Journal of Intercultural Communication, 20(2): 72-88

“Glocalization” and Intercultural Representation in Filipino TV Commercials: A Multidimensional Discourse Analysis

Remart Dumlao & Wantakan Pitichanoknan

Muban Chombueng Rajabhat University, Thailand

46 Moo 3 Chombung Road, Chombung, Ratchaburi, Thailand 70150. Email: dumlaoremart25@gmail.com, momowantakan@gmail.com.

Abstract

This paper looks at how Filipino “glocalizes” international brands in TV commercials and how it links to customers’ culture and norms in the Philippine context. Four TV commercials from the food industry were purposively identified as target samples. These samples were then compared to other TV commercials in two different contexts, namely, Thailand and the USA to see the process of glocalization and interculturality. Improvised tools from Kress and Van Leeuwen’s inter-semiosis (2006) and O’Halloran’s SF-MDA (2011) framework were used in data analysis. Findings on multimodal-discourse analysis suggested that TV commercials constructed the “glocal” identity in various representations such as visual, sociolinguistic, characterization, and sociocultural connection. It is argued that these combinations of findings provide some support for the conceptual knowledge between glocalization and interculturality within the contemporary customer culture.

Keywords: globalization, glocalization, multidimensional discourse analysis, Filipino TVC, identity.


1. Introduction

In the world of commerce specifically advertising, there is increasing demand for television commercials within the past couple of years (Dunnett 2013, Johnson 2012, Johnson 2013, Matrix 2014). The impact of the television medium in advertising has shown numerous advantages such as additional revenues, popularity of brands, and inclusion of company's trademark in the global market (see Boyland & Halford 2013, McKelvey & Grady 2004, Panic et al. 2013, Saumendra & Padhy 2012 for more discussion). To attain the interest of local customers, a number of international companies are adopting the so-called glocal strategy: a combination of globalization and localization modes of advertising. Giulianotti and Robertson (2006: 171) assert that while “glocalization” is in demand, it is important to see the ways in which these companies “construct meanings, identities, and institutional forms within the sociological context of globalization”; while Shamsuddoha (2008: 56) writes of how they “accommodate the local norms of the user or consumer in a local market”.

In the Philippines – a brand-conscious market – advertising plays a significant role in promoting products due to the country’s geographical location. Galvez (2018) reported that 59% of Filipino consumers subscribe to a cable provider, while just 16% subscribe to a magazine; 45% of online Filipino consumers watch video commercials once a day or more. TV advertising directs discourses that propagate persuasion and powerful language in promoting a company’s product. The analysis of such phenomena affords insight into the impact of advertising in peoples’ lives in the globalized world. Along with economic growth, however, there is increasing concern over on advertising’s impact on culture, norms, traditions, and people's thinking (Denzin 2016, Hartley 2011, Alpat & Aksu 2014, De Mooij 2018, Dorobantu et al. 2017, Gurun & Butler 2012, Strizhakova & Coulter 2013).

Previous studies have reported that cultural appreciation, norms, and tradition depend on customer's “behavior in a particular product being advertised” (Amiry et al. 2017: 478). Liao (2012: 67) argues that, although customers' behavior is key, it is still important to discuss the relation between advertising and culture since “glocalization is becoming dominant in the advertising industry”. This notion of the “glocal” becomes paramount, as contemporary cultural identities are hybrid, complex, and often contradictory, with the media playing a crucial role in their reconfiguration. In many contexts, the characters displayed to TV audiences are no longer political ones based on citizenship in a national community but economic ones based on participation in a global consumer market (Morley & Robins 1996). Advertising on a TV screen demonstrates multimodality, through which different modes of representation – such as image, music, culture, and gesture – are embedded.

Ideally, the role of multidimensionality is to study language (linguistics) and relate it to another discipline. Due to modernization, linguists discuss language in a context that includes interactions between spoken languages, kinetic features (gaze, body posture, gesture) and cinematography effects (e.g., camera angle and frame size) (see Baldry & Thibault 2006, Iedema 2001a for further discussion). The multimodal analysis presented in this study is for illustrative purposes only. A more comprehensive linguistic analysis could have been presented, in addition to the inclusion of other semiotic resources: studio lighting, clothing, proxemics, seating arrangement, and so forth. To our knowledge, no study so far has addressed how this concept of multidimensionality applies in TV commercials. This study seeks to understand how international companies localize their products in TV commercials.

2. Background

2.1 Multidimensional discourse analysis in TV ads

Identifying one’s culture is a sociocultural process that evolves continuously evolves and changes from time to time. With this in mind, we used the compositional trilogy of information value, salience, and framing (Kress & van Leeuwen 2006; O'Halloran 2011; Halliday 1978, 1994) to unveil the “glocal” identity embedded in television commercials (henceforth TVCs). This tri-stratal conceptualization of meaning relates low-level features in the text (e.g., images and sound) to higher-order semantics through sets of inter-related lexico-grammatical systems and, ultimately, to social contexts of culture. Within this conceptualization, three meta-function distinctions can be recognized:

Multimodal discourse analysis (MDA; O’Halloran 2011) is an emerging paradigm in discourse studies which extends the study of language to examine the compatibility of language with other resources: i.e., images, scientific symbolism, gesture, action, music and sound. O’Halloran takes an introspective, systemic functional (SF) approach to multimodal discourse analysis that involves developing theoretical and practical approaches for analyzing written, printed and electronic texts, three-dimensional sites and other realms of activity where semiotic resources – i.e., spoken and written language, visual imagery, mathematical symbolism, sculpture, architecture, gesture, and other physiological modes – create meaning. A multimodal social semiotic approach provides a richer perspective on the many means involved in making and understanding meaning, on the forms of knowledge, on the social relations evident in pedagogy, on the (self)-making of identity and on the recognition of agency and of many kinds of semiosis at work in a particular context.

The school of multimodal social semiotics has two aspects: first, multimodality focuses on the material means for representation, the resources for making texts (that is, on modes); second, social semiosis provides a theoretical framework for focusing on all aspects of meaning-making: on the agents who make signs and such complex forms as texts, on the processes of meaning-making and on the theoretical entities involved in this: sign, text, genre, discourse, and interest are all examples. These two aspects are interconnected at all times yet remain distinct. The educational consequences of taking a multimodal social semiotic approach derive from both aspects through different means, in line with their distinct foci.

In TVCs, sound works both as a single representational mode and as a mode in relation to images and texts forming synaesthesia-like experiences (Kress & Van Leeuwen 2001: 122). TVC continuity can be strategically created and disturbed by altering rhythmic and melodic forms. Speech patterns, as well as music and sound effects, may generate or forestall continuance as a way to persuade customers. The aural track creates a continuation of forward motion while providing support for the development of other aural and visual elements.

Meyer (1956) emphasizes that individuals bring their own experience and training to understand style-specific (melodic, rhythmic and harmonic) incorporation of musical completion and closure. Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) highlight the integration of two semiotic modes in multimodal compositions: (a) the pattern of spatial composition and (b) rhythm: the model of temporal composition. The former operates in texts in which the modes are spatially co-present (as in print advertising); the latter works in texts which unfold over time (as in TV advertising). Multimodal texts such as film and TV use both space and time, while rhythm remains the dominant integrative principle (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006: 177). This combination of inputs from various scholars of multidimensionality provides support for the conceptual premise of how TVCs shape “glocalization” and intercultural representation in a particular context.

2.2 Representing cultural identity in TV commercials

Identity is often described in terms of peoples’ sense of membership in social categories (Tajfel 1981). Discourse analysts stress that language has a fundamental role in expressing and constituting such a sense of belonging. The linguistic anthropologist Kroskrity (1999: 111) defines identity as “the linguistic construction of membership in one or more social groups or categories”. Social identity may constitute points of reference for identification, such as race, gender, age, or ethnicity. In TVCs, “glocal” identities emerge from the integration of global and local cultural texts or signifiers in a dynamic inter-semiosis of audio and visual modes triggering context-specific consumption appeals.

Consumer identity – or, the narrative of the consuming self – partakes in the institutional ideology of marketing and the dominant discourses propagated by advertising. In the “glocal” market space, consumer identity is co-constituted by apparently contradictory values of sameness and difference (Ransome 2005), collectivism and individuation, adequation (sufficient similarity) and distinction (Bucholtz & Hall 2005). The “glocal” identity is reflected in the consumers' desire to conform to local consumption sentiments as well as deviate from those to achieve some unique self-image by adhering to the global. Other theorists (e.g., Yang 2012, Schwartz & Halegoua 2015, Yannopoulou et al. 2013) are adamant that advertising does ideological work that buttresses a particular distribution of power in society by representing model identities and idealized images, and by reflecting and constructing social relationships. By manipulating social values and attitudes, advertising is fulfilling functions traditionally met by religion (Leiss et al. 2013). All these scholars concur that advertising does not merely reflect social life; the relationship between advertising and society is a two-way street. Representations of community in advertising have their basis in the social order; but, at the same time, the social order is constantly being re-created by reference to model discourses such as advertising (see Rice & Atkin 2012, for more discussion).

2.3 “Glocalization” of products on the screen

Global-local interactions, either at the commercial (Foglio & Stanevicius 2007) or cultural level (Bernal-Merino 2016), constitute “glocalization”. “Glocalization” enables global corporations to tailor their global products to the local market and local corporations to match their local products to niche global markets (Berry 2013). A global corporation may provide marketing, funding, and infrastructure to develop a product; but the finished form of that product is dictated by local consumption prerogatives. “Glocalization” is a negotiated process whereby local customer preferences are clubbed into market offerings via bottom-up mutual efforts (Cunningham & Craig 2016).

The visual content and design of an ad makes the initial impact and causes us to take note of it. How its image is portrayed on the television plays a crucial part in the consumer’s understanding. Both elements, psychological and linguistic, are essential in producing the brand image of the product in public. The existence of print- and screen-based technologies have re-innovated the definition of literacy. Traditional descriptions are no longer comprehensive enough in a world where texts are becoming increasingly multimodal, communicating through graphics, pictures, and layout techniques as well as through words.

In TV advertising, consumer discourses propagate a powerful and persuasive language in promoting new brands, which may bring changes in the existing local modes of consumption. Analysis of such discursive phenomena provides insight into the creative processes that are manifested in TV advertising and emerging cultural patterns. This paper seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. How is Filipino cultural identity being presented in the selected TVCs?
  2. How does it link to “glocalization” and intercultural representation?

3. Methods

This study is situated within a multidimensional framework where different methods were employed: both content analysis and multidimensional analysis of “glocal” and intercultural identity. In the preliminary phase, we collected 534 TVCs from the Philippine TV networks during 2018-2019. These TVCs were uploaded to YouTube. Our purpose was to examine the varying permutations of global, local, and “glocal” cultural-identity portrayals in TVCs. Using content analysis, we categorized commercials according to their product type and brand. After we classified types, we extracted only the products with the highest number of TVCs. These products have achieved a high net income revenue based on a 2017 annual report of the Philippine Stock Commission. Since each product has its own purpose, we made a decision to analyze the top four products from the food industry gaining the highest number of TVCs. We chose the food industry because the top products were from the food industry, followed by beverages and medicine. Banerjee (1995) writes that it is better to pilot 4-7 samples when multidimensional analysis seeks to analyze the “glocal” and intercultural representation of one community on a particular platform.

After we extracted our four products as our target sample (see Table 1), we then compared these four products to other countries: the USA (the origin country of the products) and Thailand (belonging to the expanding circle of English-influenced countries) to see the process of “glocalization” and also to see how these countries’ TVCs differ from Filipino TVCs. Our thought was that analysis of these products could be used as reference for future analysis.

Table 1: Brief summary of products in the analysis.
Owner (parent company) Product (company) Description
Restaurant Brands International Burger King Burger King is one of the most successful fast-food brands in the world, selling burgers and side dishes.
McDonald’s McDonald’s The world’s largest fast-food brand, it sells many products from burgers to fries, fried chicken, ice cream, milkshakes, etc.
Yum! Brands KFC KFC is well known for its fried chicken, which is popular all over the world.
Yum! Brands Pizza Hut Pizza Hut is a well-known brand for pizza. It also sells pasta and other dishes.

To address the research questions and analyze the selected TVCs, we employed the concept of tri-stratal conceptualization of meta-functional analysis (Halliday 1978, as discussed by O'Halloran 2011). Much of the early cross-semiotic or multimodal work came together in the discussions on intercultural communication, social semiotics, and advertising. A wide variety of articles exploited this confluence of systemic-functional theory and socially oriented forms of linguistic, visual, audial and spatial analysis. “Social semiotics” (the title of Hodge and Kress's original book) became the rallying cry for those interested in analyzing aspects of texts that included but went beyond language. Social semiotics took discourse analysis beyond oppositions, which traditionally separated language-oriented research, Saussurean semiology, and sign-system-oriented semiotics. Semantic integration in multimodal phenomena may be viewed meta-functionally, whereby experiential, logical, interpersonal, and textual meaning interact across elements of word group and image.

Table 2: Tri-stratal conceptualization of multidimensional analysis of TVCs.
Identification Explanation
Visual Consisting colors, images, and other visual representations of the product.
Sociolinguistic Characters and sociocultural connections.
Linguistic The language used in the products, code choice, and position of words.

The processes and mechanisms of semantic expansion arising from inter-semiosis have yet to be fully theorized. It may be that inter-semiotic systems are required, beyond the sets of inter-related grammatical systems for each resource, operating as meta-grammars. These inter-semiotic systems would have the potential to link choices across hierarchical taxonomies for each resource, so that a group of words, for example, is re-semioticised as one component of a complex visual narrative, or vice versa. One major problem for multimodal discourse analysis is the complexity of both the inter-semiotic processes and resulting semantic space, particularly in dynamic texts (e.g., videos) and hypertexts (e.g., on the Internet). We separate the dynamic texts from the semantic space: i.e., sociolinguistic from linguistic features).

4. Findings and analysis

4.1 Globalization and intercultural representation: Burger King TVCs

4.1.1 The Philippines

In 1992, Burger King entered the Philippines as one of the leading brands in the fast-food industry. Their TVCs have always used yellow and red as a way of branding their company. This may be noticed in the company logo. Adeson and Bowan (2018) assert that it is a popular theory that the use of red in their logos and around their stores revs up people’s appetites, making them more likely to enter the store and then buy more food. Men are the main characters in the TVCs, wearing the Burger King’s crown on their heads. Women appear less often. The characters often use jokes. This may relate to Filipino culture, with its positivity toward life (see Fang 2003) despite its challenges.

The characters in this TVC employ English and Tagalog simultaneously in their conversation. The Philippines is well-known as one of the two ESL countries in Southeast Asia. Filipino (Tagalog) and English are the two official languages, with seven regional languages also recognized. The Philippines has one of the densest concentrations of distinct languages in the world, and that linguistic tradition has helped shaped modern day Filipino (see Nolasco 2008). Codeswitching in TVCs reveals the richness of language, which may appeal to the local audience. See Figure 1 and Table 3.

Burger King Philippines TVC
Figure 1: 2018 TVC (18 seconds). Character 1: Kala ko. 69 pesos lang (“I thought it's only 69 pesos”). Character 2: Yes, 69 lang (“yes, it's only 69”).

Table 3: Summary of Burger King Philippines TVCs.
Identification Explanation
Visual Yellow and red are the brand colors and also the TVC theme colors. The brand logo is shown often.
Sociolinguistic Men are the main characters, to embody the “king”. The vivid and fun context represents Filipino culture.
Linguistic Bilingual, employing both English and Tagalog.

4.1.2 Thailand

In 1994, Burger King entered Thailand as one of the most popular fast-food brands. The visualization they have expressed in most of their ads is how they cook their burgers. The flame-grilled burger is the main concept for Burger King Thailand. They put the flame in their ads over and over again to repeat to the audience how they cook. The use of red creates an appetite for food, which is why red has been used in the ads most often. The main actors are both male and female, of various ages. Burger King ads in Thailand tend to embody the concept of family. Thai culture is focused on family as Thai people call everyone in their lives one of their relatives (Hatthakit, 1999).

The sole language of the TVCs is Thai (with Thai subtitles). Most Thai people only speak Thai in their daily lives, so there is no point using English in the ads. However, the name of the brand is still English, as are the names on the menu. See Figure 2 and Table 4.

Burger King Thailand TVC
Figure 2: A flame-grilled burger is presented regularly, with a Thai subtitle meaning “ninja burger”.

Table 4: Summary of Burger King Thailand TVCs.
Identification Explanation
Visual Red is the brand color. A flame-grilled burger is shown often.
Sociolinguistic The main characters are both male and female. The ads show intimacy between family members and also friendship.
Linguistic The language is only Thai, with Thai subtitles; however, the brand name and the entries on the menu are in English (codeswitching).

4.1.3 United States

Burger King began in Florida in 1954. The company has been very successful building its brand with various product lines, especially burgers. Their Whoppers have been their best seller. The logo and ad colors remain consistent. Visualization focuses on an item from the menu. The focus is 100% on the food image, to make everyone have an appetite for the menu.

The Burger King mascot is the main character in almost every ad. Other actors have less importance. All attention is on the mascot. The prominence of its role shows how powerfully the mascot has represented the brand for decades. The language used is solely English. The dialogue is simple to ensure that it is easy to understand, mainly talking about the current promotion, to attract people’s attention. The food image and ingredients are the second and third most important items respectively. See Figure 3 and Table 5.

Burger King USA TVC
Figure 3: The Burger King mascot appears regularly (14-second TVC).

Table 5: Summary of Burger King USA TVCs.
Identification Explanation
Visual The TVCs theme colors are blue, red and yellow. A food image is presented clearly.
Sociolinguistic The Burger King mascot is the main character.
Linguistic The language is strictly English.

4.2 Globalization and intercultural representation: McDonald’s TVCs

4.2.1 The Philippines

McDonald's entered in the Philippines in 1981. The brand has been very successful. It is one of the largest fast-food chains, with annual revenue of US$22.8 billion. The visuals in the TVCs all about friendship and family, in keeping with the Filipino notion of pakikisama: an interpersonal relationship where the people are friendly with each other, indicating basic human friendliness and affinity (Leoncini 2005). Pakikisama is important in private lives, public workplaces, and relationships with neighbors. Men are again the main characters in the TVCs. What is surprising is that the TVCs do not use both men and women, nor do they portray LGBT persons.

Tagalog is the main language in this TVC, though there are English subtitles. As explained earlier, the Philippines belongs to the second circle of English-speaking countries, with English being used as an official language; see (Friginal 2007). See Figure 4 and Table 6.

McDonald's Philippines TVC
Figure 4: A McDonald's TVC from the Philippines (13-second TVC).

Table 6: Summary of McDonald’s TVCs in the Philippines.
Identification Explanation
Visual The brand color is red. Relationships between people happen because of McDonald’s.
Sociolinguistic pakikisama
Linguistic The spoken language is Tagalog, with English subtitles.

4.2.2 Thailand

McDonald's, the world's largest chain fast-food chain, came to Thailand in 1985. Visualization in the TVCs makes use of multiple dimensions: blue and red colors and cartoons. Cartoon children are the primary characters and the concept is again family-oriented. In the Thai social system, children are seen as the family’s hope, to be protected in all circumstances (see Embree 1950 for a history of Thai social structure). Other cartoon characters also appear, including the Happy Meal character. The narration uses a child's voice. The TVCs focus heavily on advertising to children. The presentation of children is constantly adapted to the changing tastes of the Thai market (Jory 1999). Thai is the sole language used. Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that was not colonized by an English-speaking country. See Figure 5 and Table 7.

McDonald's Thailand
Figure 5: Cartoon characters appear, along with the Happy Meal character. Note the Thai subtitle, meaning “holiday with Hotel Transylvania3” (16-second TVC).

Table 7: Summary of McDonald’s TVCs in Thailand.
Identification Explanation
Visual Cartoon characters can be seen. A food image is prominent.
Sociolinguistic Actors are rarely seen; the main characters are cartoon characters. A child’s voice provides the voiceover. The awareness of children as customers has been elevated over time.
Linguistic Thai (spoken language and subtitles), with some borrowed English words.

4.2.3 United States

McDonald's was founded in the US in 1940 and has been expanding continuously since then. The visualization in the US TVCs is syntactically structured and straight to the point. The TVCs just show the food, with narration. They show how each menu item will be prepared, building an image in the customers' minds, making them remember the brand and menu. Characters, both male and female, are well represented.

The plot of this and other McDonald’s TVCs is based on a true story. The company chose to share its charitable projects to build awareness that the company has been helping society in a practical way, to win people's hearts. The commercial has two versions: the first in English and the other in Spanish, given the huge number of Spanish speakers in the US. The number of Spanish speakers was up to 41 million by 2015, representing 13% of the US population. It is not surprising why the company should make the Spanish ads (Ryan 2013). See Figure 6 and Table 8.

McDonald's USA
Figure 6: Deconstruction of a sausage McMuffin (14-second TVC).

Table 8: Summary of McDonald’s USA TVCs.
Identification Explanation
Visual The focus is on the food image as each menu item is deconstructed.
Sociolinguistic Actors are both male and female. The focus is on the dramatic story.
Linguistic Two versions of each TVC: one in English, the other in Spanish.

4.3 Globalization and intercultural representation: KFC TVCs

4.3.1 The Philippines

KFC expanded to the Philippines in 1967 and established itself as a leading brand for fried chicken. Red is, again, an important color in the advertising, stimulating appetite for the food. White features in the outfit of Harland Sanders, the brand’s founder. Male actors dress up as Harland Sanders, demonstrated the founder’s continuing influence on the brand. Tagalog and English are both used in the TVCs, switching regularly between the two. That is normal in the Philippines where there are some people who can understand English or Tagalog and some who can understand both. The brand is aware of its audience and the people who do not understand English or Tagalog. There are subtitles in both languages, which also assists people with disabilities. See Figure 7 and Table 9.

KFC The Philippines
Figure 7: An actor dressed up as Harland Sanders; 14-second TVC.

Table 9: Summary of KFC TVCs in the Philippines.
Identification Explanation
Visual The colors of the brand are red and white. The food image plays a significant role.
Sociolinguistic Harland Sanders symbolizes the brand.
Linguistic TVCs are in Tagalog and English with subtitles in both languages.

4.3.2 Thailand

KFC came to Thailand in 1984. It is very popular among the Thai people due to its taste and affordability. The visualization hidden in almost every ad is that of hot and spicy flavor. KFC has adjusted its recipe to Thai tastes; however, the original recipe is still available. The dominant color in the TVCs is red, which has been used continuously over the years. Actors can be seen in almost every ad, even though there may be no direct dialogue, only a voiceover from a narrator. The language of both the subtitles and narration is Thai. See Figure 8 and Table 10.

KFC Thailand
Figure 8: KFC ad with Thai subtitles. The subtitle means "share the KFC spicy chicken pop bomb till February 27!"
Table 10: Summary of KFC TVCs in Thailand.
Identification Explanation
Visual The color of the brand is red. “Hot and spicy” is the key selling point.
Sociolinguistic There is diversity among the actors: men, women and children are used.
Linguistic The actors do not speak; instead there is a voiceover in Thai. There are Thai subtitles.

4.3.3 United States

KFC was founded by Harland Sanders in 1930. The brand went on to become the world's second-largest restaurant chain after McDonald's, according to sales. Its fried chicken is trendy in many countries. The visualization in the TVCs is all about the brand’s iconic image of Colonel Sanders with his bowtie and cane. White and red feature prominently. There are plenty of pictures of fried chicken. There are male and female actors. Facial expressions and eye contact are all about craving for fried chicken. The actors’ excitement for the menu is key to their performance. However, the number of actors in the TVCs has decreased in the latest TVCs, which often feature only an actor who dresses up as Colonel Sanders. His role is to present a new menu or new ingredient. A project called KFC Innovation Lab has been introduced to make the menu look more interesting. There are no subtitles, and all language is English. See Figure 9 and Table 11.

KFC USA
Figure 9: A Colonel Sanders lookalike (US TVC).

Table 11: Summary of US KFC TVCs.
Identification Explanation
Visual White and red are prominent. The iconic image of the brand is Colonel Sanders.
Sociolinguistic A Colonel Sanders lookalike appears in almost every ad.
Linguistic The language is only English and no subtitles are used.

4.4 Globalization and intercultural representation: Pizza Hut TVCs

4.4.1 The Philippines

Pizza Hut, founded in 1985, is an American restaurant chain with branches all over the world. It is not clear when Pizza Hut arrived in the Philippines. The brand is very successful with its best-selling menu. Pizza Hut not only sells pizza but also pasta, side dishes, and desserts. More toppings and more cheese are a key selling point for Pizza Hut Philippines, along with the crunchiness of the crust: something noted very often in the TVCs.

The brand's color is red, to create an appetite for the food – in keeping with other food chains such as McDonald's and KFC. The TVCs include family, friends, and godparents. The family in Philippine culture is a nuclear one: a couple and their dependent children, regarded as the basic social unit. This pattern is inherited from the Spanish, who colonized the Philippines for over 300 years. The language of the TVCs is Tagalog more often than English. However, English can be seen in the subtitles, clarifying all the details.

The woman in this TVC demonstrates mahiyahin, meant to motivate and control a person's social behavior. A vast majority of Filipinos remain socially conservative. Everyone is expected to have hiya in the way they behave to win respect from the community. See Figure 10 and Table 12.

Pizza Hut in the Philippines
Figure 10: The woman makes the sound “uuuuyy” nakakahiya (TVC).

Table 12: Summary of Pizza Hut TVCs in the Philippines.
Identification Explanation
Visual The focus is on cheese melting, the amount of toppings, and the crunchiness of the crust. Red is the dominant color.
Sociolinguistic Characters vary in age and gender. They may be shown in the household, in the office, or out with friends.
Linguistic The spoken language is Tagalog, with English subtitles.

4.4.2 Thailand

There is likewise no record of when Pizza Hut expanded into Thailand. It is popular among Thais for its prices. The visualization of the TVCs is similar to the US TVCs in terms of color and focus on melting cheese. The characters are diverse, as is the content. A sense of humor is seen in almost every ad, in keeping with Thai culture. Both male and female actors appear. A few ads include children. The focus is on the promotion more than the product itself. Family, friendship, and other kinds of relationships appear in the TVCs constantly. Thai language is the only language used, as usual. Thai people tend to speak Thai in their daily lives even when they can speak other foreign languages. See Table 13.

Table 13: Summary of Pizza Hut TVCs in Thailand.
Identification Explanation
Visual The focus is on cheese melting and the amount of toppings. Red is the dominant color.
Sociolinguistic The content shows a sense of humor. Actors are both male and female. Family and friendship play a central role.
Linguistic The language is only spoken Thai.

4.4.3 United States

The brand is trendy in the US because of its reasonable prices. The visualization in the TVCs features red, the color of the brand. The hidden meaning behind the red is to build an appetite. Melting cheese is one of the brand’s key selling points. So cheese is shown melting to confirm the taste and the amount of cheese put into each pizza. The TVC actors vary in age and gender. The plots concern friendship, family, and sport. The TVCs bring a popular trend of the moment to people's attention. The actors’ performances are about excitement for that trend. Another key concept is fun and happiness. The actors involve Pizza Hut into their fun and happy moments. In addition, English is the only language used. The ads show no awareness of foreign language speakers. See Table 14.

Table 14: Summary of US Pizza Hut TVCs.
Identification Explanation
Visual The focus is on cheese melting and the amount of toppings. Red is the dominant color.
Sociolinguistic The actors vary in age and gender. Family, friendship and sport are featured.
Linguistic The language is only spoken English.

5. Conclusion

The tri-stratal conceptualization of meaning was our guide in analyzing the TVCs selected for this study as we sought to explore “glocalization”, intercultural representation and identity. “Glocal” identities arise from the combination of global and local cultural contexts. The critical goal of advertising is to relate to the consumer frame of preferences to ensure the consumption of the brand or product. Each of the four Filipino TV commercials sampled related itself to the local culture in terms of family or history. The TVCs reflect the linguistics landscape of a multilingual country.

The present study makes several noteworthy contributions to intercultural communication in advertising by showing how "glocalization" enables global corporations to tailor their universal products to the local market and local corporations to match their local products to niche global markets (Berry 2013). Taken together, these findings suggest a role for "glocalization" and intercultural representation in TVCs in promoting a multi-layered perspective on communication. It is highly valuable to promote intercultural communication without ignoring the cultural norms of any one or another country. Research is needed to determine other aspects of advertising from an intercultural perspective: both the cultural sensitivity of international companies (so contextualizing this study) and "glocalization" of products from a local to an inner-local perspective.

About the authors

Remart Padua DumlaoRemart Padua Dumlao is a foreign lecturer in the English Department of the Faculty of Education at Muban Chombueng Rajabhat University in Thailand. His research interests include cultural studies within EFL classroom settings, discourse analysis, and linguistics.





Wantakan PitichanoknanWantakan Pitichanoknan is a Thai lecturer in the English Department of the Faculty of Education at Muban Chombueng Rajabhat University in Thailand.Her research interests include TESOL, multidimensional analysis in digital advertising, intercultural communication, and discourse analysis.




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