Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2211-7245
  • E-ISSN: 2211-7253
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Foreign languages are commonly used in advertising, because it is generally thought that they attract consumers’ attention. Compared to English, Italian is only rarely chosen by European advertisers. Precisely because of their low frequency, Italian words have a higher chance to capture and hold the consumers’ attention. Although foreign languages are widespread in advertising, the effectiveness of their use has not been studied extensively. In our study on print advertisements we compare the effectiveness of a foreign language slogan (Italian) relative to a slogan in the local language (Dutch). More specifically, we focus on the effects of foreign language usage on cognitive, affective and conative consumer responses. Cognitive responses include spontaneous and prompted recall of the slogan and the brand name. Affective responses pertain to the attitude towards the slogan, the brand and the advertisement. Conative response was defined in terms of purchase intention. Our sample consisted of 236 subjects of different age and educational level from the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. These participants had little or no knowledge of the Italian language. The experiment had a between-subjects design. Participants either saw the Italian or the Dutch version of the advertisement. In order to optimize the effectiveness of the use of the foreign language, we ensured a match between foreign language, country of origin, and the advertised product. Therefore, we created an advertisement for Italian wines with visual elements (a picture and a drawing) evoking Italy. Additionally, we chose easy Italian words, as previous research has shown that slogans with easy foreign words are more appreciated than difficult slogans. The results of our study show that the Dutch slogan was more effective for the spontaneous and prompted recall of the brand name. The language of the slogan had no effect on participants’ attitudes towards the brand, the slogan and the advertisement. By contrast, the Italian slogan had a positive effect on participants’ purchase intentions. The article ends with some concluding remarks and suggestions for future research.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): attitude; Foreign language use in advertising; purchase intention; recall
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