Selling Insurance across Cultures: Cross-Cultural Communication in Advertising

Dr Chavalin Svetanant1

1Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia

The paper examines three case studies of insurance TV commercials in Asia-Pacific region: Thailand, Australia, and Japan, to draw a comparative investigation of the collective phenomenon in regards to the communicative practice in advertising. The study is conducted through a lens of cross-cultural communication frameworks developed by the key thinkers such as Edward T. Hall & Hall, 1990, G. Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010, Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1997, Lewis, 2018. While recognising a variety of individuals within each collective, the paper takes Hofstede’s view that societal, national and gender cultures, which children acquire since they are born, are much deeper rooted in “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others” (G. Hofstede, 2011, p. 3). The study aims to provide cross-cultural backgrounds and insights on the underlying patterns of communication, as well as to discuss how the realisation of choices in insurance commercials reflects and constitutes cultural characters, individuality, and ideologies pertinent to the domestic and personal sphere.


Chavalin Svetanant is a Lecturer of Japanese Studies in the Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University. Her research interests are in the area of linguistics and cross-cultural communication. More specifically, her research centres around social semiotics, critical discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, as well as Japanese language education.

Chavalin’s work has been published in Visual Communication, Open Linguistics, Asian-Pacific Journal of Second and Foreign Language Education, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a book project, “Cross-cultural Study of Advertising ‘Voice’: Case Studies from Thailand, Australia, and Japan”


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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