Does a Foreign Accent Sell? The Effect of Foreign Accents in Radio Commercials for Congruent and Non-Congruent Products

Berna Hendriks 1 , Frank van Meurs 1 ,  and Els van der Meij 1
  • 1 Department of Communication and Information Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen, Erasmusplein 1, Nijmegen 6525 HT, The Netherlands
Berna Hendriks, Frank van Meurs and Els van der Meij

Abstract

Commercials regularly feature foreign accents. This paper aims to investigate whether the use of foreign accents in radio commercials is more effective for congruent than incongruent products, and whether foreign-accented commercials are evaluated differently than non-accented commercials. In an experiment, a group of 228 Dutch participants rated non-accented and accented commercials for four different products in a between-subject design. The products were either congruent or incongruent with the foreign accent in the commercial (e.g. a German-accented commercial for sausage vs. olive oil). Foreign-accented commercials for congruent products were assessed more positively on a number of variables than foreign-accented commercials for incongruent products. Foreign-accented commercials were rated more negatively than commercials without a foreign accent.

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Multilingua is a refereed academic journal devoted to multilingualism, language learning, intercultural communication and translating and interpreting in their social contexts. Multilingua focuses on critical sociolinguistic studies of language and communication in globalization, transnationalism, migration and mobility across time and space. It is an international forum for interdisciplinary research on linguistic diversity in social life.

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