Date of Award

Spring 1995

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Pokrywczynski, James

Second Advisor

Crowley, John H.

Third Advisor

Schrank, Carl


Advertising in foreign countries is tough ... and it's getting tougher every year. With technology making the world relatively smaller with each advance, advertising agencies have been thrown into a very difficult international advertising situation. Among the very complicated decisions involved in the practice of international advertising are media decisions, positioning strategy decisions and message strategy decisions. More specifically, the decision to standardize a message for all markets or specialize the message to each individual country is one that involves many other separate factors. While advertising professionals struggle with the problems related to the decision to create specialized messages or one standardized message, academic and industry researchers seem to be unaware of the problem (De Mooij & Keegan, 1991). In spite of the 'globalization' of the advertising market, there has been a rather slow response to this dominant trend on the part of educators, writers and publishers. (p. xiii) Recently, however, it seems researchers are slowly beginning to realize the importance of expanding knowledge of international marketing and specifically, international advertising (De Mooij & Keegan, 1991). And while international advertising can be an incredibly complex and rapidly changing subject, advances in understanding need to be made ... one step at a time. With this study, it is hoped one of those steps can be taken. This qualitative investigation was designed to help identify the factors involved in the decisions related to creating either a standardized or specialized campaign. Through in-depth interviews, this investigation will serve as a prelude to quantitative studies on this subject in the future. Perhaps by identifying and explaining the factors involved with the decision-making process, more insight will be given into this diverse and dynamic field of international advertising. The following sections will define the standardization/specialization problem as it relates to advertising agencies marketing worldwide. Explanation for researching this topic will be presented along with a summary of past research. The method of this study will then be presented, followed by the results of the study.