Ethnic minority advertising and cultural values: a Māori perspective
I have worked in marketing industry for over ten years, at least half of them for organisations (and with advertising agencies) attempting to target Māori consumers. From this experience I have realised there is lack of understanding of the Māori consumer and how to advertise to Māori consumers effectively.
Internationally, the study of ethnic advertising is a growing field. This development stems from an increasing recognition by marketers that advertising to an ethnic group, as if they were indistinguishable from other consumers, often ignores differences in cultural values and preferences (Boyes, 2010; Pitts, Whalen, O'Keefe, & Murray, 1989). Advertisements containing cultural values or cues which are appealing to that ethnicity are likely to produce more favorable responses (Pitts et al., 1989). However in New Zealand, research on ethnic minority advertising, in particular Māori, is almost nonexistent. Although many advertisers target Māori consumers, little is known about how Māori consumers feel about these targeting efforts. There is a need for more research in this area, to be investigated and understood from a Māori perspective. Being Māori myself from Ngāti Maniapoto (Ngāti Waiora) and Waikato (Ngāti Mahuta) descent,
I am in the unique position to be able to complete this type of research. The main objective of this research was to find out if Māori consumers would respond more favourably to an advertisement that they perceived as culturally similar in comparison to an advertisement that they perceived as culturally dissimilar. The study found through an online survey of 237 Māori consumers that:
• The more similarity participants felt with the advertisement characters the more they liked the advertisement. • Similar values was the most crucial aspect of perceived similarity that influenced how much a participant liked the advertisement. It didn’t matter so much if the lifestyle, cultural background, dress or appearance of the advertisement characters were similar - similar values was the key.
These findings led into the next section on cultural values which found that:
Altruism and self-sufficiency are strong cultural value constructs for Māori consumers. Those fluent in the Māori language are likely to hold stronger altruism values.
Findings from this study suggest that to increase the effectiveness of advertisements targeted toward Māori consumers, advertisements should project the values that Māori hold as important. Results found that values such as altruism and self-sufficiency are important to Māori, therefore advertisements which project values such as these are likely to be more effective. To conclude, it is hoped this thesis contributes useful findings and helps establish a foundation for further research in this important field of Māori marketing and advertising.