Consumer perception and decoding of language-mixed advertisements in the Swedish consumer market

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Sektionen för ekonomi och teknik (SET); Högskolan i Halmstad/Sektionen för ekonomi och teknik (SET)

Author: Maryia Hrakhouskaya; Veronica Königsson; [2010]

Keywords: ;


The present study focuses on the phenomenon of using foreign language, or a language mix in advertising messages on the Swedish consumer market. The purpose established for the research was to see if the use of English language or an English-Swedish language mix of advertisement message in the Swedish consumer market has an effect on how consumers perceive, and interpret the advertising messages. Twelve different advertisements were chosen, the featured products were of various kinds, most targeting both females and males; such as training/walking shoes and hair products. Contrary to this some advertisements were chosen specifically for female/male consumers, for example women’s/men’s perfume. Furthermore, most of the advertisements were chosen because they could be viewed as appealing for consumers no matter the consumers’ age.

The employed research methodology was qualitative. The empirical data was obtained through in-depth, face to face interviews with 27 respondents. The collected data was then analyzed based on the established theoretical framework; the objective was to see if similarities or differences could be found between the two consumer groups of native Swedish consumers and immigrant consumers. The analytical methods used for this were pattern matching as well as analytic induction.

The results of the study revealed that age, gender, knowledge of English and cultural background appeared to interact with the consumer’s response towards the advertisement’s language. Younger Swedish respondents and immigrant respondents that have English as their dominant language perceived the use of English language in Swedish advertisements as a positive phenomena and consider it as a more powerful, persuasive and convincing marketing tool, due to their higher level of English knowledge. Older Swedish respondents on the other hand, had more negative perception and emotions towards the English language in Swedish advertisements and preferred to see more Swedish language in marketing messages.

While the sample choices and chosen qualitative methodology limit the generalizability and explanatory power of results, this study should be of use for marketers in Sweden; especially while the construction of communication messages is delivered using language mixing.

Finally, the results of this study may be helpful to researchers continuing in this line of inquiry; in particular, the results should be tested and later replicated to establish their validity and generalizability.  The results of the study can be implemented in the marketing industry in Sweden and taken into consideration in terms of the construction of messages in the advertisements in the Swedish market.

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