Advertising creativity in China: an examination of Chinese industry perceptions and consumer responses to advertising creativity

Bilby, J 2014, Advertising creativity in China: an examination of Chinese industry perceptions and consumer responses to advertising creativity, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Advertising creativity in China: an examination of Chinese industry perceptions and consumer responses to advertising creativity
Author(s) Bilby, J
Year 2014
Abstract There is little doubt that creativity is central to the role and practice of advertising. Yet, for all that is written and said about it, there is a surprising lack of empirical knowledge around advertising creativity, and what there is, is largely derived from US and European-based research and observation. If we accept that advertising theory and phenomena are culturally bound, then the situation for China with its distinctive cultural context, should lead us to reconsider some of the theories and practices that Western advertising takes for granted.

This research examines the rapidly growing Chinese market, investigating industry notions of change in the advertising industry and comparing consumer responses from both high and low Chinese city tiers, to address many of the questions that are currently left unanswered around the role and effect of advertising creativity.

The research is divided into two main studies. The first study involved a series of depth interviews with advertising practitioners operating in China. As such, it gives a unique, insiders’ view of the dynamic Chinese advertising industry. Many themes emerged from these practitioner interviews. Most notably, advertising professionals expressed frustration at the lack of understanding and appreciation of the role and value of creativity on the part of their clients. Many also reported that their clients appear to regard consumers – especially those from lower tier Chinese cities - with a degree of disdain. In particular, clients were said to view these consumers as less likely to appreciate advertising creativity than those in higher tier cities.

The second study builds on this latter theme to explore Chinese consumer views of advertising creativity. On this basis, an online survey was conducted across China – in both high and low city tiers - to determine whether advertising creativity was equally effective for reaching and persuading different populations. This phase also examined cultural uncertainty avoidance and individual creativity to determine, firstly, their potential to moderate the impact of advertising creativity. Secondly, to explore the possibility that consumers in high tier cities are more or less tolerant of ambiguity, or more or less creative, than their lower tier counterparts.

The quantitative findings of this research pointed to the fact that Chinese consumers appreciate and respond favourably to creative advertising, regardless of which city tier they are from. Additionally, consumers from higher tier Chinese cities were not found to be any more or less creative - or conservative - than their compatriots in the less developed, lower tier cities.

Overall, the research provides an investigation of practitioner perceptions of advertising creativity in China, and the relationships between cognitive and affective processing, uncertainty avoidance and individual creativity for Chinese consumers. In doing so, it exposes a need for advertising clients and their agencies to better understand - and thus engage with – their Chinese consumers, both current and future. In taking international advertising creativity research ‘out of the office and into the field’, this research also contributes to a deeper understanding of how marketers can best communicate with consumers in China.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Economics, Finance and Marketing
Keyword(s) advertising creativity
uncertainty avoidance
individual creativity
advertising practitioners
Chinese city tiers
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Created: Tue, 28 Nov 2017, 13:35:51 EST by Keely Chapman
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