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International Advertising Practices of Multinational Companies in Europe and the Middle-East

Attour, S.I. (1999). International Advertising Practices of Multinational Companies in Europe and the Middle-East. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This thesis investigates the international advertising practices of a sample of multinational companies operating in Europe and the Middle East. It investigates whether, and how, multinational companies standardise the advertising executions deployed in the sampled markets. The objective of the study was to investigate the detailed forms of international advertising standardisation actually practised by the sampled companies, and establish how widely spread they were across the standardisation spectrum in terms of the standardisation practised.

A content analysis model was designed to measure the similarities/differences among the advertisements of the sampled brands appearing in the selected markets. The model analysed whether the sampled companies standardised a number of key executional elements for the advertising executions in the selected markets. The sample for this study consisted of fifty-one multinational brands, and the number of countries investigated in this research was nine major European and Middle Eastern countries.

The results obtained from this study demonstrated that the practice of modified or partial forms of advertising standardisation is widespread and that the practice of total standardisation is rare. It also showed that international advertising standardisation can take many forms in terms of what executional elements are standardised, the extent to which each of these elements are standardised and how this can vary across markets. The implications of these findings are important, and it is clear that to categorise all those companies that neither totally adapt nor totally standardise their advertising executions as being “modified” is of limited descriptive value. Since the practices of these companies can vary significantly, they should not be categorised as a homogeneous group.

The sampled multinational companies were very flexible in the way they employed standardisation. Standardisation practices ranged from just standardising one executional element in the some national executions, to totally standardising executions in all markets. This demonstrates how flexible standardisation is and how it can be customised to a wide range of situations.

The variables ‘product category’ and ‘country of origin of the multinational company’ were found to be key variables influencing the level of advertising standardisation practised by the sampled companies. Furthermore, the practices of the sampled companies indicated that standardised messages were more likely to be transferred among Western markets, than Western and Eastern markets.

Another finding of this thesis is the demonstration, for the first time, that there exists a relationship between the key variables ‘product category’ and ‘host- market’. It was indicated that these two variables jointly influence the level of advertising standardisation practised by MNCs.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Departments: Bayes Business School > Bayes Business School Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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