Advertising & Colonialism: A cross cultural analysis intoshared cultural values between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom
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Hong Kong is an interesting case study for intercultural communication since Western and Eastern societies seem to differ in cultural characteristics, and Hong Kong’s culture is influenced by both, namely Mainland China and the United Kingdom. The aim of this study was twofold. The primary research question focused on the visible shared cultural values of Hong Kong and the United Kingdom in television advertisements which can be related to their colonial history. The secondary research question focused on whether Hofstede’s dimensions (i.e. power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism versus collectivism and masculinity versus femininity) are suitable for analysing television ads. The methods used were a conventional content analysis (inductive research) and a directed content analysis (deductive research). For the latter, Hofstede’s dimensions were operationalised based on Pollay’s advertising appeals. Mainland China was included to the analysis to function as a benchmark. The analysed advertisements were from restaurant chain McDonalds and focused on (Chinese) New Year. The findings of the conventional analysis showed that there was a focus on the following dimensions: masculinity and femininity, symbolism, history and tradition (long term orientation versus short term orientation which is Hofstede’s fifth dimension), individualism versus collectivism and power distance. The results of the directed content analysis demonstrated that the collectivistic dimension was clearly visible in each ad of every country and that Hong Kong and the UK had similar scores on the masculinity dimension. In answering the primary research question, it was found that there was no clear evidence of shared cultural values in the TV ads. Furthermore, Hofstede’s dimensions are in general suitable for analysing television advertisements, which relates to the secondary question. The results showed the importance of Hofstede's long term orientation versus short term orientation dimension in analysing TV ads. Future research conducting similar comparative studies can benefit by including this dimension.