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Author(s): Mădălina Moraru (Buga)

Journal: Language and Literature : European Landmarks of Identity
ISSN 1843-1577

Volume: 8;
Issue: 2011;
Start page: 359;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: humor | advertising | consumer

This study aims to demonstrate the way humor appeals to consumers in order to make them more receptive to brand image and product benefits they are interested of. This research focuses on the Romanian market, due to a matter that really deserves further consideration: the necessity of discovering the specific and original features of local commercials. At first sight, advertising is mostly seen as a creative field; however, the most important question this study is trying to address is the way local brands reflect the Romanian spirit. Globalization is based on preserving the same pattern and creative tools regardless of the space the consumer belongs to. Hybridization consists in weaving global with local features in order to better attract the target audience. For this reason, international brands get closer to customers by borrowing their way to live and to enjoy life.This research intends to outline humor types and to bring to light a few profiles of commercial heroes who help consumers identify with them and associate products with a relaxed mood. We aim to make a connection between humor types, product categories, advertising formats, commercials topics, and protagonist portrayals. The research method we are going to use is content analysis, applied in qualitative and quantitative manner. The study is carried out by the previous criteria (humor types, product categories, advertising formats, commercials topics, and protagonist portrayals), which lead us to reveal humor features and its role in local advertising. The sample consists in 50 TV commercials broadcast on Romanian channels in the national language, belonging to global or local brands. We chose to analyze TV spots because visual language enriches verbal communication and, obviously, diversifies humor approach. The classification of humor relies on two perspectives: first, on the cognitive processes that generate humor, which are incongruity-resolution, confusion, humorous disparagement, and, second, the taxonomy of these types based on humor devices such as parody, sarcasm, irony, satire, wordplay, stereotype, or casual jokes. Our main hypothesis is that each cultural space is represented by some specific humor types that describe local consumer’s profile, their lifestyle and society values shared by Romanian commercials. We also think that humor helps global brands become more familiar to local customers, and that this strategy reflects the way the glocalization phenomenon works.

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