Laroche, Toffoli, Zhang, and Pons, conducted a survey of 460 Chinese and 510 Canadian respondents to test the persuasive effects of cigarette ads that used fear appeal messages. The study examines the potential impact of these messages on consumers’ attitudes toward smoking and their intention to quit.
The authors found that fear appeal messages in cigarette ads were more persuasive in China than in Canada. The Chinese participants were more likely to perceive smoking as a severe threat to their health and were more motivated to quit smoking after seeing these types of ads. In contrast, Canadian participants were less likely to perceive smoking as a severe threat and were less motivated to quit smoking after seeing the ads.
The study also found that participants in both countries had different reactions to the specific types of fear appeal messages used in the ads. In China, messages that emphasized the negative consequences of smoking for personal health were more persuasive, while in Canada, messages that emphasized the negative consequences for others (such as secondhand smoke) were more persuasive.
The study suggests that the effectiveness of fear appeal messages in cigarette advertising is influenced by cultural factors, such as attitudes toward smoking, perceptions of health risks, and social norms. Therefore, marketers should take into account the cultural context of their target audience when developing advertising campaigns.
The study highlights the importance of considering cultural differences when designing persuasive messages for international marketing campaigns. The authors also emphasize the need for more research in this area, particularly in other cultures, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of fear appeal messages in advertising.