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Centrum Vitamins & Tom Hiddleston: A Hofstede Insights analysis

Last month, Centrum Vitamins released an ad staring the film star Tom Hiddleston in China. It casts Tom as a caring but busy husband and has been a smash hit on Chinese social media, but received mixed opinions around the world.

What do you think of it?

Due to the ad receiving such mixed opinions around the world, Holly Morrison and Connor Jackson, from our UnrulyEQ team, carried out a Hofstede Insights analysis of the ad to discover how it was received in markets around the world.

Before we jump into the analysis, here’s an explanation of how it works from our VP, Insight & Solutions, Rebecca Waring.

“Our exclusive partnership with Mediacom and Hofstede Insights allows us to understand the connections between cultural leanings and emotional responses to advertising in 52 different markets around the world. How does it work? We have integrated the 9 cultural dimensions of the Hofstede Insights cultural framework into our UnrulyEQ emotional ad testing methodology.

Each time that we test an ad, our algorithm creates an emotion-culture network that is completely unique to that particular ad. This provides a fascinating insight into the unspoken cultural expectations and attitudes that affect people’s responses to the ad in the test market. What is even more exciting is that we can then – without needing to test the ad again – use this data to make predictions in several other markets.” 

Connecting emotion to culture

The Hofstede Insights found that there were three main cultural dimensions within the ad, these were fashionable, curious and impulsive.

Unruly and Hofstede insights

The cultural leaning Fashionable was linked to feelings of amazement, surprise and warmth.

Curious was linked to feelings of amazement, surprise and warmth, in addition to contempt and hilarityImpulsive was linked to feelings of hilarity and warmth.

Impulsive was linked to feelings of hilarity and warmth.

Key cultural dimensions for this ad

Hofstede Insights show that fashionable cultures are susceptible to the glamour or allure of high-end products; they are likely to react very positively to the appearance of a celebrity in the video. Which will, in turn, means that they will be more inclined to trust the product and brand.

It shows that curious cultures are naturally attracted to new experiences and ideas; they are more likely to try something new, especially if they think the product will offer them a new benefit or experience. They are more likely to want to find out more about Centrum.

When it comes to Impulsive cultures, they prefer to share opinions and act on anecdotal recommendations; they are also likely to respond well to the use of a famous brand ambassador. They are more easily swayed by other’s opinions and how they would be perceived by others if they were to take Centrum.

Unruly and Hofstede insights

How would the ad resonate in different markets?

Chinese audiences are very fashionable and the most impulsive, so the use of a celebrity would drive positive responses and high intent to find out more and purchase. Their impulsive leaning will likely mean they don’t need more details about the product to make a decision on purchasing. Their slightly curious tendency means they are open to trying something foreign.

Unruly and Hofstede insights

The UK is a very functional and informed leaning market; this means that the use of a celebrity is unlikely to positively impact their perception of Centrum. They are not very trusting in ads and require more information so they can form their own opinion of the brand/product. These factors would outweigh their curious nature and interest to try new products

Singaporeans have slightly informed and closed tendencies, so they would benefit from more product information in order to persuade them to try something new. They are also quite fashionable, so the use of a celebrity would resonate well with them and could overpower their less curious and impulsive natures

Japanese are highly informed and slightly closed, so would need more information about the brand/product in order to be inclined to follow-up and respond positively towards the ad. They are slightly fashionable, but this is unlikely to outweigh their other tendencies.

Results and recommendations

Looking at the results, the ad had weak results in the UK. It is predicted to perform strongly in China, but not as well in Singapore and Japan.

Unruly and Hofstede insights

For China, we recommend proceeding with the current format, the personal feel celebrity Tom Hiddleston gives the ad would resonate very well with this audience and hence likely to drive follow-up intent.

For Singapore, we’d recommend providing more information about the product in order to persuade their slightly closed nature to try something new.

For Japan and the UK, we’d recommend a different approach. Consider reworking to give more information about the benefits of the brand/product and how Centrum stands out from other brands in the market, as a famous brand ambassador alone is unlikely to sway their decision making.

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