese advertisements. Thus, it provides an insight into Vietnamese and American culture, contributing to the mutual understanding between two countries in general and their advertisements in particular. Last but not least, the study gives some useful suggestions which help international companies or organizations who wish to promote their products in America or Vietnam to learn more about the culture of these two targeted markets in order to avoid cultural shock as well as to create successful advertising campaigns. 5.4.Limitations of the study Although this research has been conducted to the best of the researcher’s efforts, time constraint and other unexpected objective factors have led to certain unavoidable limitations involving the collection of the data and the scope of the study. Firstly, the total number of television advertisements collected remained relatively limited. There were only 100 commercials from both countries; thus the reliability of samples might not be ensured.
  • Added to this, the majority of the commercials collected were merely involved in the ads for domestic products of food, drinks, beauty care, household appliance, consequently, it is difficult for the researcher to make a valid generalization about the cultural reflection in TV ads of both cultural groups. Despite the aforementioned shortcomings, the research’s flexibility and serious work is expected to have well retained the validity and reliability of the result. However, it is worth noting that these above shortcomings should always be taken into consideration when further related studies are conducted in the future 5.5. Suggestions for further study Since there have been so far few American- Vietnamese cross- cultural studies on the relationship between advertising and culture, it still offers other researchers large room to conduct further studies. From the researcher’s point of view, further studies should be conducted with broader target subject to increase the generalizability of the findings as well as enhance the validity. Also advertisements on other means such as printed advertising, radio and internet advertising should be considered to be the scope of the follow-up studies.
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