In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section International Advertising

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Core Texts
  • Journals
  • Consumer Ethnocentrism and Animosity
  • Subcultures and Acculturation
  • Social Effects and Attitudes toward Advertising across Countries
  • International Advertising Regulations
  • Cross-Cultural Advertising Comparison and International Advertising Research Methods
  • International Word of Mouth and eWOM
  • International Brand Placement, Product Placement, and Sponsorships
  • Gender Issues
  • International Online Advertising
  • Advertising Information and Content Cross-Country Comparison
  • International Advertising Education

Communication International Advertising
Louisa Ha, Mohammad Abuljadail, Weiwei Jiang
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 March 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0153


International advertising can be defined as a subfield in advertising and international marketing that studies the differences and similarities in advertising across different nations and how one country’s advertising overseas affects the other country. There are different conceptions of international advertising based on the scope of the study. For example, from an ethnocentric point of view, international advertising can simply be any advertising outside the home country of the researcher. Using this perspective, international advertising is synonymous with foreign advertising. Because the United States is the core country in publishing advertising research, for a US researcher or US-based journals, all advertising studies conducted outside the United States can be considered “international advertising” research. To a researcher in China, however, advertising in the United States is “international advertising.” Such a configuration of international advertising is certainly relative to the home country of the researcher and does not strictly following the definition of “international advertising” that involves more than one nation. Despite its flaw, this is a quite common use of international advertising in research categorization. Such a conception underscores the importance of knowing the advertising practices and consumer behaviors in other countries to understand advertising across nations. Hence, this article includes some single-country advertising research conducted in non-US countries on pertinent advertising topics published in English-language journals and books, but the focus is on advertising practices and effects in multiple countries, as well as cross-country and cross-cultural comparison of advertising. Some variations of “international advertising” are “global advertising” and “multinational advertising.” The former has no specific country in focus, while the latter usually focuses on specific nations of interest in the research. In the most refined term, international advertising is about advertising in different nations and between nations. The “nation” can be a national culture, a country, or an ethnic group. In addition, what constitute “advertising” determines the scope of topics covered. For example, some researchers may consider product placement a paid communication with identified sponsors; and equate advertiser-manipulated electronic word-of-mouth recommendation (eWOM) to advertising. Hence, international advertising can include studies on how product placement and e-WOM is being done by international brands across nations. Advertising can be for profit or cause-related for nonprofit organizations. International advertising includes any form of controlled message provided in a third-party media space in different countries.

General Overviews

Researchers’ interest in international advertising stems from the different market environments for advertising. From a practical point of view, Craig and Douglas 2012 argues the goal of international advertising research is to facilitate the creation, refinement, and evaluation of advertising that takes place in two or more countries. Both Zinkhan 1994 and Taylor 2005 suggest that one goal of international advertising research is to develop comprehensive theories to explain advertising practices and effects through testing in different market environments. Culture is one of the many factors that account for different advertising practices and consumer behavior in different markets. The field of international advertising began with descriptive studies of advertising in foreign markets, but it has grown to be more about testing theories in different markets. Ha 2010, a review of advertising research on Asian countries and Asian ethnic groups, examines the contribution of such research, noting that Asia’s culture and advertising development is very different from that of the West. Those advertising theories that can withstand testing in both Asian and Western markets are most robust in explaining how advertising is processed and exerts an impact on the society in general. China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong were the three most commonly studied Asian countries in published research in English-language research journals from 1984 to 2003. A comprehensive bibliographical listing of books, journal articles, and conference proceedings on international advertising published before 2007 can be found on Louisa Ha’s International Advertising Resource Center website.

  • Craig, C. Samuel, and Susan P. Douglas. 2012. International advertising research: Conceptual and methodological issues. In Handbook of research on international advertising. Edited by Shintaro Okazaki, 201–230. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

    DOI: 10.4337/9781781001042

    This book chapter examines the purpose of international advertising research and how to establish equivalence in constructs and research implementation issues in international advertising research.

  • Ha, Louisa. 2010. Advertising research on Asian countries and Asian ethnic groups: A 20-year trend analysis and a state-of-the-art review. Dimensions 1.1: 13–20.

    This content analysis of published advertising research articles from 1984 to 2003 on Asian countries and Asian ethnic groups reveals that most of them adopted quantitative approaches, focused on single countries, and were authored by Asian ethnic scholars. Advertising management issues, advertising styles, cultures, and values in Asia were the most common topics.

  • International Advertising Resource Center.

    A website created in 1996 by Louisa Ha; its bibliography section compiles the books and journal articles published on topics related to international advertising published before 2007.

  • Taylor, Charles C. 2005. Moving international advertising research forward: A new research agenda. Journal of Advertising 34.1: 7–16.

    DOI: 10.1080/00913367.2005.10639187

    This editorial on the status of international advertising research calls for more equivalence of data, measuring the cultural dimensions of consumers, more interactions between academics and practitioners, testing existing theories in cross-cultural contexts, and development of new theories.

  • Zinkhan, George. 1994. International advertising: A research agenda. Journal of Advertising 23.1: 11–15.

    DOI: 10.1080/00913367.1994.10673427

    This special issue editorial essay addresses the reason for studying international advertising and argues that culture is only one of the many factors accounting for differences in advertising practices and consumer behaviors.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.