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Title: When and how does Singlish outperform English? Explicating the roles of language variation and ethnic cues in advertising effectiveness
Authors: Goh, Xin Yun
Lee, Yan Jie
Loon, Bryan Kin Tat
Por, Xin Rong
Keywords: Social sciences::Communication
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Project: CS/19/041
Abstract: Amidst increasingly globalised consumer markets, international brands have been experimenting with localised advertising strategies to build rapport with ethnic audiences. One such strategy is the utilisation of local languages in ads. In Singapore, the prevalence of two English language systems (i.e., Standard English and Singlish) is ideal for studying how language variation affects advertising effectiveness. Informed by the Communication Accommodation Theory, and literature on ethnic cues and perceived warmth, this study explicated how language variation and ethnic cues in ads influence purchase intentions across high- and low-involvement products. Our findings demonstrated that, for a high-involvement product (i.e., laptop), when ethnic cues were absent, participants perceived more warmth toward the Singlish (vs. Standard English) ad, leading to increased purchase intentions. Conversely, when ethnic cues were present, participants’ perceived warmth of the Singlish ad did not differ from that of the Standard English ad. For a low-involvement product (i.e., instant coffee), participants indicated higher purchase intentions when viewing the ad with ethnic cues than the ad without ethnic cues. Our findings advanced literature on the effect of language variation on advertising efficacy, identified ethnic cues as the boundary condition influencing language variation, and perceived warmth as an underlying mechanism.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:WKWSCI Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI/CA)

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