Understanding the impact of visual image and communication style on consumers’ response to sport advertising and brand : a cross-cultural comparison
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In communicating with international markets, one of the key issues is culture. In particular, visual and communication convention are substantial cultural elements, which influence advertising effects. Prior literature suggests that visual and communication culture are different between Western and Asian countries. Past research has indicated that complex visual images, which rely on implicit pictorial images, can be better processed by consumers in collectivist cultures. These researchers further suggest that consumers of individualist cultures are more accustomed to simple visual images that carry direct pictorial images than to implict visual images. Also, prior communication literature posits that while consumers in collectivist cultures value implicit verbal messages, those in individualist cultures regard explicit messages as more effective. Given the literature, this study sought to understand how these cultural preferences influence consumers’ evaluation of the sport ad and brand, and their purchase intentions. The study employed a mixed method. In the experimental section, the study tested the effects of visual images, communication styles, and culture on attitudes and purchase intentions. The qualitative portion sought to explore consumers’ thoughts and feelings toward visual images and communication styles of sport print advertising. For Koreans, the experimental results showed that the complex visual image, high context verbal communication, and the presence of both characteristics induced favorable attitudes toward the ad and brand. These results were also supported by the Korean interview findings. However, the experimental results indicated that regardless of visual images and communication styles, Americans exhibited overall positive attitudes toward the ad and brand. These results were consistent with the American interview findings. Purchase intention was not influenced by visual image type or communication style for either ethnic group. The unexpected findings for American markets were discussed by external and internal influences embedded in America society. Given the findings and discussions, the study proposed two practical frameworks in persuading national and international sport markets: The implicit superiority and schism-bridge effect frameworks.