How Culture Affects Advertising in the UAE and Japan

1088 words | 4 page(s)

Executive Summary
Countries that are not considered Western have different cultural nuances that affect the ways they market products, goods, and services to local citizens. In the West, consumers are often more responsive to price discounts and other advertising tools that promote a sense of value and savings (Anderson & He, 2006). However, in the East, social status and prestige plays a larger factor in how people make their purchases. Anderson & He (2006) explain that consumers in Eastern countries like China like to buy certain items because of their ability to signify wealth and luxury.

In the countries of the United Arab Emirates and Japan, cultural factors affect the way that advertising messages are delivered to customers and, as a result, how certain products are marketed to different demographics. In the UAE, businesses and brands have begun to embrace the use of social media marketing to take advantage of recent advancements in technology. McGinley (2019) writes that the UAE’s business sector is heavily influenced by the activity of influencers on social media. So much so that a large percentage of industry professionals believe that purchasing decisions are influenced by popular social media users and that there is a significant industry based impact that these popular users have on the fields they market within (para. 4). To be more concise, the use of influencer marketing to build a brand and gain new customers has become something that companies in the UAE cannot ignore; and this is a direct consequence of the growth of social media in the country.

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On the other hand, Japan’s creation of anime has led to the country having a media market that has “grown into something that can be on par with Hollywood” (Murai, 2016, para. 3). Because of their biggest export’s cultural and global influence, many advertisers use anime based commercials to sell products and promote their availability to consumers. With this being said, the proposed research project aims to find out how the UAE and Japan’s cultural traits influence the way that products and services are marketed to consumers in these countries. Also, this project will study the consumers themselves and what their personal preferences are.

Research Question
The research question for this project is “How do the cultural traits of the UAE and Japan affect the way that marketers advertise products to consumers in both countries?” This will be the research question for the project because the term “cultural traits” will include research about the aforementioned personal preferences of consumers and how their countries’ governments and cultures influence their perspectives.

Hypothesis/Main Argument of Project
The hypothesis of this project is that the use of influencer marketing and other types of social media promotion will lead to more innovation and organic reach within their markets. Also, when it comes to the use and growth of anime, it is believed that the same will be true in Japan. For Japan, this hypothesis is believed to be true because anime has positively exposed the country to the rest of the world. For the UAE, this hypothesis is believed to be true influencer marketing allows consumers to see their peers promoting products and services. By seeing someone that lives a similar lifestyle to them, they may begin to trust a brand’s offering more than others. In the UAE advertising is regulated, which means that the use of social media as a legitimate advertising and tool must be carefully done (Government of the United Arab Emirates, n.d.). However, the UAE is learning on the fly just like Japan is, and the research project will study how both countries’ governments have been responding to their citizens’ demands for more anime and social media marketing.

This research project will be a qualitative study that will compile primary and secondary resources that explain the UAE and Japan’s advertising and media laws and how consumers think and behave in both countries. Researching the advertising laws in both countries is very important, as regulations on media and commerce can greatly influence how consumers interact with brands and how social media influencers, brand ambassadors, and other contracted marketers are able to practice their careers and engage with their audiences. Also, because anime has grown to be its own media genre and platform, Japan may not fully recognize how to apply regulatory rules and practices to the art form yet.

The secondary sources that will be used in the research project are books that discuss marketing and advertising in different markets and peer reviewed journal articles that discuss topics such as advertising, marketing, consumer behavior, government regulations, and other related topics that would help gain information on and describe how cultural factors can affect advertising in the UAE and Japan. Along with these resources, business news stories from domestic publications in the UAE and Japan will be referenced as well, as they provide a local, real-time perspective on the advertising practices of both countries.

Significance of the Study
This research project is significant because it will give marketers and advertisers information on how different markets outside of the West communicate with their consumers. It will also show that countries outside of the West are very unique and are often in touch with traditions that have been in place for centuries. In the West, old traditions were given up in the name of enlightenment and progress. Because of this, a lot of Western countries are actually very similar in culture. Outside of the West, countries operate with agriculture economies, religions that are tribal or family based, and governments that strive to keep religious or social order while also building up strong economies. Knowing this, the proposed research study will attempt to show how advertising helps build these economies while also sticking with unique cultural norms. 

  • Anderson, P. M. & He, X. (2006). Chapter 11: Consumer behavior in east/west cultures: Implications for marketing a consumer durable. In Rao, C. P. (Ed.) Marketing and multicultural diversity. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
  • Government of the United Arab Emirates. (n.d.). Media in the UAE. Retrieved September 16, 2019 from https://www.government.ae/en/media/media.
  • McGinley, S. (2019, September 19). ABTV Crossfire debate: Is influencer marketing worth the investment? Arabian Business. Retrieved from https://www.arabianbusiness.com/media/428326-abtv-crossfire-debate-is-influencer-marketing-worth-the-investment.
  • McGinley, S. (2019, September 19). ABTV Crossfire debate: Is influencer marketing worth the investment? Arabian Business. Retrieved from https://www.arabianbusiness.com/media/428326-abtv-crossfire-debate-is-influencer-marketing-worth-the-investment.
  • Murai, S. (2016, September 16). Anime and manga to play bigger role in luring tourists to Japan. The Japan Times. Retrieved from https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/16/national/anime-manga-play-bigger-role-luring-tourists-japan/#.XX_Vy2jYrnE.

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