Advertising and Identity in Europe: The I of the Beholder

Advertising and Identity in Europe: The I of the Beholder


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ISBN-13: 9781841508702
Publisher: Intellect, Limited
Publication date: 01/28/2003
Pages: 138
Product dimensions: 70.00(w) x 92.50(h) x 2.50(d)

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Advertising and Identity in Europe

The I of the Beholder

By Jackie Cannon, Patricia Anne, Odber de Baubeta, Robin Warner

Intellect Ltd

Copyright © 2000 Intellect Ltd
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-84150-872-6


Image and Spanish Country of Origin Effect

J. Enrique Bigné

Universitat Jaume I, Spain


The aim of this paper is to analyse the 'made in' or country of origin effect. The first studies on the subject appeared in the 1970s and since then a lot of research papers have discussed both the existence and argued relevance of the country of origin as an identifiable selling feature. Peterson & Jolibert (1995) counted more than two hundred papers on the topic published in international journals and presented at conferences. This current study is based on the preliminary idea that the country of origin of a product is an extrinsic attribute that influences consumer assessment of that product.

Some argue that the country of origin has little impact on product selection while others believe that this additional attribute allows clearer differentiation between products (Bilkey & Nes, 1982; Papadopoulos & Heslop, 1993; Peterson & Jolibert, 1995). Nevertheless, there are certain features which influence the impact of the country of origin effect. These include increased trade flows; greater standardisation of products; closer economic integration exemplified by the European Union and Mercosur in South America; and more common international division of production, resulting in hybrid products (Ettenson & Gaeth, 1991). A new phenomenon has emerged: products are made in more than one country. This is the case of a personal computer whose parts are made in Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia or wherever, assembled in Germany, and sold, perhaps, in South America. These patterns work in favour of the importance of country of origin effect. In fact, the country of origin may be seen as a competitive advantage. In addition, some companies are now also using regional brands, like 'Made in Europe'. This new general brand is critical for the country of origin effect.

Conceptual framework

A general conceptual framework of country of origin can be seen in Figure 1. Three different effects can be distinguished: cognitive, affective and normative. They can have an influence on attitudes and preferences, both generic and for specific product categories made in one country. These are moderated by demographic and psychographic factors, such as personality, values and lifestyle and can affect consumers' buying intentions. Attitudes towards products made in one country involve an affective response involving positive or negative values, feelings or emotions triggered by the country or its products. Preference, on the other hand, reflects a choice between a number of options.

Our review of the literature has shown a lot of empirical research on this subject. Much of it has focused on testing the influence of the country of origin effect on attitudes, at the level of brands (D'Asthous & Ahmed, 1993; Eroglu & Machleit, 1989; Wall, Liefeld & Heslop, 1991), product categories (Cicic, Tsai & Patterson, 1993; Cordell, 1992; Minor & Hodges, 1993; Miquel, Newman, Bigné & Chansarkar, 1993), industrial products (Cattin, Jolibert & Lohnes, 1982; Kaynak & Cavusgil, 1983; Kaynak & Kucukemiroglu, 1992; White & Cundiff, 1978), consumer products (Babb, Lascu & Vann, 1993; Bannister & Saunders, 1978) and even the influence of the retailer (Chao, 1989; Han & Terpstra, 1988). On the other hand, some research has focused on the influence of country of origin effect on preferences, both generic (Chao, 1989; Etzel & Walker, 1974; Kaynak & Cavusgil, 1983) and for specific industrial products (Cattin, Jolibert & Lohnes, 1982; Nagashima, 1977).

As well as empirical research, some efforts have been made to develop conceptual frameworks that explain the country of origin/made in effect construct. It is necessary to evaluate the importance of each of the three aspects: cognitive, affective and normative.

There are two approaches to the cognitive aspect: one is known as the halo approach (Ericksson, Johansson & Chao, 1984; Johansson, Douglas & Nonaka, 1985) and the other one is the summary (Han, 1989). Country of origin as a halo directly affects consumers' beliefs about product attributes and indirectly affects overall evaluation of products through those beliefs:

country image -> beliefs -> brand attitude

and summary construct suggests the following relationships:

beliefs -> country image -> brand attitude.

For the affective aspect, two variables have been considered: beliefs (Ericksson, Johansson & Chao, 1984; Cordell, 1992) and attitudes (Han, 1989).

Finally a normative aspect, understood as the external and internal pressures on the consumer (Sharma, Shimp & Shin, 1995), has been more recently incorporated. This includes measuring ethnocentrism and the CETSCALE (Shimp & Sharma, 1987) which will be explained later.

The concept of ethnocentrism was originally developed in sociology almost a hundred years ago. Later, it was adapted to analysing consumer behaviour. As Shimp & Sharma (1987) pointed out, we can consider country of origin as a feature which influences beliefs held by consumers on the appropriateness, even the morality, of buying products made abroad. Shimp & Sharma (1987) measured this belief through a scale developed by them, known as the CETSCALE (Consumer Ethnocentrism Scale), plotting the responses to seventeen statements on a seven-point Likert scale. Figure 2 shows the scale proposed originally by Shimp & Sharma (1987).

Since then, only a few studies have been carried out using this scale in different cultures. Among them Netemeyer, Durvasula & Lichtenstein (1991) used it in Japan, the United States, Germany and France; Pecotich, Presley & Roth (1993) in Australia; and later Sharma, Shimp & Shin (1995) in Korea. No research has yet been carried out in a homogeneous cultural and socio-economic context such as the European Union. Sharma, Shimp & Shin (1995) also identified some moderating variables: some demographic and economic, such as gender, age, education and income, and some psychographic, like patriotism, cultural openness and perception of economic threat.


Little research has been done on country of origin and consumer ethnocentrism at European level and even less in Spain. It was with this in mind that we carried out an empirical study in continuance of an earlier one, from 1991. Our current objectives are as follows.

Firstly, we want to study attitudes towards foreign products, and for some specific product categories made in Spain. As we discussed earlier, attitudes towards 'made in' as a product attribute are critical for later consumption.

Secondly, we aim to measure general and specific preferences towards product categories made in particular countries.

Thirdly, the appropriateness of buying products made abroad measured by the CETSCALE was investigated. This will lead to some explanations of consumers' behaviour regarding the choice of foreign versus national products. For these purposes, we carried out an empirical study in four European countries: France, Germany, Spain and the UK. We selected five product categories of great impact on the Spanish economy: footwear, toys, tourist resorts, oranges and wine, widely recognised by consumers in each country.

We used a personal interview to obtain information using the CETSCALE about individuals' degree of openness to foreign issues, the degree of knowledge of other countries, the degree of familiarity with the products, scales of specific attitudes to product categories, specific preference for product categories and ethnocentrism beliefs. We obtained a sample of 176 German respondents, 450 Spaniards, 173 from France and 206 from the UK.

Analysis of results

A survey carried out by Gallup gave us some preliminary information: 20,000 respondents from 20 different countries participated in the Gallup survey (BozellGallup, 1994). In the worldwide survey, the most preferred countries were Japan, Germany, United States, United Kingdom and France. Within Europe: Germany, Japan, the United States, the UK and France were the most preferred countries.

In 1991, we undertook a study in Spain and the UK (Miquel, Bigné & Newman, 1993) from which we can conclude that:

• Spaniards preferred national products.

• The British view of Spanish products was neutral.

• Spanish fruit and vegetables had a clearly differentiated image.

• Spain has a low competitive position in wines, cars and toys.

• There was a low knowledge of Spanish brands.

• The best attributes for Spanish products were price, design and appearance.

Generic attitude towards foreign products

In order to analyse the general attitude towards foreign products, a question was asked regarding feelings about buying products manufactured abroad. The response was scored from 1 (very unfavourable) to 11 (very favourable).

Graph 1 shows the distribution of frequencies for the whole sample. Distribution is normal, with higher peaking in average values.

Table 1 shows the distribution of frequencies. We have divided feelings into four quartiles. From the table we can deduce that the respondents who express the most negative feelings are the French and the British, the least negative feelings towards foreign products being expressed by Germans and Spaniards. The mean values also show the situation of each group of respondents.

The variance analysis of the attitude towards foreign products confirms the existence of significant differences between countries.

Attitudes towards specific product categories

In our current study, focused on specific attitudes towards some product categories, we have found that shoes made in Spain are perceived, on a scale from 1 to 7, as follows (mean scores in brackets):

For Germans, they have a good appearance (5.0), reasonable price (4.9) and modern design (4.9). French consumers considered that Spanish shoes have wide variety (5.3), give a satisfactory result (5.2), have a good appearance (5.0) and are for the lower classes. Spanish respondents thought that Spanish shoes have a good appearance (5.9), are reliable (5.7) and well finished (5.6). Amongst the British respondents, Spanish shoes obtained intermediate values and they only emphasise good appearance (4.7). To sum up, we can consider that good appearance is the key cue for Spanish shoes, useful in a fashion product category. Consequently the strategic promotion effort must be directed towards emphasising this external attribute of Spanish shoes. Hardly any negative attributes appear, except the French perception 'of lower classes', so prices must be aimed at offering good value for money in this market.

For Spanish toys we found that for Germans there is not a clear attitude except good appearance (4.6). French consumers considered that Spanish toys have good appearance (4.8), offer a wide variety (4.8) and give a satisfactory result (4.7). Spaniards view their own toys as having good appearance (5.8), wide variety (5.6), modern design (5.2) and high prices (5.2). Again in this product category, the British view of Spanish toys was neutral, like in Germany, so a great effort must be made to promote Spanish toys among British and German consumers by communicating their benefits. These markets are of great importance because their per capita expenditure on toys is higher than Spain's. From an overall perspective, good appearance is the most valuable attribute on which advertising campaigns for toys could be based, but a pan-European campaign must be preceded by national campaigns in Germany and the United Kingdom. As Alden, Steenkamp & Batra (1999) point out, both positioning strategies could be used in different markets.

For Spanish holiday resorts, we found that Germans perceived them as attentive to their customers (5), with a good reputation (5) and with good appearance (5). French respondents considered that Spanish holiday resorts have advanced facilities (5.4), are competent (5.3), with a good reputation (5.1), with good appearance (5.1) and reliable (5). For the British, Spanish holiday resorts are attentive to the customers (4.6) and for the lower classes. In summary, Spanish holiday resorts must communicate service quality and individualised attention. It is obvious that one of the main objectives will be to work to achieve high levels of service in terms of customers' needs, but it is especially important at service encounter when the buyer-seller exchange takes place and when value is created for the customers. Promoting this attribute must be managed with caution due to consumer expectations. Creating a high level of expectation of personalised service could lead to a discrepancy between perceptions and expectations and finally the effect could become negative for companies within the tourist sector. One dimension to note is the perception held by the British that Spanish holiday resorts are 'for the lower classes'. This attitude may be associated with mass destinations, but is also affected by service quality.

For Spanish oranges, we found that Germans considered that they have prestige (5.7), high quality (5.5), reasonable prices (5.2) and are reliable (5). French respondents considered them to be naturally ripened (5.9) and of high quality (5.8). Spaniards think that their oranges are reliable (6.2), of high quality (6), guaranteed healthy (5.9) and have prestige (5.8). The British considered that Spanish oranges have high quality (4.6) and a reasonable price (4.6). We can consider that the most appreciated attributes are high quality and reasonable price. Both are positively related. Usually consumers perceive high prices with high quality. For Spanish oranges high quality is not absolutely related with high price. This evident competitive advantage must be the key dimension to be promoted for a pan-European campaign based on messages that highlight these two positive features. The country of origin cue represents a good basis for marketing Spanish oranges.

Finally we studied Spanish wine, and we found that Germans considered that Spanish wine has prestige (5.4), high quality (5.2), is produced by craftsmen (5.1) and reliable (5). French consumers perceived Spanish wine as follows: produced by craftsmen (6.1), additive free (5.9) and guaranteed to be healthy (5.9). Spaniards considered Spanish wine as reliable (6), guaranteed to be healthy (6), well bottled (6) and of high quality (5.9). For the British, Spanish wine has high quality (4.7) and prestige (4.6). The world currently produces more wine than it can consume, creating an urgent need to identify customers' needs and to fulfil them. An appropriate strategic orientation has been developed for wine companies (Lages & Shaw, 1999) and country of origin plays an important role for established producers. France as a major producer is an important competitor for Spanish wines. Consequently Spanish strategy in France must be different from that in other countries. From the data obtained we can conclude that Germans and British perceived Spanish wines as being of high quality, even better in Germany than in Britain. This quality attribute could be the basis of the advertising message for both countries, but this will not be enough to compete against French wines, and further research must be conducted to explore new ways of identifying more clear competitive advantages of Spanish wines over French ones.

General and specific preferences

Having seen the specific attitudes towards some Spanish products, let us now look at generic preferences in the countries included in our study.

In order to find out the general degree of preference of each sample for the products of its own country, a question was introduced to reflect this national feeling. The data is recorded in Table 2. We found that there is a significant difference among countries in their preference for national products over foreign ones.

On considering each sub-sample, we observe that among Spaniards, 78% of the population prefer home products while 21% are indifferent. Germans prefer their own products (63%) and 33% are indifferent. In the French sample, 44% prefer their own products and 51% are indifferent. Among the British, 41% of the population prefer home products and 55% are indifferent. On comparing the percentages of each sub-sample we observe that the national feeling is more manifest among Spaniards, followed by Germans. An appreciable percentage of indifferent respondents appear in France and Britain.

A summary of product preferences by countries for specific categories is shown in Table 3. In this part we allowed respondents to mention other countries such as Italy and the USA, and other product categories, including the five analysed in the previous section and three more: refrigerators, banks and cheeses. Table 3 shows the country preference for every product category we considered.


Excerpted from Advertising and Identity in Europe by Jackie Cannon, Patricia Anne, Odber de Baubeta, Robin Warner. Copyright © 2000 Intellect Ltd. Excerpted by permission of Intellect Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


1 Image and Spanish Country of Origin Effect J. Enrique Bigné,
2 Supra-Nationality and Sub-Nationality in Spanish Advertising Jackie Cannon,
3 'Danes don't tell Lies' On the Place of 'Made In' Advertising in a Post-National Trading Environment David Head,
4 Rhetorical Devices in Television Advertising P. M. Crompton & R. McAlea,
5 Voices with or without Faces Address and Reader Participation in Recent French Magazine Advertising Béatrice Damamme-Gilbert,
6 What makes a Promotional Brochure Persuasive? A Contrastive Analysis of Writer Self-reference in a Corpus of French and English Promotional Brochures Yvonne McLaren,
7 This is your Lifestyle Self-Identity and Coherence in some English and Spanish Advertisements Robin Warner,
8 The Dull, the Conventional and the Sexist Portuguese Wine Advertising Cristina Água-Mel,
9 Spreading the Word and Sticking Your Tongue Out The Dual Rhetoric of Language Advertising in Catalan Helena Buffery,
10 Discovering Advertising Patricia Odber de Baubeta,
11 Whose Prize is it Anyway? Press Coverage of the 1998 Nobel Prize-Winner for Literature Sandi Michele de Oliveira,
12 Nation and Nostalgia The Place of Advertising in Popular Fictions Nickianne Moody,
13 Between the Modern and the Postmodern European Soap Operas and their Adverts Hugh O'Donnell,
14 Fools, Philosophers and Fanatics Modes of Masculinity in World Cup-Related Advertising Anne M. White,

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