What is this accent? Effects of accent and language in international advertising contexts

Michel Laroche*, Rong Li, Marie‐Odile Richard, Lu Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


While accent effects have been studied in Western advertising contexts, there are contradictory findings on accent effects, and the moderating role of country-of-origin (COO), in other contexts. Few studies extended such accent effects to non-English-speaking cultural settings, particularly in emerging countries. This article fills this knowledge gap by examining accent and language effects on consumers’ perceived effectiveness of a spokesperson in Chinese advertising contexts. We explore how Chinese consumers evaluate spokespersons with standard and non-standard accents, whether these accents are associated with belongingness, sophistication, and modernity, and whether COO moderates such accent and language effects on the perceived effectiveness of spokespersons. Across three studies, the findings demonstrate that compared with a spokesperson with a non-standard accent (i.e., English-accented Mandarin), spokespersons with standard accents (i.e., standard Mandarin and standard English) are perceived to be more effective. Furthermore, Chinese consumers associate standard Mandarin with belongingness, and standard English with sophistication and modernity, whereas English-accented Mandarin has the lowest degree of these associations among the three accents. Although the moderating effect of COO is observed in Study 3, standard English is preferred for both advertised domestic and foreign products.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12753
Pages (from-to)1209-1222
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number4
Early online date20 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2022


  • accents
  • country-of-origin (COO)
  • international advertising
  • language associations
  • spokesperson effectiveness


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