The Influence of American Adverting On the Culture of Developing

TheInfluence of American Adverting On the Culture of DevelopingSocieties

Everybusiness has to engage in advertising in order to persuade consumersto purchase a particular product or even a service. This explains thebasic reason why many companies are actively involved in advertising. Although advertising is beneficial to businesses and even theconsumers, it does have an impact on culture. When approximated theaverage exposure to advertising for Americans ranges between fivehundred to one thousand commercial messages each day. Societies inother cultures are also exposed to American advertisements. As Noreen (2010, para .1) discloses, ‘’one cannot travel to Asia ,Africa and Latin American and not be exposed to the elements of the American culture on the urban life of this particular societies.’’(Par. I). For instance, my experience every timeI travel to developing Asian countries, I usually see the influence of the American culture on advertising , the food, clothing , shopping centers and many other areas of life style.Indeed, I can state that the American culture does have an influenceon many aspects of life in developing countries. This paper seeks toexamine the influence of American adverting on the culture ofdeveloping societies. The paper argues that American advertising hasbrought about a negative influence on the culture of developingnations.

One of the negative implications of American advertising on theculture of developing nations is that it has resulted to thedevelopment of negative consumerism. What is evident is that some ofthe developing countries and even the citizens are not veryeconomically stable. Most people struggle to make ends meet whileliving below I dollar a day. The infiltration of American advertingin such societies has made such societies to crave for commoditiesthey cannot afford. Stern in Vanderkochhove (2002, para. 2) arguesthat ‘’ many developing societies want to move to the level ofconsumerism that exists in America.’’ The end result is thedevelopment of negative consumerism. Noreen (2010, p5) also supportsthe perspective that people who earn less than 200 dollars in theirannual pay also have a craving for more products yet they cannotafford . They usually learn about the products from the outside worldthrough adverting. An experience I got during a visit to one of theAfrican nations is that I noted that the people were desperate toacquire expensive products. The implication of this is that negativetendencies such as the increase in crime and robbery take place morefrequently. While walking on the streets, my friends and I werewarned to take care of our property in order for us to not be robbed.

Anothernegative implication of American advertising on the culture ofdeveloping nations is that it has resulted to the development ofdependency on the American culture which further affects the cultureof developing societies. Vanderkochhove, (2002, para.1) highlightsthat one of the negative implication of transnational adverting isthat it results to dependency. Noreen (2010, p5, p4) brings out theidea of dependency through transnational advertising which has been amajor force towards the creation of transactional culture. It can beargued that the development of the transnational culture can lead todependency. The Dependency theory argues that due to westerndevelopment in low – income countries the phenomena of reliance and dependency has developed on the capitalist system whereby lowincome nations cannot compete fairly (Vanderkochhove, 2002, para.1).During my visit to Africa I also noted that much of theadvertisements on their Television screens were for products from theinternational market. This basically implies that the market inAfrica is greatly depends on products from the international market. This creates a situation of dependency yet many of the people in thiscountries can barely afford the products advertised on their screens.

Due to increased globalization and advancement in informationtechnology, there has been an increase in international advertisingessentially by multinational companies. International advertisinginvolves the transfer of commercial messages totarget audience inmore than one nation. The target audience normally varies from onenation to another. The manner in which one nationinterprets andperceives an advertising stimuli or symbol differs from the other(Douglas and Craig, 2002, para. 1). This implies that the impact ofthe advert on one nation may be different from the other nation. Although it can be stated that advertisements brings about positivebenefitssuch as freedom of speech increasing innovation andcompetition (Vanderkochhove, 2002, p4).Critiques have argue that international advertising especially fromthe United States, negatively affects developing nations in terms ofbringing negative western values tosocieties that uphold highmoral values. A case in point is when looking at how products such asmoisturizers and body oils are advertised. I often think that somuch skin is presented before the audience. Many Americanadvertisements are dominated by images of nudity which in my view canaffect many conservative cultures in developing nations. Forinstance when looking nations that are inclined to the Islamicreligion, viewing images of nude women is considered immoral andsinful. It can therefore be stated that American advertising isnegatively affecting the culture of developing nations by theintroduction of negative social behaviors.

Mypersonal experience is that American advertising can actually make anindividual to replace their traditional products and even culturalhabits in order to adopt the products that are being advertised. Thisview is also asserted by Noreen (2010, p5, p4) who argues that thetransnational culture has influenced people to abandoned theirtraditional cultures. In most cases the consumers many view theabandonment of traditional products and cultures to be fashionableand trendy (Noreen, 2010, Para. 13). For instance the increased useof social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter has madeadvertising to be easier for many companies. Many people acrossdifferent nations can easily view advertisements. The implication ofthis occurrence is that the use of social media advertising easilycapturesthe audience due to the social influence from onlinefriends. People tend to influence each other to use a certain productwhich they find attractive and beneficial to them. Such a situationleads to the abandonment of traditional products and cultural habits.For instance I read that one of the traditional practices of Africanpeople is to drink together in one pot using big straws that assistto pull out the alcohol from the pots. With increased urbanizationand also an increasing in advertisement, many African people haveabandoned the practice of drinking together in one pot to drinking inpubs and clubs as a way to show just how modernized and Americanizedthey have become. In my opinion I think that such cultural tendencieswould still exist in such societies if American advertisements hadnot infiltrated the cultures of developing nations.


The discussion has presented various views concerning the impact ofAmerican advertising on the culture of developing nations. The focusof the paper was mainly on the negative impacts of the advertisementson the culture of developing nations. Some of the factors highlightedinclude the development of negative consumerism, dependency on theAmerican culture, the adornment of traditional cultures and behaviorand the adoption of negative moral behavior. The paper howeveracknowledges that advertising does bring about positive impacts onthe developing nations, however the notable negative impacts haveserious consequences.


Douglas,P and Craig, S. (2002).International Advertising.International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Noreen,J. (2010). Advertisingand Global Culture.CSQ Issue.

Vanderkochhove,M. (2002).The Beneficial Effects on Developing Countries of Consumerism andAdvertising. Nn.

Vanderkochhove, M.(2002). InternationalAdvertising In Developing Countries: The Negative Effects OnDeveloping Countries Of Consumerism And Advertising.Nn