Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2017

Thesis Advisor(s)

Robin Coulter

Honors Major

Marketing

Disciplines

Advertising and Promotion Management | International and Intercultural Communication | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Spanish Linguistics

Abstract

Due to globalization, multinational companies are increasingly cognizant of the language used in marketing materials. The growing Hispanic population in the U.S. and the increasing desire to learn and consume English in Spain makes marketers think twice about how they use language. This research is multi-method, using in-depth interviews and an experiment to learn more about how languages are used in advertisements to target monolingual and bilingual consumers within a country, and how consumers respond to monolingual and bilinguals advertisements.

I started by interviewing two marketing managers with experience in bilingual advertising in various media to better understand their decisions to use English, Spanish, or some combination of the two languages in advertisements. Afterward, I conducted 12 interviews with parents (bilingual, monolingual English, monolingual Spanish) in the U.S. and Spain to examine their different cultural values, and how these cultural values influenced their reactions to bilingual toy advertisements. Finally, I examined the effects of bilingual versus monolingual toy advertisements on 275 parents (bilingual, monolingual English, monolingual Spanish) of children aged 6-10 in the U.S. and Spain. This study demonstrated that bilingual and monolingual advertisements were equally effective in creating an overall positive attitude toward the ad/company/products, perceiving the company in the ad as international, encouraging parents to raise more culturally open children, and increasing support of foreign language education. In addition, the cross cultural nature of this study revealed that U.S. English-speaking parents are less culturally open and less interested in supporting foreign language education than their Bilingual and Spanish dominant peers in the U.S. and Spain.