Detergent ads more effective in Hindi: study by Indian Americans

September 16th, 2008 - 11:16 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 16 (IANS) Multinationals marketing luxury goods abroad should publicise them in English, and frame ads for necessities in the local language, for greater communicability and reach, according to a new study by two Indian Americans.Aradhna Krishna and Rohini Ahluwalia of Universities of Michigan and Minnesota, respectively, examined the role of language in advertising in India.

Their results indicate that multinationals marketing products among bilingual populations should pay special attention to language. The authors found that participants’ perceptions of ads changed significantly when different languages were used.

“We find that while the Hindi is associated with “belongingness” (close, personal, friendly, family), English is associated with “sophistication” (global, cosmopolitan, urban, upper class),” the authors wrote.

Participants associated “belongingness” with necessities, such as detergents, and the researchers found that ads for detergent were more effective when they were partially or fully in Hindi.

Conversely, when the product being marketed was a luxury item - chocolate in this case - participants reacted more favourably to ads in English.

The authors also found that participants responded favourably to mixed-language advertising, when words from both languages were found in the advertising slogans.

“Results of this experiment suggest that multinational corporations need to be more cognisant about language choices in global bilingual markets, and it would be ill advised for them to simply follow the choices that appear to be working for the local corporations,” the authors concluded.

Their findings are scheduled for publication in the December edition of the Journal of Consumer Research.

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