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Advertisement in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): Learning from the Telecomunications Industry
Carinthia University of Applied Sciences
School of Management Degree Program
International Business Management
“ADVERTISEMENT IN THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST
AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS)”
LEARNING FROM THE TELECOMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY
First Supervisor: Professor Mag. Dr. Alexander Schwarz-Musch
Second Supervisor: Dr. in Eithne Knappitsch
Villach, 25th July, 2014 Stamp of Study Program
I hereby declare that:
I have entirely formulated and written the following Master Thesis by myself
without any unauthorized external help.
The following Master Thesis has not been used in like or identical manner neither
to achieve an academic grading at any institution nor for publishing.
I have not used sources or means without citing them in the text; any thoughts
from others or literal quotations are clearly marked.
The electronically submitted Master thesis is identical to the hard copy.
In accordance with Austrian law, (§ 8 Austrian Copyright Law [UrhG]), a copy of
the following thesis is to be deposited and made available in the Carinthia
University of Applied Science library.
(Place, Date of Submission) (Student´s Signature)
I wish to show appreciation to the following individuals whose time, understanding,
support and encouragement has contributed immensely to my thesis.
First and foremost, my thanks to the almighty God, for granting me the will and
strength to complete this thesis.
Secondly, my appreciation to my two supervisors, Professor Mag. Dr. Alexander
Schwarz-Musch and Dr. Eithne Knappitsch for the academic and friendly guidance
during my studies and this thesis.
Thirdly to my friend Freda Anita Brandt for her assistance in searching for required
information and data from data bases and libraries that has made the completion
of this thesis possible.
I would also like to show my appreciation to my two coders Adelana Ayoola and
Benjamin Teye Kpabitey for their interest and participation.
My gratitude and indebtedness to my favorite Auntie Mrs. Genevieve Yankey and
her husband Mr. Frederick Yankey for their support and encouragement.
Finally my acknowledgement to all my classmates for making my studies prior and
during this thesis a wonderful learning experience.
Advertisements seem to be as abundant and varying as the product and service offerings
for which they are made worldwide. Thereby, exposing the general populace to conscious
and subconscious consumption of advertisements from different channels.
Although it can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of an advertisements, it is
relatively easier to notice the negative publicity and backlash that a misplaced and
culturally insensitive advertisement will generate. This negative public feedback may
result from the effort invested by viewers to interpret ads. It is for this reason that a densely
populated region with rich and diverse culture has been chosen to determine the extent
to which advertisements should be adapted in order to limit or avoid negative feedback.
In conducting this study, a non-experimental descriptive content analysis of four
advertisements from within the ECOWAS region was performed. The advertisements
were chosen from the telecommunications industry sector and precisely from the mobile
network / operation industry. This led to the sampling of two. Thus MTN and GLO mobile
operators’ advertisements from Ghana and Nigeria respectively.
Findings of this study revealed that planned or developed advertisements for consumption
within the ECOWAS region has to be highly adapted with a minimal degree of
standardization. Furthermore, a proposed generally applicable advertisement guideline
for the ECOWAS region suggests that advertisers need to define the intended target group
in order to define which cultural elements to emphasize and hence determine the extent
of adaptation required.
Key words: target groups, culture, appeals, adaptation, standardization, ECOWAS,
TABLE OF CONTENTS
STATUTORY DECLARATION I
LIST OF FIGURES VI
LIST OF TABLES VII
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS VIII
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 BACKGROUND AND SKETCH 2
1.2 PROBLEM DEFINITION AND PURPOSE OF RESEARCH 3
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION AND SUB QUESTIONS 5
1.4 STRUCTURE OF THE RESEARCH 6
CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL PART 9
2.1 THE ECOWAS REGION (SOCIO-CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC INTEGRATION) 9
2.2 INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISEMENTS AND PROMOTION 15
2.2.1 ADVERTISING APPEALS 17
2.2.2 ADVERTISING CHANNELS 19
2.3 STANDARDIZATION AND ADAPTATION OF ADVERTISEMENTS 20
2.4 FACTORS INFLUENCING STANDARDIZATION AND ADAPTATION OF ADVERTS 25
2.4.1 CULTURE AND CULTURAL DIMENSIONS 25
2.4.2 VISIBLE CULTURE AND INVISIBLE CULTURE 27
2.4.3 VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION 28
2.4.4 HIGH AND LOW CONTEXT CULTURES 29
CHAPTER 3: EMPIRICAL PART 30
3.1 THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS IN THE SUB RERION 30
3.2 METHODOLOGY 34
3.2.1 CONTENT ANALYSIS OF ADVERTISEMENTS 34
188.8.131.52 LINQUISTIC ANALYSIS (NARRATOLOGY) 37
184.108.40.206 VISUAL ANALYSIS (SEMIOTICS) 38
3.2.2 SAMPLING PROCEDURE 39
220.127.116.11 CODING UNITES AND GUIDELINES 41
18.104.22.168 RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY 44
3.3 RESULTS OF RESEARCH 45
3.3.1 FINDINGS OF MTN ADS (GHANA-NIGERIA) 45
22.214.171.124 NARRATION OF MTN GHANA AD 46
126.96.36.199 NARRATION OF MTN NIGERIA AD 48
3.3.2 FINDINGS OF GLO ADS (GHANA-NIGERIA) 49
188.8.131.52 NARRATION OF GLO GHANA AD 50
184.108.40.206 NARRATION OF GLO NIGERIA AD 51
3.3.3 RESULTS OF LINGUISTIC INQUIRY AND WORD COUNT (LIWC) COMPUTER BASED
3.4 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS 54
3.4.1 MTN GHANA AD 57
3.4.2 MTN NIGERIA AD 60
3.4.1 GLO GHANA AD 62
3.4.4 GLO NIGERIA AD 64
3.4.5 EXTENT OF ADAPTATION VS STANDARDIZATION 66
CHAPTER 4: GUIDELINE PROPOSAL FOR ADVERTISEMENTS IN THE ECOWAS REGION 70
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION AND OUTLOOK 80
5.1 SUMMARY 80
5.2 LIMITATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH 82
APPENDIX 1- TRANSCRIBED AND TRANSLATED ADS 91
APPENDIX 2 - CODING GUIDELINE / RULE 96
APPENDIX 3 - OVERVIEW OF MOBILE OPERATORS IN THE ECOWAS REGION 97
APPENDIX 4 – EXTRACTS FRON MTN GHANA AD 99
APPENDIX 5 – EXTRACTS FRON MTN NIGERIA AD 100
APPENDIX 6 – EXTRACTS FRON GLO GHANA AD 101
APPENDIX 7 – EXTRACTS FRON GLO NIGERIA AD 102
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1 Research Structure ...........................................................................................6
Figure 2 Significant and Peripheral Reasons towards Standardization or Adaptation...23
Figure 3 Preparation, organization and resulting phrases in the content analysis process
Figure 4 Step model of inductive category development.............................................422
Figure 5 Mirrored Relationships (Basic Needs-Culture-Ad Appeals)...........................544
Figure 6 Proposed Generally Applicable Advertisement Guideline .............................777
Figure 7 Extracts from MTN Ghana Ad .........................................................................99
Figure 8 Extracts from MTN Nigeria Ad.......................................................................100
Figure 9 Extracts of GLO Ghana Ad............................................................................101
Figure 10 Extracts from GLO Nigeria Ad.....................................................................102
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1 List of Abbreviations ........................................................................................viii
Table 2 Brief Overview of the ECOWAS Region...........................................................11
Table 3 Detailed factors of internal and external factors ...............................................21
Table 4 Overview of Mobile Operators within the ECOWAS .......................................322
Table 5 MTN Ads (Ghana – Nigeria)...........................................................................455
Table 6 GLO Ads (Ghana – Nigeria) ...........................................................................499
Table 7 Results of LIWC Analysis ...............................................................................522
Table 8 Adaptation vs. Standardization of Sample Ads...............................................677
Table 9 Transcribed and Translated Ads ......................................................................91
Table 10 Coding Guideline / Rule..................................................................................96
Table 11 Overview of Mobile Operators in the ECOWAS Region .................................97
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
List of Abbreviations
AMETW Africa & Middle East Telecom-Week
ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States
GDP Gross Domestic Product
IMF International Monetary Fund
LIWC Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count
MAS Masculinity versus Femininity
MNO Mobile network operator
MTN Mobile Telecommunications Network
PDI Power Distance Index
PEST Political, Economic, Social, Technical
IDV Individualism versus Collectivism
UAI Uncertainty Avoidance Index
PRA Pragmatic versus Normative
IND Indulgence versus Restraint
SIM Subscriber Identity Module
Note. Abbreviations used in this stud are listed and explained in this table.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
Developing unique, appealing and memorable ads seems to the credo of advertisers and
marketers over the last couple of decades. Worldwide advertisements within this period
has suffered cultural flaws which has led to some public criticism and in extreme cases
government bans. Such bans include, the 2001 ban on unsolicited SMS advertising in
Norway, the ban on Unilever’s TV and radio ads with sex symbols in China in 2008 and
the ban on outdoor luxury advertisements in Beijing in 2011. Such blunders and cultural
insensitivity of advertisers has occurred since the 1960's with Pepsi advert in Taiwan
where the slogan, ‘Come alive with the Pepsi generation’ translated in the local language
as ‘Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead’. Advertisements, whether intended
or not, have the potential to spark a lot of controversy which might cause, public disgust,
identity crisis, and in extreme cases religious and national conflicts.
In this day and age with markets merging and innovation abound, new enterprises tend
to spring up all over the place while existing firms keep expanding and coming up with
new, better and improved products and services. With such entrepreneurship,
developments, innovation and expansion of products and services comes the need to
inform potential customers or clients about such advancements and to inform or remind
the populace about the existence of a firm, its operations, products and services as well
as benefits. The passing on of such information as shown in the previous paragraph, has
continually become a complicated but necessary process over the decades.1 Consumers
are as well evolving with near to unpredictable habits which can be attributed to factors
like migration, social lives, products or services variety, emotional swings, perceptions
and state of mind. 2 These factors to a large extent are influencing and altering a
consumer’s preferences. Furthermore, these factors make it crucial as to the timing and
contents of advertisements.
1 cf. Milgrom, 1986, pp. 796-797.
2 cf. Tyagi & Kumar, 2004, p. 3; cf. Wright, 2006, p. 416.
The necessity of advertisements has long existed in many forms and cannot be played
down in modern business activities. Apparently, as is almost always the case, a products
or services unique selling proposition is not enough to sell the product but rater, a unique
selling proposition coupled with effective advertisements is. It is in this same light that
advertisers of international and global brands tend to favor highly standardized
advertisement campaigns regardless of the market peculiarities as this they suppose this
maintains a universal brand image and appeal.3
1.1 BACKGROUND AND SKETCH
The above mentioned advertisement blunders occurred in countries or regions where
international marketers and advertising agencies claim to have extensive knowledge and
understanding of the social and cultural dynamics. In other words, advertisers are likely to
make blunders when developing ads for countries or regions they know less about. It
therefore makes it necessary for great care to be taken when producing advertisements
in less known developing regions. Less known countries tend to be less documented and
ignored culture wise with advertisers adopting a one size fits all advertisement strategies
in such countries. There is a subtly assertion that advertisements for commercial purposes
could potentially cause conflicts among firms, political parties, religious groups, races,
demography’s, ethnic groups and nations. Hence, appropriate content of advertisements
has and will always be a challenge for advertisers, marketers, firms, governments and the
A popular instance is the ‘Ghana-Must-Go’ paradigm. This a name coined by Nigerians
for bags made from woven plastic in the 1980's when about two million Ghanaians were
deported from Nigeria. The deportees packed their belonging in these plastic woven bags
and hence the name. This incident till today has added to the love-hate relationship
between the two countries particularly among the older generation. In the late 1990's, a
Nigerian manufacturer of such plastic woven bags advertised their products under the
cf. De Mooij, 2011, pp. 17-21.
name ‘Ghana-Must-Go’. This led to isolated incidents of harassments of Nigerians
residing in Ghana and vandalism at the factory site. Usually such advertising blunders
occur and are resolved amicably but leave lasting negative impressions. The same may
not be assumed for West African region where words and actions mean a lot but are open
and subject to the interpretation of the receiver or observers. Referred to as the ‘Dark
Region’ in son circles, it is, is indeed laced with unresolved and partially resolved tribal
ethnic and religious conflicts waiting to escalate from the slightest provocations.4
1.2 PROBLEM DEFINITION AND PURPOSE OF RESEARCH
Historically, the West African sub-region was colonized by Imperial European powers like
Britain, Portugal, France and Germany. This till present day has left the region with four
international and official languages (English, French, Portuguese and Arabic) in addition
to the regions already existing thousand or so native languages. The poorly demarcated
national borders which hardly reflects the regions ethnic divides are still the same as were
asserted by European colonial powers at the Berlin conference in 1884 to separate
cultures, geography and races mainly for resources but also to create civil conflicts and
enfeeble any attempts of opposition from the indigenes. As some scholars have it, the
advent of the colonization era and the influx of foreign culture and religion brought a
common language which has brought about integration and unification of the individual
colonies and to some extent given the region a similar identity. Opposing school of
thoughts strongly refutes this opinion with the counter arguments that frequent and
rampant civil and ethnic wars that has stained some parts of the region in the last two
decades proves otherwise. They claim that the additional languages has added to the
existing thousand or so native languages and rather to say the least destroyed and
prevented the sub-region from forging its own identity. An example will be Mauritania
which although is located in West Africa has been in and out of the ECOWAS and the
Arab Maghreb Union due to identity crises. Mauritania is culturally divide between Black
West Africa and Arab North Africa. This is to lay false to the claim that national and
4 cf. Bohannan & Curtin, 1988, p.3.
regional borders represent different cultures, mentalities, admissions and expectations
may not be entirely true.
The formation of the ECOWAS in 1975 sought to ideally unify the regions over 300 million
people with some very distinct and some very similar identities and cultures while bringing
economic integration to the sub-region. This resulted in an intra-regional migration of 7.50
million as at the year 2000. This implies 7.50 million migrating cultures and values
representing some over a thousand migrating native languages.5
This region stands to be an advertisement hurdle for both local and international firms
seeking to benefit from this economic prospect. Unlike in most advanced regions of the
world, where advertisement campaigns by local and international companies have been
well documented, the same can’t be said for the ECOWAS region. Hence the aim of this
study is to analyze advertisements in the Economic Community of West African States to
identify to which extent advertisements can be standardized in the ECOWAS region by
identify significant advertisement components and communication processes. As well as
to propose an applicable generalized advertisement guideline for making advertisements
in this diverse, unique and multi-characterized region.
5 cf. Richmond & Gestrin, 1998, p. 12.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION AND SUB QUESTIONS
The current status quo described in the above sections has led to the forging of the
“TO WHICH EXTENT CAN ADVERTISEMENTS BE ADAPTED IN THE ECOWAS
Additionally, the following three sub questions have been identified by the researcher as
being critical to providing an ample answer to the primary research question.
How diverse is the ECOWAS region in terms of culture?
Which factors affect adaptation and standardization of ads?
What elements of an ad should be adapted or standardized?
It is believed that, in order to answer the main research question, acquiring an
understanding of the cultural diversity and dynamics of the ECOWAS region should be
the first step. This knowledge will help in defining possible factors that may affect the
adaptation and or standardization decision or process. This is to say that, such information
will give an idea as to what to expect culture wise when planning and developing
advertisements for this region. Thereby laying out some dos and don’ts to equip in the
identification of elements directly or indirectly affected by such factor. Moreover,
understanding the cultural diversity and the factors that might affect the adaptation and
standardization of ads will lead to the identification of what elements of the planned or ad
under development would have to be adapted or standardized. Besides, such know-how
and knowledge will make it possible to determine or measure the extent to which the
advertisement can be adapted.
1.4 STRUCTURE OF THE RESEARCH
Note. A pictorial representation of the thesis structure.
6 Source: author
INTRODUCTION TO THE ECOWAS REGION
TELECOMMUNICATIONS IN THE SUB REGION
CONCLUSION AND OUTLOOK
RESULTS OF CONTENT ANALYSIS
STANDARDIZATION AND ADAPTATION OF ADVERTS
FACTORS INFLUENCING STANDARDIZATION AND ADAPTATION
DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
GUIDELINE PROPOSAL FOR ADVERTISEMENTS
CONTENT ANALYSIS OF ADVERTISEMENT
SAMPLING PROCEEDURE AND CODING GUIDELINES
As can be seen from the structure described in the figure above, this research comprises
of five chapters which covers all necessary aspects of literature and practice to help
answer all research sub-questions posed. Answers derived from the research sub-
questions will lead to a successful formulation of an ample answer to the primary research
question which is to determine the extent to which advertisements can be adapted in the
ECOWAS region. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the thesis topic and explains its
importance. The purpose of the research and the research problem is also defined in this
chapter. This is preceded by a comprehensive background revelation to the research
problem which will be followed by a definition of the main research question, sub-
questions and a pictorial representation of the structure of this research. As represented
in figure 1, the following studies after the first chapter will be divided into four primary
chapters. These four dependent chapters, namely the theoretical part, the empirical part,
the guideline proposal for advertisements and finally the conclusion and outlook chapters
will form the core divisions of this study.
The theoretical part, which is indicative of the second chapter is introduced with an
overview of the ECOWAS region. This overview includes brief profiles of the member
states, recent history, politics, economy and legislation. Furthermore, in-depth literature
on the theories of international advertisements, standardization and adaptation of
advertisements and its influencing factors is covered. The cultural peculiarities of the
ECOWAS region is also to be examined in this chapter in order to describe the potential
for standardization or adaptation of advertisement in this region. These are intended to
give the reader an insight into how advertisement strategies are dependent on culture and
how this influences a marketer’s decision to standardize or adapt advertisements. Also,
the various school of thoughts as to which is the most effective advertisement strategy
(standardization or adaptation) is explored.
This in depth literature will be compared and contrasted with the empirical part (chapter
3). In the empirical part, an overview of the telecommunications industry in the ECOWAS
region with emphasis on mobile operators is firstly presented. This is to give the reader a
regional specific idea of the dynamics in the ECOWAS region and hence provide enough
grounds and reasoning for this chapter. This will be followed by the methodology. For the
methodology, a qualitative content analysis will be used with the application of narratology
and semiotics techniques to analyze, determine and explain a marketer’s decisions to
either standardize or adapt advertisements. Results from the content analysis will further
be presented and examined to give a pragmatic and informed learning of the region under
study. Subsequently, the researcher will reflect, infer and compared theory with the results
presented from the content analysis. Facts and allusions deducted from the comparison
will be compared with literature and will also form the basis for the proposed generally
applicable advertisement guideline for the ECOWAS region.
The proposed advertisement guideline will be drawn up and presented in the fourth
chapter while the final chapter (Chapter 5) will constitute the conclusion and outlook of
this research. Findings will be summarized, limitations encountered during the research
will be presented as well as implications for future research discussed. The sum total of
all the describe work done is expected to fulfill the researchers aim and objectives for
which this research was conducted.
CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL PART
This chapter offers the framework of this study. Here, a brief introduction to the ECOWAS
region and supporting literature to this research is presented. Relevant topics which will
help understand and answer the research questions are elaborated. Also, concepts that
by and large have the potential to influence the overall aim and objective of this study is
studied in this chapter. A descending order hierarchy of the relationship between topics
such as international advertisement; standardization and adaptation and culture is
deliberated. Additionally, the connection role played by basic human needs as proposed
by Maslow’s is considered.
2.1 THE ECOWAS REGION (SOCIO-CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC INTEGRATION)
Indeed, there exists a high tendency of misinterpreting the indigenous depth of culture
within the ECOWAS region as illiteracy if one does not equip or familiarize themselves
with the regions diverse cultural dynamic. 7 Whereas the older folks in the society may
misinterpret some aspects of literacy as an influx of foreign or western culture and a
disregard for traditions.8 These traditions seem to define the mentality and way of life of
the inhabitants of this region. These traditions are visualized through festivals and
gestures but are infused, passed on and shared mainly through communication.9The
relationships between the characteristics and dynamics within the ECOWAS region are
influence by history, politics, culture, the economy and the basic needs of the inhabitants
of this region. This to a large extent affects how marketer’s and advertiser’s go about
advertisements. As illustrated in the table below, the ECOWAS region comprises of fifteen
member states all of which are situated in West Africa. The data provided in the table
below further estimates the population as a little over three hundred and thirty-three million
7cf. Oetzel &Ting-Toomey, 2005, p. 1-7.
8 cf. Roberts, 2000, p. 120.
9 cf. Guneratne, 2010, p.5.
inhabitants with an average gross domestic product per capita of thousand eight hundred
US Dollars. Moreover, this region is characterized by an average literacy rate of fifty-seven
per cent. Also revealed in the table are the visible ethnic divides and spoken dialects.
English, French and Portuguese are the official languages spoken within the ECOWAS
region. Nevertheless, Arabic is also widely spoken as Islam in addition to Christianity are
the two most dominant religion within the ECOWAS.10
10 cf. Hunwick, 2004, pp. 133-135.
Brief Overview of the ECOWAS Region 11
ESTIMATED POPULATION (million) EST. NO.
Benin 4.5 2 3 0.3 0.3 20 50 Fon, Yoruba French 1,600 42.4
Burkina Faso 8.4 3.7 5.3 0.5 0.5 20 60 Moore, Dyuala French 1,500 28.7
Cape Verde 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.03 0.03 - 1 Crioulo Portuguese 4,400 84.9
Cote d'Ivoire 8.8 4.4 7.6 1 0.8 - 60 Dioula French 1,800 56.9
Gambia 0.8 0.4 0.6 0.08 0.06 - - - English 2,000 51.1
Ghana 9.9 4.8 8.7 1.2 1 48 81 Ashante English 3,500 71.5
Guinea 4.4 2.2 3.4 0.5 0.4 - - - French 1,100 41
0.6 0.4 0.6 0.08 0.05 - - Crioulo Portuguese 1,200 68.9
Liberia 1.8 0.8 1.2 0.03 0.02 - 20 - English 700 64.8
Mali 7.8 2.8 4.3 0.6 0.4 - 13 Bambara French 1,100 43.1
Niger 8.7 3.2 4.6 0.6 0.4 - 2 Hausa, Djerma French 800 42.9
Nigeria 76.4 34.2 54.2 7 5.5 89 500
English 2,800 72.1
Senegal 5.8 2.8 4.2 0.5 0.4 - 4 Wolof French 2,100 61.8
Sierra Leone 2.4 1.1 1.8 0.2 0.3 - - Mende, Temne English 1,400 54.7
Togo 3 1.4 2.4 0.3 0.2 - - Ewe, Kabye French 1,100 74.1
Note. Data in table was gathered from the ECOWAS Commission and the Central Intelligence Agency
11 Reproduced from ECOWAS, 2013, n.p [online]; CIA, 2014, n.p. [online].
Individuals encounter various and varying social norms and standards as they move away
from ‘home’. This sometimes raises the tendency of imagining culture to be as lucid as
skin color, language or national borders. As the term suggests, cultural integration may
imply the infusion or mixing up of different people and cultures. This debatable reduction
in social and cultural differences between countries can be attributed to numerous
reasons. Amongst which include wars, migration, education and religion. Socio-cultural
integration advocates continue to put pressure on governments and society for a more
integrated and globalized world. Governments’ efforts for a high socio-cultural integration
in the ECOWAS region has more often than not been hampered by tribal, ethnic, civil and
religious conflicts. 12 Nevertheless, the lack of commitment to this course by some
stakeholders cannot be ignored.
As may be described, socio-cultural integration may refer to the convergence of different
cultural dimensions and human needs. In this case, the civil wars that struck Liberia, Sierra
Leon Guinea and Guinea Bissau in the past decade can be argued to have set aback the
integration process within the ECOWAS. On the other hand, this notion can be countered
with the fact that, refugees from these two nations migrated, settled and integrated mostly
in other countries in the sub-region.13 With English being the official language of the then
war torn countries, the majority of the migrants and refugees settled in Ghana and
Nigeria.14 Post war efforts to strengthen the integration of the ECOWAS member states
and citizens include the ongoing attempts to converge legislation, political systems and
the economy within the ECOWAS.15 This is being facilitated by the free movement of
people and hence culture as well as social norms. Infrastructure undertakings such as the
West African gas pipeline project and regional rail and highways is aimed at diffusing the
lucid notion of tribal, ethnic, language, social and cultural divide perceived by some.
Furthermore, the introduction of the ECOWAS passport stands to give the impression of
one-people with one-culture and social norms.16 The continual increase of the literacy rate
within the ECOWAS is leading to an increase in open mindedness and acceptance for
12 cf. Yabi, 2010, p.6-7.
13 cf. Bosswick & Heckmann, 2006, p. 7.
14 cf. Boulton, 2009, p. 33.
15 cf. Jones, 2002, pp. 19-23.
16 WAPCO, 2014, para. 1 [online].
other socio-cultural divides present in the region.17 Joint government cooperation cuts
across all sectors including education. Be it in the form of government sponsorship or
scholarships or joint government projects such as the Regional Maritime University in
Ghana which is co-owned by four ECOWAS countries. Namely Gambia, Ghana, Liberia
and Sierra Leon. Technology is playing its fair part in the integration process within the
ECOWAS region. The advent of regionally owned satellite TV stations such as ‘TV Astra’
provide regional broadcasts regardless of the numerous ethnic divides. This stands to be
a positive testament that socio-cultural divides may be grouped and addressed as
identical cultures. By and large, the role religion plays in the integration process cannot
be neglected. Although religion is defined inclusive in culture, it is one of the few
characteristics of social and cultural life that transcends the above mentioned social-
cultural divides. For instance, regardless differences in social status and or ethnicity,
varying individuals can group, tolerate and coexist under the umbrella or practice of
religion. That is to say, that it is not uncommon to find two or more people from different
ethnic divides practicing the same religion. Likewise the ECOWAS region. The two most
dominant or main religions within the ECOWAS are Christianity and Islam.18
Moreover, with socio-cultural integration comes socio-economic integration as the latter
is more often than not, the envisioned outcome of the former.19 The dynamic evolution of
science and technology influences the consumer baskets of households. According to
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs,20 depending on one’s socio-cultural and
socio-economic expectations and motivation, the first stage (Biological and
Psychological), is probably the most essential and constitutes a typical consumer basket.
The typical consumer basket for residents within the ECOWAS twenty years ago, may not
have included basic life needs such as access to internet with it associated benefits, a
television set and motoring expenditure.
Socio-economic growth or status hence, is the betterment of the quality of life of an
individual or a group of people through the extensive utilization of human capabilities.21 In
17 UNESCO, 2012, pp. 1-2.
18 ECOWAS, 2008, pp. 8-12.
19 UNESCO, 2012, pp. 2-4.
20 cf. Maslow, 1943, pp. 370-396.
21 cf. Blakely & Leigh, 2010, pp. 95-98.
other words, it refers to the recognition and identification of oneself among expansive and
divergent social classes and socially accepted values.22These division in social classes
are more often than not characterized by differences in wealth, power, influence and
control. A four-stage approach to socio-economic development as proposed Blakely and
Leigh were physical development, business transformation, the nurturing human resource
and community-based growth.23 Remarking on the levels of attainment of these four
stages within the ECOWAS, it can remarked that implementation and attainment of these
four stages is proportional to high and increasing levels of ongoing trade as well as
business activities within the region this sub-region. The ECOWAS region with some over
three hundred million inhabitants makes for an interesting socio-culture and economic
dynamics. This represents a very large labor force.24 In spite of this, the availability of
skilled and qualified labor is limited.25 Economic indicators such as GDP, inflation,
unemployment rates and money supply stand to shed light on monetary policies. With an
average GDP per capita of 1,807 US Dollars coupled with high unemployment rates,
standards of living within this region are lower than other parts of the world. To some
extent, lower standards of living influence ones way of thinking and way of life. 26
Advertisers therefore need to put all these into perspective when planning and launching
advertisements within the ECOWAS region.
22 cf. Schaefer, 2004, pp. 58-60.
23 . Blakely & Leigh, 2010, p. 217.
24 cf. Uexkull, 2012, pp. 7-11.
25 cf. Uexkull, 2012, pp. 6-8.
26 cf. Vrontis, et al., 2009, p. 491-494.
2.2 INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISEMENTS AND PROMOTION
In this day and age, innovations are abound, and new enterprises and competitors keep
emerging all over. Firms continually try to expand and establish themselves in new
markets. This raises an unquestionable need relay information from firms to potential
customers while reminding the general populace of the existence of the firm and its
activities while simultaneously revealing where to buy its products or services.27 The
necessary process of passing on of such information has not only become a costly
undertaking but it is also increasingly becoming a complicated. Consumers as well are
evolving with near to unpredictable behaviors which could be attributed to factors such as
migration, social living, abundance of substitutes, swinging emotions and state of mind or
mentality. 28 These to a large extent influences or alters the consumers preference for
goods and services. It is based on such influencing reason that led to the description of
advertisements in late 1990’s by Randazzo in his book, ‘Mythmaking on Madison Avenue’
as tales about kings, kingdoms, evil, heroes, gods and societies.29 Myths and storytelling
is an integral form of communication in every society on which identity is built.30 Meaning
they may vary based on the history, norms and values of a society, nation, region or even
a continent as a whole.31 Following this notion, advertisements have been defined by
Pickton & Broderick as a paid for mode of integrated communication.32 Graves remarked
about the overwhelming influence of advertisements on consumers and society. He added
that not only is it information transfer and emotion building, it is also a social function. In
other words, advertisements have the potential to define a society’s way of life and
reasoning and vice versa33
Assuming two scenarios, where in the first instance, a news bulletin on TV about
impoverished and staving kids with no source of adequate drinking water and food in a
rural community in West Africa is interrupted for an ad from ‘XY’ company which produces
high end mineral water for showering or pools. In the second instance, the same news
27 cf. Kotler & Armstrong, 2004, p. 495.
cf. Kumar & Reinartz, 2006, pp. 159-161
29 cf. Randazzo, 1993, pp. 19-18.
30 cf. Hanska, 2012, p. 148; Sobol, Qentile & Sunwolf, 2004, pp. 2-4.
31 cf. Randazzo, 1993, pp. 18-33.
32 cf. Pickton & Broderick, 2001, p. 11-21.
33 cf. Graves, 1999, p. 33-36.
bulletin is interrupted by an ad from ‘UV’ company which recycles kitchen waste and
makes them edible. Most likely, the news bulletin and or the ads will trigger the viewer’s
emotions and sentiments in different ways. Either an emotion of compassion, pity,
excitement or even of disgust. These feeling or emotions are again dependent on the
cultural attributes of the viewer be it individualism or collectivism or any other cultural
dimension mentioned by Hofstede34. Thus hence either portraying a positive or negative
perception about the advertising company and their services or products offering to the
consumer. Furthermore, these factors make the contents of an ad as crucial as the timing
of advertisements and the chosen media. 35
This raises the question whether the sentiments and emotions of the said consumer would
have been any different had the above mentioned ads been aired during the broadcast of
a lifestyle show. Although these scenarios may be considered as extreme, they serve to
illustrate how the basic needs of a consumer, the advertisement media, the advertisement
contents, the time of advertisement consumption as well as the cultural orientation of the
consumer may be dependent. Determining the extent of cultural and basic need
considerations in an ad is a dilemma faced constantly my advertisers. 36
34cf. Hofstede, et al., 2010, p. 31.
cf. Wright, 2006, p. 416; cf. Kotler & Armstrong, 2010, p. 464.
cf. Tyagi & Kumar, 2004, p. 3.
2.2.1 ADVERTISING APPEALS
The most basic of all human needs according to Maslow is the psychological needs which
include the need for food, water, sex, sleep, and clothing among others.37 One would
expect that giving the universal acceptance of these psychological needs as basal and
fundamental to man’s survival, these needs needn’t be negotiable or comprisable. Some
school of thoughts have questioned the omission of technology or technological based
needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Arguments like the need of electricity and internet
in this present day is as important as the need for safety, belonging, self-actualization and
self-esteem can be raised. Further arguments may suggest that self-actualization and
self-esteem are better built and portrayed online particularly through social media. This is
evident in how social lives of some peoples are hugely based on social media and how
uncomfortable the modern man becomes when he is deprived of internet on his mobile
device. Nevertheless, due to the abundance of options for the fulfilment of man’s
psychological needs, one needs some convincing with regards to what choices to make
when it comes to their survival. These convincing in modern day are being carried out
through broadcast, print and interactive advertisements. As earlier discussed, these
convincing which are being referred to as advertisements are a manipulation of the
survival, comfort and accomplishment needs of man through claims. Therefore in other to
capture the attention and interest of the intended target audience, advertising practitioners
employ various convincing tactics which may either be emotionally, rationally or morally
appealing to viewers.38 In an attempt to determine the emotionality, rationality and morality
of advertising appeals, Fowles went ahead to develop a thoughtful list of fifteen emotional
appeals based on Maslow’s hierarchy of basic human needs.39 He further inferred that
viewer’s desire for more information about a product or service during and or after the
consumption of an ad will be stimulated after the viewer’s emotionality had been triggered.
In other words, emotional appeals are the basis for rational and moral appeals. The fifteen
types of the emotional appeals suggested by Fowles include sex appeals, affiliation
appeals, nurture appeals, guidance appeals, aggress appeals, achievement appeals,
37 cf. Maslow, 1943, pp. 370-396.
38 cf. Wells, et al., 1992, p249.
39 cf. Fowles, 1982, pp. 286-290.
dominate appeals, prominence appeal, attention appeals, autonomy appeals, escape
appeals, safety appeals, sensational appeals, curiosity appeals and psychological
appeals. Accordingly, De Mooij in value paradox analysis about the desirable and the
desired suggested that advertisement appeals are derived from culture.40 She alluded that
the core values of a culture are portrayed in advertisement appeals. In her theory, she
suggested that humans were conflicted between the desirable and the desired. She
defined the desirable and the desired as an individual’s expectation on what the world
ought to be and what an individual wants for themselves respectively. Furthermore, the
desirable which is usually far from reality tends to appreciate the world and all inhabitants
leading to a more collective society. The desired on the other hand reflects an
individualism and appeals to self-actualization and self-esteem. Likewise, every human
on a constant basis has to make either make a choice or synchronize associated factors
of the desirable and the desired. This thereby hints of the morality aspects of
advertisement appeals. It reflects what is good and what is bad based on the viewer’s
cultural background as what is perceived as morally right in culture ‘A’ may be morally
wrong in culture ‘B’. For example, it is moral to marginalize women in Middle Eastern
cultures but immoral to do so in Western cultures.
A viewer’s association with positive and negative morals which are prompted by
advertisement appeals in like manner affects their emotionality and rationality. 41 Moral
appeals may therefore be either emotional, rational or both. Whichever way, they tend to
bridge emotionality with rationality. This equips the viewer to make choices and take
decisions. The decision making thought gathering process may be referred to as the
viewer’s rationality. Rationality on the other hand therefore, as described, occurs as a
result of triggered emotions which a plays on the viewer’s cognitive or moral sense.42 This
is often information based as it seeks to explain and convince the viewer as to why they
should prefer or choose the advertised product or service. This is to say that, emotional,
rational and moral appeals are mutually exclusive subconscious appeals.
40 cf. De Mooij, 2010, p. 47.
41 cf. Berry, 1999, p 213.
42 cf. Stanovich, 2011, pp. 3-5.
2.2.2 ADVERTISING CHANNELS
Advertising channels in some ways indirectly unifies varying needs and ideologies. It
makes the transfer of information from a firm which might have a different cultural
orientation for its target audience possible. 43 Advertisements are needed to inform,
influence and remind viewers of the existence of a product, service or firm. In other words
the choice of the channel is dependent on the message being communicated and the ad’s
objectives. Print media, broadcast media and interactive media are three main options of
advertising channels available to marketers. Print channels comprise of newspapers,
magazines, direct mail, billboards and flyers but to mention a few. Print media usually
involve the printing of intended ad messages on surfaces such as paper, cardboard, wood,
t-shits and automobiles.44 Furthermore, they are tangible and the consumer gets to reread
or keep them.45 Additionally, they are relative cheaper in comparison with the other ad
channels and the viewer gets to consume them at their own pace. There however exists
a possibility of consumers not making time to read them or even discard them as trash
due to its affordability and extensive use.
Broadcast channels on the other hand are advertising channels which transmit ads over
the air. The most common forms of broadcast media is TV and radio broadcasts. They
involve the presentation of the ads message through sounds, body language and words
while interacting with the consumer’s sense of sight and hearing.46 They are therefore
intangible in nature and require the consumer’s participation.
The third form of advertising channel is the interactive channel. This type of channel are
more participative and direct by characteristic.47 They may be described as an enhanced
form of broadcast channels or as a hybrid of print and broadcast channel. In that, due to
their interactive nature, consumers can see (moving images / video), hear, and touch them
on their mobile devices via the internet which is also a broadcast.
43 cf. Kerin et al., 2006, p. 503.
44 cf. Ouwersloot & Duncan, 2008, p. 208.
45 cf. Ouwersloot & Duncan, 2008, p. 208.
46 cf. Kerin et al., 2006, p. 503.
47 cf. Lamb et al., 2010, pp. 377-378.
2.3 STANDARDIZATION AND ADAPTATION OF ADVERTISEMENTS
Literature suggests these topics cut across the 4P’s of marketing with similar
argumentations. Standardization of advertisements has been a strategy used not only by
international firms but also by SME’s to reduce costs, to create a single/universal brand
image, to benefit from economies of scale, for quality control purposes as well as media
choice and control purposes. 48 Although this strategy has ensured consistency, it has
sometimes led to exaggerated brand reputation and product quality by marketers. One of
the early mentions of the pending debate and dilemma associated with these two school
of thoughts was in the early 1990’s by Brown and Propson.49 The former suggesting that
human traits and virtue were universal. It was based on this notation that Maslow
formulated his hierarchy of basic human needs. This school of thought received more
emphasis in the subsequent years when Henry A. Murray developed and defined
advertisement appeals. The later refuted the idea of standardization with arguments that
markets and hence people were divergent in needs and culture. In recent times,
renounced researchers in this fields such as Moji has remarked that, there is no such thing
as equally motivated consumers. She further debunks the school of thought that
standardization is an efficient current trend with the arguments that media houses over
the decades have localized their activities. Implying that localized media require localized
advertisements.50 The mere existence of cultural differences, color preferences, different
climates, unequal literacy levels and varying priorities and desires make standardization
a very difficult strategy to implement.
As seen in the table below, the two main distinguishing factors that determine which of
these two strategies a company chooses and to what extent it uses them are the internal
organizational factors and the external environmental factors.51 The internal factors are
the factors within a firm. Usually, management has control over these factors. They may
range from managerial to organizational factors.
cf. Hyman et al., 1990, pp. 30-48.
49 cf. Ryans et al., 2003, p. 12.
cf. De Mooij, 2011, pp. 263-276.
51 cf. Virvitaile et al., 2011, p. 107.
Detailed factors of internal and external factors 52
Note. Internal and external factors influencing a firm’s decision to adapt or standardize
52 Reproduced from Virvitaile et al., 2011, p. 108.
On the other hand, the external factors directly relates to a firm’s external environment.
This external environment can be grouped into the macro and micro environment with a
firm having less control of the former than the later.
In order to stay within the scope of this study, emphasis is being laid on the external factor
particularly the macro-environment. This factor group encompasses PEST and cultural
elements. The macro-environment as suggested by Virvitaile et al., are the factors a firm
has little control over but yet still could directly or indirectly influence the degree of
standardization and adaptation strategy a firm chooses.53 Including factors of the external
and micro environment which pull towards an adaptation strategy was illustrated research
conducted Vrontis. As seen in the table below as presented in Vrontis’s research, political
and legal factors coupled with market development and physical condition are being
described as the most significant external factors. Rightly so, in that if a product or service
is legally banned in a particular country or region then there will be no marketing and
advertising of that product or service in the said region. Then there’s obviously no need
for a firm to consider factors such as economic differences, social and culture
characteristics of the said country or region. In Addition to economic, social and cultural
factors, Vrontis in his research also disclosed consumer perception, marketing
infrastructure (which includes advertisement channels), competitor activities,
technological differences and consumer characteristics as the peripheral external factors
which indirectly influences a firm’s decision to either adapt or standardize
advertisements.54 As further illustrated in the figure below, the factors influencing the
extent or degree of adaptation and standardization affects the tactical behavior of a firm.
This tactical behavior is the short-term objectives encompassed around the 4 P’s of the
53 cf. Virvitaile et al., 2011, p. 110.
54 cf. Vrontis et al., 2009, pp. 492-493.
Significant and Peripheral Reasons towards Standardization or Adaptation55
Note. A presentation of the significant and peripheral factors influencing the adaptation
and standardization decision of a firm.
Long existing debate about the extent to which a firm’s tactical behavior needs to be
adapted or standardized has led the formation of a third strategy.56 This is a strategy in
which both school of thoughts are considered as extreme and hence the need to alter the
degrees of adaptation and or standardization as necessary. 57 In other words, this
necessity is based on the internal and external factors which leads to the fusion of both
55 Reproduced from Vrontis et al., 2009, p. 492.
56 cf. Daft, 2000, p.18-30.
57 cf. Daft, 2000, p.20.
strategies for optimal results.58 As remarked by Wind in 1986, this is rooted in the notion
of thinking global but acting local.59. Several names for this phenomena have been thrown
around by many researchers but the most profound amongst them are ‘glocalization’60
and ‘going local’61. In these third strategies, it is suggested that certain aspects of an
advertisement should be standardized while other aspects would have to be adapted and
tailored to suit specific peculiarities of the target country or audience. As stated, since the
goal of this research is to determine the extent to which advertisements can be adapted,
the promotional aspect of a firm’s tactical behavior or the 4P’s.
58 cf. Dimitrova & Rosenbloom, 2010, pp.158-160
59 cf. Wind, 1986, p. 24.
60 cf. Sun & Lancaster, 2013, p.27.
61 cf. Ball, 2003, p. 478.
2.4 FACTORS INFLUENCING STANDARDIZATION AND ADAPTATION OF ADVERTS
2.4.1 CULTURE AND CULTURAL DIMENSIONS
Consequently, as earlier discussed, the internal and external determinants of the extent
to which advertisements should be adapted or standardized are hugely dependent on
culture. This could either be company culture or the culture of the targeted audience. For
reasons mentioned above, since this study is being limited to the external (macro)
environment of a firm, the cultures of targeted groups or region in this case will be
investigated. Despite the presence of several definitions for culture,62 Gillespie went
ahead described culture as an indescribable abstract global theory.63 Hollensen however
was able to give three generally agreed characteristics of culture. He stated that, culture
was an interrelated learned way of life shared by a group of people.64 Rice went on to
define culture as “(…) the values, attitudes, beliefs, artefacts and other meaningful
symbols represented in the pattern of life adopted by people that help them interpret,
evaluate and communicate as members of a society.”65 Hofstede then went ahead to
simplify the definition as “(…) the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes
the members of one group or category of people from others.”66 He further distinguished
three levels of culture based on mind set. Firstly, he mentioned human nature which he
described as inherited and universal. Secondly, he reiterated on culture as another mind
set. Hofstede implied that this was learned and semi-universal. Meaning, some aspects
were shared with some people. Finally, he described the personality level as both the
peculiar inherited and learned mind set of an individual within a semi-universal group.
According Hofstede, inequalities do exist between societies. He brought this to light in his
numerous studies on culture. During his study, he observed six pairs of contrasting
dimensions. Namely, power distance index (PDI), individualism versus collectivism (IDV),
masculinity versus femininity (MAS), uncertainty avoidance index (UAI), pragmatic versus
normative (PRA) and indulgence versus restraint (IND). The power distance dimension
describes the acceptances of societal inequalities in wealth, education, power and social
62 cf. Darouni, 2002, p.287.
63 cf. Gillespie et al., 2004, p. 49.
64 cf. Hollensen, 2011, pp. 234-236.
65 Rice qtd. in: De Mooij, 1998, p. 42.
66 Hofstede et al., 2010, p. 6.
status. In a high-context and collective society like the ECOWAS region, power distance
is not limited to wealth, status, literacy, position and power but also to age, gender and
experience.67 Hofstede in his study suggests that the PDI for the ECOWAS region is
high.68 About the individualism versus collectivism index, he suggested the former to be
loosely-knit society where individuals only looked out for themselves and close relations.
In the case of the later, individuals see themselves as a part of society and hence form
broad and closely-knit relationships as characteristic of the ECOWAS region.69 Also
acknowledged in his study are the disparity in the desire for achievement and reward and
the desire for modesty and cooperation. These he defined as masculinity versus femininity
(MAS) respectively. For this dimension, the ECOWAS region scored as a high masculinity
society.70 Hofstede further described the ECOWAS region as a region where there is no
perceived control of the future and hence uncertainty avoidance is very high. He generally
describe the region as being characterized by discomfort and displeasure to changes. The
pragmatic versus normative dimension refers to the how societies perceive the past as
being crucial in the determination of the future. The continual practice and reverence to
traditions and customs is described as normative and vice versa. Strong links with the
past are characteristic of collective societies. Hence, the ECOWAS region according to
Hofstede scores high on the normative scale. Finally, Hofstede described indulgence as
the tendency for member of a society to act as they please. This is elaborated and signified
with exaggerated body language. He further described such societies as positive minded
and optimistic.71 This could be said to be a driver for migration as there is always the hope
or optimism of greener pastures elsewhere.
67 cf. Richmond & Gestrin, 1998, pp. 159-161.
68 cf. The Hofstede Center, 2014, “Country Comparison” [online].
69 cf. The Hofstede Center, 2014, “National Culture Dimension” [online].
70 cf. The Hofstede Center, 2014, “National Culture Dimension” [online].
71 cf. The Hofstede Center, 2014, “National Culture Dimension” [online].
2.4.2 VISIBLE CULTURE AND INVISIBLE CULTURE
According to the cultural iceberg model by Hall, cultural elements are those that make up
a culture’s uniqueness and phenomenalism.72 They may range from myths to norms to
rituals and to artifacts and actions. In his understanding, Hall used the iceberg for his
explanation of culture. He suggests that just as only about ten per cent of an iceberg is
visible to the eye, so is culture. By this, he meant to say that ninety per cent of culture is
deep, internal and hidden from the naked eye. Hall further explained that initial interactions
with other cultures is usually done with the external visible and learned ten per cent. 73
This external interactive culture in summary can be experienced or observed with the five
senses (touch, smell, sight, hear and taste). They include food, language, music and
symbols. Most conflict arise as a result of the lack of knowledge and understanding of the
invisible ninety per cent.74 This inherited and more often than not unconscious source of
cultural conflicts are characterized by elements such as beliefs, values, attitudes and
religion. Furthermore, representative of the universal culture and the basic human needs
are the bottommost part of the invisible iceberg. Such inherited and learnt invisible and
visible culture elements are displayed through communication. Communication therefore
as iterated by Edward T Hall can be either low or high context.75
72 cf. Hall, 1976, p. 105.
73 cf. Hall, 1989, p. 112.
74 cf. LeBaron & Pillay, 2006, p. 25; cf. Oetzel & Ting-Toomey, 2005, p. 1.
75 cf. Hall, 1976, pp. 105-111.
2.4.3 VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
It is said that nonverbal communication is reflects ones true feelings and hence accounts
for ninety-three per cent of all communication.76 Nonverbal communication defines the
true character, desires and mood of an individual. Even so, in order to successfully
interpret nonverbal communications, one must educate him or herself about the cultural
norms, attitudes and values of other cultures. 77 Nonverbal communication can be
classified into three main categories. Namely, body language, paralanguage and
appearance.78 In these classifications, Gill and Adam described body language as all body
movements that has a meaning. Here, movements of the arms, face, waist, feets and eyes
signify feelings and thoughts. 79They went ahead to add silence to the eight basic codes
of nonverbal communication drawn up by Argyle.80 He listed the eight codes as physical
appearance, proxemics, chronemics, kinesics, haptics, oculesics, vocalics and olfactics.
Paralanguage on the other hand, Gill and Adams referred to as how ones voice and
speech is perceived. The first two classifications were described as temporary signs while
the third classification (this appearance) was described as more permanent and had to do
with physical looks. Verbal communications on the other hand refer to the words we use
and they are accompanied by nonverbal communication. In other words, the use of words
is the use of language. According to earlier discussed theory, the ECOWAS region is
identified with several languages. Apart from the official languages, the most prominent
languages within this region are Pidgin (especially in the Anglophone part) and the local
dialects of the most dominant or populous ethnic groups or tribes.81 This form of language
“(…) vaguely suggestive of a variety of English or a French that has ‘something African
76 cf. Hall, 1976, pp. 100-109.
77 cf. Varner & Beamer, 2011, p. 249.
78 cf. Gill & Adams, 1998, pp. 116-117.
79 cf. Richmond & Gestrin, 1998, pp. 88.
80 cf. Argyle, 1988, pp. 3-21.
81 cf. Zabus, 2007, p. xiii.
82 Zabus, 2007, p. 4.
2.4.4 HIGH AND LOW CONTEXT CULTURES
Low and high-context are terms used by Edward T. Hall to broadly differentiate and
describe cultures.83 Hall characterized high-context cultures as having more information
below the waterline while low-context societies on the other hand apparently have more
information above the waterline. Hall further iterated that in contrast to low-context
cultures, high-context cultures have some of the following features;
- Emphasizes on human relationships
- Extended family systems
- Indirect communication
- Long and unhurried speeches
- Loose and free interpretation of information
- More use of nonverbal communication
As an inferring society, high-context societies are not straight to the point when
communicating. Thereby leaving room for the listener to make inferences and
interpretations. These inferences and interpretations are based on societal norms, morals
and values. Although indirect, communication in high-context societies are very formal
and often in parables and proverbs. Interpretations are open to the receiver thus
prompting for inferences and assumptions. Halls studies described Africa, Middle East
and Latin America as high-context societies while classifying Anglo-Saxon, USA and
Scandinavia as low-context societies. Additionally, extended family systems are practiced.
In that, a family consists of great grandparents, grandparents, parents, their children,
aunties, uncles, cousins and so on. They may or may not be blood related.84
83 cf. Hall, 1976, pp. 21-33.
84 cf. Richmond & Gestrin, 1998, pp. 2-3.
CHAPTER 3: EMPIRICAL PART
In this section, the study area is narrowed down to two countries and two mobile operators
in the sub region. A non-experimental descriptive content analysis was conducted.
Results from the content analysis have been presented and discussed in this chapter.
This exploration would form the backbone for a generally applicable advertisement
guideline proposal for the ECOWAS region.
3.1 THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS IN THE SUB RERION
Telecommunication has over the last century gradually become a primary source and
facilitator of communication.85 Customarily, it is a service based industry characterized by
highly standardized processes and offerings. Not only has it been the backbone of
information flow, it has also become a source of entertainment, an advertising platform, a
content sharing platform and a payment system.86 The industry is not demographically
bound thereby making it difficult in most cases to define and distinguish the target
Indeed, the ECOWAS region has its member states classified as developing countries.87
This makes the telecommunication industry in this region impoverished. Mobile network
operations in the sub-region however, can be put at par with that of any other region in
the world. This is partly because the mobile operations sector is dominated by global
players who may tend to replicate standards they offer in more developed regions.
Amongst the global players active in the ECOWAS region are; British based ‘Vodafone’,
American based ‘Miilicom (Tigo)’, Indian based ‘Airtel’, France based ‘Orange’ and United
Arab Emirates based Etisalat. With a volatile economy characterized by fluctuating
employment rates, poor debt recovery systems and untraceable mobility of citizens,
mobile operators in this region prefer prepaid offerings to contractual offerings which is a
85 cf. Remenyi & Brown, 2006, p. 469.
86 cf. Remenyi & Brown, 2006, p. 211-222.
87 cf. Langhammer & Hiemenz, 1990, p.13.
common feature in developed regions. Rather, SIM cards are randomly sold in
supermarkets, shops, kiosks and by road side vendors. As such, purchasers are often
anonymous and not registered. Hence, the consumers have high switching powers with
relatively low switching costs.
For this study, mobile network operators with more than 50 per cent foreign ownership
have been defined as international companies while those with more than fifty per cent
local/regional ownership are being classified as local companies. Here, a local company
refers to any mobile network company with its ownership registered in any of the
ECOWAS member states and vice versa. According to the 2012 Blycroft research reports,
as off the second quarter of 2011, the average mobile penetration rate in the ECOWAS
region was approximately fifty-eight per cent.88 As the table below indicates, the mobile
network market in the sub-region is dominated by foreign providers as they account for
seventy-three per cent of operational mobile operators in this region.
Additionally, with about a fifty-five per cent mobile penetration rate, over fifty per cent of
the ECOWAS population are directly exposed or benefit from the services of mobile
operators. There furthermore exists are likelihood of this percentage increasing if indirect
beneficiaries are also considered.
cf. AMETW, 2012, pp. 50-51.
Overview of Mobile Operators within the ECOWAS89
Benin 5 54 2 3
Faso 3 38 0 3
Cape Verde 2 93 1 1
Cote d'Ivoire 6 70 1 5
Gambia 4 84 2 2
Ghana 6 78 1 5
Guinea 4 45 1 3
Bissau 3 54 1 2
Liberia 6 42 1 5
Mali 3 63 1 2
Niger 4 25 1 3
Nigeria 5 58 2 3
Senegal 3 74 0 3
Sierra Leone 5 46 1 4
Togo 2 39 1 1
Note. Table showing mobile operators operational within the ECOWAS region.
The data summarized in this table was mined from the official websites of the ‘National
Communications Authority or Autorite De Regulation Des Telecommunications’ of the
respective member states90 with a detailed breakdown of mobile operators in each country
and their respective market shares in the appendix.91
90 cf. AMETW, 2013, n.p., [online].
For a detailed breakdown of mobile operators in each country and their respective market shares, see
Appendix 3, pp. 97-98.
A combination of qualitative and quantitative content analysis was used to analyze the
chosen advertisements for this study. Narrative and semiotic analysis were applied to
"examine critically the logic, composition and protocols …"92 of the sampled ads. Word
frequency was analyzed with the online version of the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count
(LIWC) software. Nevertheless, the services of two human coders were also solicited as
“…the human contribution to content analysis is still paramount”93.
3.2.1 CONTENT ANALYSIS OF ADVERTISEMENTS
In the advent of globalization, products and services tend to reach consumers from all
walks of life in different geographic locations as well as consumers with different
economic, social and cultural backgrounds. It is therefore common practice that
manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers advertise their product and services
through commercials. Commercials are a “… a particular kind of (…) ‘advertisement’
where, due to time constraints, the link between sign and sense is particularly stressed,
so as to obtain the best quality and effectiveness for the conveyed message”94. It has
therefore become necessary to describe and analyze advertisements to ascertain
messages and information contained in their contents as well as determining how these
contents are being assimilated by its consumers. A way of achieving such results is by
the use of content analysis as due to its inference nature, it can be used to answer
questions such as; "who says what, to whom, why, how, and with what effect?”95. This
makes this research method an appropriate tool for analyzing oral, text and or video media
as is intended in this study. Content analysis has been defined as “... a research technique
for making replicable and valid inferences from texts (and other meaningful matter) to the
contexts of their use.”96 In other words, such an analysis incorporates both quantitative
Krippendorff, 2004, p. xvii.
93 Neuendorf, 2002, p. 40.
94 Caliani et al., 1998, n.p.
Rubin & Babbie, 1993, p. 407.
Krippendorff, 2004, p. 18.
and qualitative elements of research and provides for inductive and deductive analysis of
data. It is therefore used to quantify, investigate and deduct elements, meanings and
attributes from the communicated media and to bridges the descriptive representative of
words and actions to what they may suggest or signify.97 It is for this reason that content
analysis has been described by some researchers as an appropriate method for the
analysis of media and its contents.98
In this research, an inductive content analysis approach was used to extract and analyze
themes, texts, audio, images, signs, symbols and meanings from the sampled
advertisements. 99 Emphasis was placed on communication and culture as these,
according to literature, were identified as strong manifest and latent100 indicators to the
degree of standardization or adaptation of the commercials. As TV ads were analyzed in
this study, both narrative and semiotic analysis approaches were utilized to analyze visual,
verbal, nonverbal written and drawn contents of the chosen media.
cf. Krippendorff, 2004, p. 85.
98 cf. Neuendorf, 2002, p. 1.
cf. Neuman, 1997, pp. 272-273.
cf. Maxwell, 1996, p. 243.
Preparation, organization and resulting phrases in the content analysis process101
Note. Illustration of the inductive approach to content analysis.
Reproduced from Elo & Kynga, 2008, p.110.
According to the figure above, a content analysis comprises of the preparation,
organization and reporting phases respectively. This was the structure adapted for the
methodology. The preparation phase was where the researcher composed a research
topic and sets the scope and objectives of the research. In this phase, a decision was also
made to apply the inductive approach as this will better satisfied the research aims than
a deductive approach. Additionally, in the preparation phase, sampling was done coding
guidelines were drawn up. The samples were then broken down into coding units at the
organization phase, Categorization of ad contents was also done accordingly with relation
to the coding units. In, the reporting stage, results were presented, and mapped,
conceptualized and compared with literature.102
220.127.116.11 LINQUISTIC ANALYSIS (NARRATOLOGY)
Narratology, is used in analysis to dissociate events of a narrative (story) in this case, a
TV spot from what the narrator, listener or viewer associates with it (disclosure). The
associations made may vary with varying cultural, economic, political, legal, social and
demographic backgrounds amongst others.103 Narrative science as a form of content
analysis was first termed and mentioned in 1969 by Tzvetan Todorov104 but has presently
been referred to as cognitive Narratology which is "… defined as the study of mind-
relevant aspects of storytelling practices (...)” .105 In other words, the meaning of a story is
not only as the teller portrays it but also as the receiver speculates or receives it. This may
imply that narration can be done through music as well.
This story analysis technique was used in conjunction with semiology to code and
examine the sample ads for this research.
cf. Elo & Kynga 2008, p.109.
103 cf. Wallace, 2009, p.398.
104 cf. Todorov, 1969, p.10.
105 Hühn et al., 2009, p. 30.
18.104.22.168 VISUAL ANALYSIS (SEMIOTICS)
Ongoing growth and development in technology, digitalization and telecommunications
and information flow has led to the increasing use of visual analysis methods such as
semiotics as an efficient form of linguistic and communication analysis.106 It is for this
matter that this tool was also used to analyze the contents of the sampled ads in this
study. In such visual analysis, video characteristics and elements such as cuts, paces,
genres, graphics and camerawork may be examined and documented.107 Semiotics has
therefore been referred to as a theory of significance108 in which signs and actions of the
players and their environment portray mental and cultural characteristics.109
Of the two models of semiotic analysis, namely the Piercean model, and the Saussurian
model,110 the later was identified as relevant as it complements and goes hand in hand
with an inductive analysis approach. This is because unlike the former, in the Saussurian
model, the components, thus the signifier and the signified represent signs and symbols
in their palpable and inferred forms respectively.111 This is to say that, the ‘signifier’ depicts
elements that give meaning whilst the ‘signified’ represents how the receiver interprets,
infers or associates with the signifier emotionally, psychologically and sometimes
physically. It is for this reason that semiotics has generally been used frequently to analyze
culture and communication in and of media.112
cf. Cobley, 2001, p. 140.
cf. Floch, 1990, p. 75.
cf. Bronwen & Felizitas, 2000, p.1.
cf. Caliani et al., 1998, n.p.
110 cf. Chandler, 2001, Signs, para.2 [online].
cf. Chandler, 2001, Signs, para.10 [online].
cf. Chandler, 2001, Introduction, para.22 [online].
3.2.2 SAMPLING PROCEDURE
The choice of the mobile telecommunications industry for this study was informed by the
notion that mobile network operators worldwide are able to deliver highly standardized
services with little demographic discrimination. Consequently, with an average direct
mobile penetration rate of 57.53 per cent, services from this industry may be directly
patronized by about half the population of ECOWAS. On the other hand, due to the
extended family structures and a high collective index of this region as suggested by
literature, the number of beneficiaries from services provided by mobile operators could
be expected to reach over two-thirds of the entire ECOWAS population.
According to 2012 AMETW rankings, the three nations from the ECOWAS region ranked
in Africa’s top ten states by mobile subscribers were Nigeria (ranked no.1), Ghana (ranked
no. 8) and Cote d’Ivoire (ranked no. 10).113 Despite the relative peace in Ghana where
there are no wars or public unrests, Nigeria on the other hand although also has no wars,
there exists rather recurrent tribal and religious conflicts114, these two countries will be
sampled for this research as both countries together represent more than two thirds the
total population of the sub region. This divergence in stability will help analysis the effect
of tribal and religious dynamics on advertisements. Undoubtedly, there is a contrast in the
population size of the two countries but Ghana; with an estimated mobile penetration of
78 per cent is the third highest country in the sub region. This makes her an appropriate
sample in addition to Nigeria which has an estimated 58 per cent mobile penetration and
a population size approximately six times that of Ghana.115 Furthermore, they are the
most culturally diverse countries in the region in addition to being the main driving force
of this regional integration (ECOWAS). Moreover, Ghana and Nigeria are the economic
and demographic power houses116 in the sub region and have recorded high migration
rates from other member states. To further strengthen the choice of the two countries,
during wars in the sub region, according to literature, these two countries hosts millions of
refugees as a result of conflicts within the ECOWAS. Majority of whom permanently
cf. AMETW, 2012, p. 46.
114 cf. Higazi, 2011, pp. 1-6.
cf. Blycroft, 2012, n.p.
cf. Bossard, 2009, p. 33.
integrate. English being the official language in these countries also makes research and
analysis by the researcher and external coders more efficient.
Television advertisements of two mobile operators active in both Ghana and Nigeria were
sampled for this study. To ensure that the sampling was purposive, a criterion to be used
was that the chosen advertisements had to be aired on national TV and the ads were not
to be more than 2 years old. This is because national broadcasting houses have the most
coverage (large geographic area) of the nation and hence, their broadcasts are highly
likely to reach the majority of the populace in comparison to their privately owned
counterparts. Another criteria was that one of the two mobile operators would have to be
a local company trying to expand in the region while the other was an international
company already existing in the under studied region. Furthermore, the chosen mobile
operators were to represent a substantial percentage of the entire telecommunications
market in the ECOWAS region.
Going by these criteria, the mobile networks MTN and GLO were sampled for this study.
MTN is a South African based mobile network provider operating in both Ghana and
Nigeria. MTN is the most dominant foreign network in the ECOWAS region. On the other
hand, GLO, which is based in Nigeria, is the leading local mobile network provider in the
22.214.171.124 CODING UNITES AND GUIDELINES
As the Saussurian model proposes, a coding guideline was developed. The developed
coding guideline has four main coding units of analysis. Namely video elements, text or
drawn elements and the audio elements. As a prerequisite, a good content analysis is
characterized by a well-defined coding guideline. The coding guideline describe the
categories and elements presented in the coding guidelines.117Coding guidelines of a
content analysis as described by Mayring, is a replicable outline of highlighted elements
of an understudy sample which makes for experiential and educational inductive or
deductive analysis when reading data. In other words, the coding guideline define and
differentiate the main categories from the generic and sub categories of the coding
guideline as proposed by Elo and Kynga. 118 Relating definitions and descriptions
(variables) were grouped together as sub categories. The sub categories were then
grouped in relevance as the generic categories. Subsequently, the generic categories
were categorized in according to the coding units as the main categories. The purpose of
this is to direct and enable coders as well as readers to make similar descriptions,
interpretations and inferences of the sampled media contents. In accordance with the
purpose and scope of this study, an appropriate, a coding guideline119 was developed with
the research questions, and the overall objective of this research in mind. Variables of the
coding guideline were defined with coding rules.
In order to determine the extent to which advertisements are standardized in the
ECOWAS region, coding, grouping, and categorization was formulated clearly as
recommended by Mayring in the figure below. Firstly a coding guideline/sheet was drawn
up. The coding guideline formed the basis for inductive grouping and categorization.
Categorization was tested with the sampled ads and reformulated to encompass vital
elements to this study. Half way through the coding, the coders discussed and revised the
categories before proceeding. A reliability check was performed before, during and after
the coding process.
117 cf. Mayring, 2000, p. 9-21.
118 cf. Elo & Kynga 2008, p.111.
For coding guidelines see Appendix 2, p. 96.
Step model of inductive category development120
Note. Structure followed for inductive coding and categorization.
Reproduced from Mayring, 2000, p.11.
After completing the coding process, the results were presented in the following chapter
and interpreted in the next mainly with narratology and semiology. Needless to say,
quantitative were performed with the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software.
The LIWC tool was used to measure dimensions such as self-references social words and
cognitive words. The LIWC is a text-analysis computing software that analysis and
calculates in percentages the degree words used in texts. This is relevant as personalities
and societies are defined by the words used. The percentages are computed when the
software is used to process a text. Computing is based on a collection of pre-installed
dictionaries while interpretations are made by humans and are therefore subjective in
121 cf. Tausczik & Pennebaker, 2010, pp. 25-27.
126.96.36.199 RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY
For the purpose of consistency, two coders from Ghana and Nigeria were trained based
on the drawn up coding guideline to assist in the analysis of the study materials. Coding
schemes and classifications were drawn up with the contribution of the two coders. The
coders also assisted in the translation and transcription of the sampled ads. Coder checks
were performed once before the commencement of the coding process, twice during the
coding and one more time after the coding process to ensure that the coders remained
consistent to the coding rules. Even though the coders were well trained, to clear up any
ambiguities and inter-coder disagreement, a reliability test was developed by the
researcher. In the reliability test, ‘1’ was set if two out of the three coders (author inclusive)
agreed on a coding variable and its interpretation without anomaly. ‘0’ was set when all
three or two of the coders disagreed on a coding variable and its interpretation. The results
were then unanimously filled in a single coding guideline. In addition the ads were run
through the LIWC analysis tool twice with a 5 month interval to ensure reliability and
validity of the results.
The sampled TV commercials were acquired from the national TV station on a CD-ROM.
The ads were viewed and listened to from the CD-ROM on a computer. This was to allow
for consistency and convenient play-backs. Additionally, these recordings have been
published on the researchers YouTube channel122 for readers’ referencing.
122 cf. YouTube, 2014, [online].
3.3 RESULTS OF RESEARCH
3.3.1 FINDINGS OF MTN ADS (GHANA-NIGERIA)
MTN Ads (Ghana – Nigeria)
COMPANY Yes: Company name Yes: Company name and colors x
Yes: Free bonus Yes: Porting phone numbers
CAST Ordinary people: No celebrities
Hafiz Oyetoro alias 'Saka' a popular
Nigerian comic actor and six others
AGE / GENDER OF
n/a 50 years / M x
Outdoors at a road side food vendor
probably at lunch time.
A musical performance on stage (concert)
i) Attire of the road side food vendor
(kaba and slit) ii) The food being
sold ('Wakye' with 'shitto') iii) The
'Ewe-eran' leaves for wrapping the
i) The outfits of the casts ii) National flag
colors: The seemingly green and white
stipes of the main actors atire when his
back was turned on stage
LANGUAGE(S) i) Twi ii) English iii) Pigeon' English
i) 'Pigeon' English ii) Proper English (voice
ACTIONS Buying food from road side vendors The 'Alanta' and 'Azonto' dance x
SLOGAN / CATION MTN, everywhere you go MTN, everywhere you go x
i) MTN [5x]
ii) 'Ntosoɔ' [3x]
i) MTN [6x] ii) Port [4x] iii) Number [4x] iv)
No long 'tins'
i) Switch to MTN; Retain your number ii)
"I don port ooo"
i) MTN ii) 'Ntosoɔ' i) MTN ii) Port x
No music: Just an unknown
Not a commercial music: Composed
specifically for the ad
VOICES Live / Real: voices recorded on set Not live: Studio recorded x
SPOKEN SLOGANS MTN, welcome to the new world
i)'I don port go MTN ii) I don upgrade to
i) Sound of a passing car ii) Two
clinking sounds (hitting of ladle
against utensil) ii) Moving motor
bike iii) Hooting horn
TARGET AUDIENCE Existing MTN subscribers Subscribers to networks other than MTN
APPEALS Emotional and rational appeals Emotional and rational appeals x
LENGTH 00:00:46 00:00:45
1 1 x
Note. Results of content analysis performed on MTN Ghana and MTN Nigeria ads.
188.8.131.52 NARRATION OF MTN GHANA AD
This ad had an outdoor setting. It is about a typical road side food vendor selling ‘wakye’
(rice colored and flavored with beans and dry sorghum leaves) in what seemed to be
either a campus or a residential area.
Human characters of both genders are featured in the ad. It has about nineteen casts in
the fore and background with two main characters.
The ad is centered on a young man who queues to buy ‘wakye’. When it gets to his turn,
he tries to confidentially persuade the older female food vendor for more than the money
worth of what he’s buying. The food vendor then lashes out.
As the scene goes, the camera panned over the greenery of trees to a wooden stall of a
road side food vendor situated under one of such trees. The white and brown colored stall
had the inscription ‘Aben Wo Ha Kora’ which translates to English as ‘this is the place to
be’ and is normally used as jargon to depict joy or excitement. Amelia, the food vendor
had some customers enjoying their meal on wooden benches and tables while a handful
were still queued up. An anxious looking young man walks up to the stall and orders his
food. He requests for sixty-five pesewas (approximately seventy cents) worth of ‘wakye’
and fifty pesewas worth of macaroni, ‘gari’ (mashed and roasted cassava tuber) and meat
all together. Awed Amelia immediately drops the white Styrofoam container and picks up
'Ewe-eran' leaves to dish out the young man’s food. This makes a young lady in the queue
directly behind the young man giggle. The young man then glances at her and chuckles.
Turning back to Amelia, he asks Amelia not to forget to give him more than the sixty-five
pesewas worth of food he has ordered. This infuriates Amelia as she lashes out at the
young man. In a high tone, she suggests that she doesn’t give extra and that if the young
man wants extra, he should go to MTN. She added that they (MTN) will give him give him
free minutes anytime he recharges or tops up his credit. By the time she’s done talking,
everyone else disappears from the scene. Another young male customer who was
already seated and eating briefly returned to the scene, picks up the meat on his food and
184.108.40.206 NARRATION OF MTN NIGERIA AD
The ad was shot on stage in a concert like scenic. The stage had lights and smoke.
Both male and female human casts are featured in this ad. The main role is played by
Hafiz Oyetoro a Nigerian comic actor popularly known as ’Saka’. He is supported by six
other casts. There of whom were in the background.
In the ad, ‘Saka’ plays the role of an energetic conductor and musician performing in the
fore on stage with three female backup singers and a band of three males in the
This one scene ad, opened with the camera zoomed in on the lower body of a male
stumping his left foot on stage with his back turned to the camera. He starts to sing as the
camera zooms to his upper body. It a smoky and brightly illuminated stage. The male
performer continues to sing and conduct his band energetically while still facing away from
the camera. After a short while, the camera zooms out revealing the band, the back-up
singers and all the props on stage. He then jumps and turns around to reveal his face.
The singing goes on amidst dancing.
3.3.2 FINDINGS OF GLO ADS (GHANA-NIGERIA)
GLO Ads (Ghana – Nigeria)
Yes: i) Presence of green color in the outfits of
most of the casts ii) Green scenery
Yes: i) Company name and colors.
ii) Color of main actors outfit
Yes: Switch to Glo Yes: Peeps rate
Popular Ghanaian musicians: i)Pat Thomas,
ii)George Kwabena Adu(Kwabena Kwabena),
iii) Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, iv)Papa Yankson,
v)Nii Addo Quaynor(Tinny), vi) Reginald
Osei(Reggie Rockstone), vii)Nana Wiafe
Asante-Mensah(Asem), viii)Sherifa Gunu,
ix)Jane Fauzziea Fara Awindor(Efya), x)Irene
Popular Nigerian musicians: i)Aituaje
Iruobe alias 'Waje', ii)Omawumi
Megbele, iii)Chukie Edozien aka
AGE / GENDER OF
i)63yrs/M, ii)36yrs/M, iii)65+yrs/M, iv)71yrs/M,
v)32yrs/M, vi)50+yrs/M, vii)27yrs/M, viii)n/a/F,
i)33yrs/F, ii)32yrs/F, iii)28yrs//M x
(ACTIVITY / PLACE)
i) An outdoor get-together at the beach ii)
Evening barbecue in a back yard iii) At clothing
and accessory store
An evening party at what seemed to
be a pub/restaurant
i)Colors of the national flag: Red, yellow green
colors embroidered onto of one of the shirts of
the casts, ii)Wedding ring: worn by some of the
older casts in scene 1
National colors: The green color of
the main actress attire
LANGUAGE(S) i) Twi ii) English iii) Ga iv) Dagomba i) 'Pigeon' English ii) Proper English
ACTIONS Not identified Not identified x
i) ii) Stand Proud! Glo ii) Glo Unlimited
i) Friends  ii) Family  iii) Glo  i) Bounce [4x] ii) Call [3x]
i) Special rates ii) 5 special people i) Bounce peeps rate ii) Bounce plan
Not a commercial music: Composed
specifically for the ad
Unknown background tune
VOICES Not live: Studio recorded Live / Real: voices recorded on set
SPOKEN SLOGANS i) I've got friends ii) Family and friends Bounce to the upside of life
OTHERS None identified None identified x
All subscribers on GLO and other networks Existing GLO subscribers x
APPEALS Emotional and rational appeals Emotional and rational appeals x
LENGTH 00:01:07 00:01:01
Note. Results of content analysis performed on GLO Ghana and GLO Nigeria ads.
220.127.116.11 NARRATION OF GLO GHANA AD
The ad has three settings. Thus, an outdoor get-together at the beach, an evening
barbecue in a back yard and an indoor setting at a clothing and accessory store.
The casts comprised of ten well-known Ghanaian musicians. Seven of whom were male
artists and the remaining were female artistes.
The ad represented the coming together of artists from three music genres. Namely, High-
life, Hip-life and Soul.
The first scene showcased four male Hip-life artistes having a small get-together at the
beach amidst singing. Two of them sung about the love, unity and trust they have for each
other. The other two nodded and danced in approval. The second scene faded in sharply
and revealed three male Hip-life artists dancing and having fun at an evening back yard
barbeque. One of them rapped about sharing love, joy and happiness with family and
friends. The third scene was shot in the hat section clothing and accessory store. It
revealed three female Soul artistes trying out hats cheerfully. One of the artistes sung
about the value of relationships with family and friends. In the final scene, all the casts
joined the Hip-life artistes at their barbecue.
18.104.22.168 NARRATION OF GLO NIGERIA AD
The ad has an indoor setting. Seemingly in either a pub, restaurant or a conference room
with a bar.
Three famous Nigerian musicians were featured in this ad. Aituaje Iruobe main who pays
the part of Philo is the main character.
The represented events at an evening gathering or party. A young lady arrives at the event
and heads to the bathroom to change her outfit while updating her girlfriend on phone.
As the scene unfolds, Philo burst onto the scene peeping through the doorway to the party
hall. She instantly spotted a well kempt handsome young man. Philo is filled with
excitement as she feverishly walks to the lady’s wash room. She gets on the phone with
a girlfriend but she had to end the call due to an incoming call from another girlfriend called
Angie. She picks Angie’s call and informs her she’s just entering the bathroom and
excuses herself to call Rosy. She stays on the phone with Rosy as she makes up and
changes from her black trousers with a white long sleeve shirt into a nice long green dinner
dress. She enters the party hall and starts describing the event to Rosy as she walks
across the hall in the direction of the handsome young man she spotted earlier on. To the
surprise of Rosy, Philo suddenly changes the topic and language of conversation as she
got closer to the young man. Philo changed the conversation from normal chit chat about
the occasion in Pidgin English to a businesslike discussion in proper English. It took Rosy
a while to figure out what was going on but burst into laughter making fun of Philo as she
did. The then camera zoomed on the young man. ‘Mission cancelled!’ said Philo with
appall as she realized that the young man she is trying to impress is just a waiter at the
event. Philo bumps into the same young man dressed as a guest. They both glance at the
waiter who walked closer and they walk out the front door arm in arm.
3.3.3 RESULTS OF LINGUISTIC INQUIRY AND WORD COUNT (LIWC) COMPUTER BASED ANALYSIS
Results of LIWC Analysis
TRANSLATED TRANSCRIPT OF MTN GHANA AD
Self-references (I, me,
2.08 11.4 4.2
Social words 12.5 9.5 8
Positive emotions 5.21 2.7 2.6
Negative emotions 0 2.6 1.6
5.21 7.8 5.4
Articles (a, an, the) 2.08 5 7.2
Big words (> 6 letters) 15.62 13.1 19.6
Word Count 96
TRANSLATED TRANSCRIPT OF MTN NIGERIA AD
Self-references (I, me,
4.35 11.4 4.2
Social words 6.52 9.5 8
Positive emotions 0 2.7 2.6
Negative emotions 0 2.6 1.6
1.09 7.8 5.4
Articles (a, an, the) 5.43 5 7.2
Big words (> 6 letters) 14.13 13.1 19.6
Word Count 92
TRANSLATED TRANSCRIPT OF GLO GHANA AD
Self-references (I, me, my) 18.32 11.4 4.2
Social words 29.77 9.5 8
Positive emotions 11.45 2.7 2.6
Negative emotions 0 2.6 1.6
Overall cognitive words 0.76 7.8 5.4
Articles (a, an, the) 0.76 5 7.2
Big words (> 6 letters) 24.43 13.1 19.6
Word Count 131
TRANSLATED TRANSCRIPT OF GLO NIGERIA AD
4.55 11.4 4.2
Social words 14.39 9.5 8
Positive emotions 1.52 2.7 2.6
Negative emotions 0 2.6 1.6
3.79 7.8 5.4
Articles (a, an, the) 6.06 5 7.2
Big words (> 6
11.36 13.1 19.6
Word Count 132
Note. LIWC dimensions and results of all four sampled ads for this study.
The translated version of the four chosen ads were run through the online version of the
LIWC and the results has been presented in the above table. The translated versions of
the ads were of the ads were run in the software instead of the original versions because
the original versions contained words and phrases in ventricular and Pidgin English. The
LIWC software is not programed to process and compute these languages. Hence the
use of the translated version which is in proper English. Analysis of the columns ‘Personal
Text’ and ‘Formal Text’ will not be analyzed for any of the LIWC dimensions in this study
as the results of the above mentioned columns are the same for all the four sampled ads.
This is due to the fact that the free online version was used version and as such, some
functions are disabled. Alternatively, the first column ‘Your Data’ has been sufficiently
computed as shown in the table above.
The above table illustrates a high use of social words and words that communicate
positive emotions. This is represented by an average of approximately 15.80 per cent and
4.55 per cent respectively. The former was only second to the average percentage of big
words used in all four ads. This was approximately 16.40 per cent. Analysis of the above
table reveals the use of no words which portray negative emotions. Also, an average of
about 3.50 per cent and 2.70 percent of articles and cognitive words were used in the
above presented LIWC results respectively. Generally, average of 113 words were per
3.4 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
Careful consideration of literature reveals possible relationships between Maslow’s basic
human needs, Hofstede’s levels of culture based on mind set and advertisement appeals
as mentioned by Wells. These mental levels were indirectly mirrored in Abraham Maslow’s
hierarchy of basic human needs and presented in the diagram below. These possible
relationships nave been interpreted from literature to suit the ECOWAS region.
Mirrored Relationships (Basic Needs-Culture-Ad Appeals) 123
Note. Relationship mapping between the basic human needs, cultural characteristics
and advertisement appeals.
Following arguments and deductions from literature, the above illustrated possible
relationships have been drawn. For the purpose of this study, the above shown
relationships are being described as the most relevant in fulfilling the objective of this
study and the development of a general advertisement guideline. The diagram suggests
that inherited and universal culture is as a result of man’s psychological and safety needs.
As being illustrated above, safety needs can be said to include the need for love and
belonging. This may be based on the common knowledge that for instance kids feel safe
when they are being showed love from their parents. In other words, the need for love and
123 Source: adapted from: cf. Maslow, 1943, pp. 370-396; Hofstede, G. & Hofstede et al., 2010, pp. 6-7; cf.
Wells et al., 1992, p249.