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30 September 2020
The Use of Foreign Language in Consumer Marketing
This Special Issue will publish papers that explore the use of foreign language in advertising, branding, or other consumer marketing decisions. Consider first the advertising decision, including promotion on social media. Foreign language may be used as a cue to the country of origin of a product (such as French perfume or German cars); a French voice-over on a TV ad for a French product is unexpected and may be a useful subtle cue, even if the ad is shown in countries where French is not widely spoken. There is also a possible negative effect, if the viewer is confused or irritated by being unable to understand the message. Effectiveness of foreign language in advertising may differ by country or region as well; it may be seen as less of a novelty in Europe than in the U.S. which tends to have fewer speakers of multiple languages.
Foreign (or foreign-sounding) words are used in branding as well. An Indian or Japanese company may use an English brand name to build a global reputation for a brand. Conversely, Unilever sells fabric softener under multiple brand names (Coccolino, Cajoline, Kuschelweich), always matching the brand name with the country of sale; and Haägen-Dazs, while meaningless, was used as a U.S. based ice cream brand to connote foreignness. There is also the issue of choosing a local name for an exported brand. Many of the famous examples are Chinese versions of Western brand names, which may sound alike (but have no meaning), or carry a positive meaning (but not sound alike). The cleverest Chinese brand names capture both the sound and meaning. IKEA's Chinese name means "suitable for your home" and is pronounced very similarly to IKEA in most European languages.
The Journal of International Consumer Marketing has recently published a few articles on the topic of foreign language use, and we are hoping to build this as a specialty area within the Journal. We would like JICM to become a go-to journal for researchers in the area of language issues pertaining to consumer marketing, so we are hoping to attract the best and latest research on this topic to expand the knowledge base and inspire future research studies in this stream.
This Special Issue welcomes manuscripts related to the issue of the use of foreign language in consumer marketing. Invited topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The use and effectiveness of foreign language as a subtle cue in advertising or on social media
- The use and effectiveness of foreign language in brand name selection
- The connotations of the choice of foreign language in advertising or branding (which language to choose?)
- Matching foreign language in advertising or brand with country or origin, or country of manufacture
- Differences in responses to foreign language use by country or culture
- Unintended or unexpected consequences of foreign language in advertising or branding (is it unnoticed? Annoying or irritating? Unintentionally humorous?)
- Level of comprehension of foreign language in advertising (does it matter if the viewer does not understand the foreign language in the advertising?)
- Best practices in using foreign language in advertising
- Best practices in using foreign language in brand name selection
- Foreign brand name selection, when entering China or other markets where the original name could be translated for meaning, sound, or both
- The decision to use one brand worldwide, or two or more brands where brand names are matched to the local language
- Legal issues concerning foreign language use in labeling and packaging, and how marketers should respond
Of course, this is a partial list, and other similar topics on the use of foreign language in consumer marketing will also be acceptable. If in doubt, please contact the Special Issue Editor.
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- For formatting, please follow the instructions for submission on the JICM webpage.
- Typical page length is roughly 30-40 pages including everything (references, tables, figures, appendices, etc.), Times New Roman 12 font with normal margins double-spaced.
- Conceptual and theoretical papers are acceptable, as well as empirical papers. All methodologies are welcome (survey, interview, case study, experiment, action research, etc.).
- Expected publication date: Mid to late 2021.
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