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Key Differences in British and American Advertising

Key Differences in British and American Advertising

Although Britain and the United States may seem very similar in culture and belief because they share a language, there are many factors that differentiate the two. Both are highly developed technological nations. Also, both countries are leaders in the world’s economy. Because of this, both nations have very diverse markets appealing to many different types of consumers. From an advertising standpoint, companies and strategies may seem similar, but after researching, it is clear to see that there are many differences.

American culture is made up of many different cultures. In the U.S., there are numerous nationalities, races, religions, and social classes. The same is true of England. For this reason, advertising must appeal to a large variety of interests. Certain ads for specific products are targeted for specialized consumers. Others are aimed to the general public. An example of a target ad would be for a particular store, while one aimed at the general public would be for a healthcare service.

When advertising is done on an international level, it is extremely important to be sensitive of different cultures. This is because something that may be a common phrase in one culture may be offensive in another. This often occurs when advertisements are translated from one language to another. A slogan or word that may be positive, promoting a product in American culture, may mean something obscene when it is translated for the same product in another country.

Although English is the language spoken in both the United States and in Britain, words and phrases in ads have different meanings. It is clear to understand the meaning of the advertisements themselves, but certain words may be uncommon to our everyday vocabulary. Product brands are different as well. After researching a number of British fashion magazines, I have selected five print advertisements that have comparable differences to American advertisements.

The first ad that I have chosen to interpret is for Virgin Atlantic, a British airline. I found this ad very interesting because the copy is written in a diary form. It begins on Friday August 3, 2001 and ends on the opposite page on Saturday August 4, 2001. The first entry describes the passenger’s thoughts on how the flight will affect her personally. Such things are that she’s not...

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