Assertive Environmental Advertising and Reactance: Differences Between South Koreans and Americans

Yeonshin Kim, Tae Hyun Baek, Sukki Yoon, Sangdo Oh, Yung Kyun Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-564
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Advertising
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the 2017 Myongji University, South Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017, American Academy of Advertising.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Communication
  • Marketing


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