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International Advertising Standardization: What Do the Multinationals Actually Standardize?

Greg Harris
Journal of International Marketing
Vol. 2, No. 4 (1994), pp. 13-30
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25048564
Page Count: 18
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International Advertising Standardization: What Do the Multinationals Actually Standardize?
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Abstract

This article reports on a study of the international advertising practices of a sample of major United States and European multinationals in the EC. The objective of the study was to investigate the detailed forms of international advertising standardization actually practiced by the sampled companies and establish how widely spread they were across the standardization spectrum in terms of the extent of standardization practiced. Many permutations were found in terms of which executional elements were standardized, the extent to which these elements were standardized and how these practices varied by market. These findings indicate that standardization is a flexible and adaptive policy that can take many forms and that to use the term "modified" to describe the practices of all those companies who neither totally adapt, nor totally standardize, is of limited descriptive value. In other words, these companies should not be categorized as a homogenous group. These findings are important because the rationales behind the practices of these companies are likely to vary as much as the practices themselves. The implications of these findings regarding analysis relating to the benefits of advertising standardization are then discussed.

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