The role of national culture in advertising's sensitivity to business cycles: an investigation across continents

Barbara Deleersnyder, Marnik G. Dekimpe, Jan-Benedict E.M. Steenkamp, Peter S.H. Leeflang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors conduct a systematic investigation into the cyclical sensitivity of advertising expenditures in 37 countries, covering four key media: magazines, newspapers, radio, and television. They show that advertising is considerably more sensitive to business-cycle fluctuations than the economy as a whole. Advertising behaves less cyclically in countries high in long-term orientation and power distance, but it is more cyclical in countries high in uncertainty avoidance. Furthermore, advertising is more sensitive to the business cycle in countries characterized by significant stock market pressure and few foreign-owned multinational corporations. The authors provide initial evidence on the long-term social and managerial losses incurred when companies tie ad spending too tightly to business cycles. Countries in which advertising behaves more cyclically exhibit slower growth of the advertising industry. Moreover, private-label growth is higher in countries characterized by more cyclical advertising spending, implying significant losses for brand manufacturers. Finally, an examination of 26 global companies shows that stock price performance is lower for companies that exhibit stronger procyclical advertising spending patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-636
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • advertising
  • business cycle
  • time-series econometrics
  • cross-country comparison
  • national culture
  • stock price performance
  • private label
  • international marketing


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