Netherlands, Utrecht (Driebergen, de Baak Campus)

Global advertising adaptation: A different smile, a different story

when 5 August 2013 - 9 August 2013
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 575

In the early 20th century (as well as today), global brands tend to adapt their global advertisements for culturally specific consumers. For example, a corpus of USA ads and Chinese ads for global brands of the early 20th century shows that ads originating in USA or Europe are seldom used without alterations for the Chinese market. Usually more substantial adaptations are made than a mere 'translation' of verbal parts. A rhetorical reconstruction of cultural readings of the ads shows that the adaptations can be understood as being necessary to invite a reading that fits within the Chinese consumer’s cultural system. If the USA template strongly invites an informational reading, or a transformational reading that merely relates to values of individual expression, a redesign is made that invites a transformational reading related to social values in China.

In this course we review the literature on this fascinating field of cross-cultural commercial communication. You will also closely follow the developments of the Utrecht-Xiamen project that focuses on American - Chinese and European - Chinese adaptations.

You will learn about a not yet widespread method to contribute to this field of research: critical rhetorical analysis, as well as about more traditional quantitative approaches.

This course - of course! - is co-taught by Chinese and European teachers from Xiamen University and Utrecht University. However, we take the Chinese adaptations only as a fascinating example. We expect participants to come up with interesting examples in which their own culture (as a source or as a target culture) plays a part.

Course leader

Paul van den Hoven

Target group

This course is a multidisciplinary course on advanced bachelor level. This implies that some preparatory readings are expected from participants on disciplinary fields that they are not familiar with. No specific, in depth knowledge of statistics is required. We hope to attract students from social sciences as well as cultural studies, discourse studies and media studies.

Course aim

1. The student has a basic knowledge of the literature on cross cultural advertising;
2. The student has developed a grounded opinion about 'glocalization' issues in advertisement;
3. The student has a basic knowledge of different methodologies applied in this field as well as their strengths and weaknesses;
4. The student is able to make basic analyses of invited readings of multimodal advertisements.

Credits info

Certificate of Attendance

Fee info

EUR 575: Course + course materials + housing + mealplan


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.

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