Which language should you advertise to bilinguals in?

When targeting bilingual consumers, advertisers have a choice of advertising in a bilingual’s native language or in the country’s dominant language. Within the U.S. Hispanic community, for example, Kellog’s has a choice of advertising Frosted Flakes in English or in Spanish. But which is the better choice and why?

This research considers whether the choice of language in advertising to bilinguals may influence the types of thoughts they have in response to an advertisement. The underlying issue is whether advertisers can use language of execution as a strategic variable with which to generate certain types of associations that may facilitate persuasion.

We consider this issue from a social cognition perspective. We hypothesize that a native language ad may be more likely to elicit self referent thoughts about family, friends, home or homeland, which in turn may lead to more positive attitude measures and behavioral intentions. Furthermore, we show that these effects are moderated by the consumption context presented in the advertisement.

Source: “Advertising to bilinguals: Does the language of advertising influence the nature of thoughts?” by Noriega, Jaime, Ph.D., UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON, 2006, 47 pages; 3222567

If you want to learn more about these kind of quirks in human perception and communication, I recommend this book. For a witty look at language, I recommend this book.

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