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This study explored the question of whether masculinity/femininity at the cultural level can influence responses to advertisements employing image and utilitarian appeals, presumably through its effect on individual-level self-construals with regard to masculinity/femininity. An experiment showed that participants from the United States, considered to be a predominantly “masculine” culture, liked the utilitarian appeal advertisement better and rated it more believable than the image appeal advertisement. In addition, they liked the image appeal advertisement more and found it more believable when it was preceded by a utilitarian appeal advertisement than when it came first. In contrast, participants from Taiwan, considered a predominantly “androgynous” culture, responded equally well to both advertising appeal types, and presentation order did not influence their evaluations. Ethnographic interviews were included to provide emic perspectives from consumers, depicting the subjective significance of experiences for consumers in both cultures. Cultural masculinity/femininity appears to be an important factor to consider when formulating advertising appeals.
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