Theoretical and Practical Perspectives
Verbal Communication: Copy and Dialogue
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Culture-Bound: Comparative Advertising: Comparative advertising is generally used to claim superiority over competing brands regarding some aspect of the product. In the United States, not only is comparative advertising legal, but the Federal Trade Commission actually encourages comparative campaigns because they are seen as providing consumers with much-needed information for making purchase decisions. International marketers must understand that the technique may be banned in some markets, and in a process of change in others.
Within the European Union, comparative advertising had been allowed in the United Kingdom for more than a quarter of a century (and nearly 30 percent of all ads were comparative in nature), but for many years, comparative messages were all but banned in other European countries. In an attempt to harmonize advertising regulation on the continent, a European Union directive was passed whose aim is to promote honesty and fair play by regulating ads that compare one product with another. Any ads, anywhere in Europe, that in any way, either explicitly or implicitly, identify a competitor or goods and services offered by a competitor are subject to strict legal regulation. Among other things, ads must not create confusion in the marketplace, discredit or denigrate competitors, or take unfair advantage of the reputation of a rival (Staheli 2000).
In some markets, while not banned, comparative appeals simply are not employed. In Japan, for example, cultural norms reflect Japanese advertisers’ reluctance to use comparative advertising, which connotes a confrontational practice...
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