Assertive Environmental Advertising and Reactance: differences between koreans and americans

Document Type



Americans; South Koreans; advertising; cultural difference; consumers; assertive messaging; non-assertive messaging; attitudes

Identifier Data



Taylor & Francis Online

Publication Source

Journal of Advertising, 46(4), 550-564


In three studies, the authors show that Americans and South Koreans react differently to environmental advertising campaigns featuring assertive messages that threaten autonomous freedoms. The findings uphold their hypothesis that cultural differences determine whether consumers will show reactance to assertive advertising campaigns. Study 1 demonstrates that Americans are less receptive to an assertive recycling message using imperatives such as should, must, and ought and more receptive to a nonassertive message using could, might, and worth. South Koreans do not show the reactance response. Study 2, an energy-saving campaign, conceptually replicates the findings and further shows that perceived threat to freedom mediates the effects. Study 3 uses a realistic setting (i.e., online magazine) to further support the hypothesis that cultural differences affect attitudes toward assertive messages, but adds perceived politeness as an underlying second mediator.