Appeals and Cultural Values in Chinese Television Commercials

Feng Shen


China is the world’s fastest growing advertising market, and better understanding of the Chinese market is therefore crucial for both domestic and international advertisers. The objective of this study is to investigate two aspects of Chinese advertising that are under-explored in the literature. One is the use of appeals and cultural values in television commercials for indigenous Chinese brands. The other is the difference in the use of appeals and cultural valuesacross product categories. A content analysis is conducted to examine the use of appeals and cultural values in 428 prime-time Chinese television commercials for indigenous brands. While overall there is more use of rational appeals and less use of emotional appeals in goods advertising than in service advertising, the use of appeals and cultural values varies within goods categories. There is in fact more use of emotional appeals than rational appeals in the beauty and personal care category and the clothing category, and there is no difference in appeals in the food and drink category. These results are likely due to product characteristics, that is, rational appeals are associated with utilitarian products and emotional appeals are associated with hedonic products. The findings reported in this study have important managerial implications, particularly for international advertisers, to choose the right appeal and cultural values for their products.

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International Business Research  ISSN 1913-9004 (Print), ISSN 1913-9012 (Online)

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