'Made in Germany, that sounds reliable': the effect of foreign language and country-of-origin in advertisements for hedonic and utilitarian products.

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The use of foreign languages in branding is a common phenomenon in the marketing industry. Marketing strategists use foreign consumer culture positioning (FCCP) to associate their brand with a foreign culture and thus imply a certain country-of-origin (COO). There is a distinction between hedonic and utilitarian products in the marketing literature suggesting that people have different attitudes towards them. Given the fact that some foreign languages and hedonic products are judged on aesthetic features, it was expected that foreign-language display (FLD) works better for hedonic products. On the other hand, COO concerns the qualitative features of a country, therefore a COO mention was expected to work better for utilitarian products. This study investigated the effect of FLD and COO for hedonic and utilitarian products. A total of 235 participants were asked to evaluate one advertisement on several dimensions. Crystal wine glasses were used as the hedonic product type and all purpose cleaner as the utilitarian product type. In contrast with most of the literature, it was found that COO and FLD did not have a significant effect on the consumer’s perception. However, participants perceived the crystal wine glasses as more hedonic and the all purpose cleaner as more utilitarian. Moreover, consumers evaluated products as being of higher quality when they appealed to hedonic features. No significant results were found for the use of COO or FLD on the consumer’s perception. Practitioners could use these findings in constructing their marketing strategies as a competitive advantage. Future research should further investigate the influence of different product types with other products. Furthermore, foreign language and COO should be examined for other languages in order to find evidence in concurrence with earlier literature suggesting an effect for foreign languages and COO.
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