Tiers and fears: an investigation of the impact of city tiers and uncertainty avoidance on Chinese consumer response to creative advertising

Julie Bilby, Mike Reid, Linda Brennan, Jiemiao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Marketers in China have long used the government's system of city tiers as a de facto segmentation tool. Previous research shows that this has led to assumptions on the part of advertisers about differing levels of conservatism and uncertainty avoidance between city tiers. This in turn has resulted in advertisers’ reluctance to invest in creative advertising, particularly when it is directed at consumers in low tier Chinese cities. This paper investigates potential differences in consumer response to advertising creativity between high (Tier 1–2) and low (Tier 5–6) Chinese cities; the moderating effect of uncertainty avoidance on Chinese consumer processing of creative ads; and the efficacy of tiers as a means of segmenting the complex Chinese marketplace. Findings reveal that regardless of tier, Chinese consumers respond positively to advertising that engages their emotions. Additionally, while Chinese consumers rank high in uncertainty avoidance, this does not moderate their response to creative ads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-348
Number of pages17
JournalAustralasian Marketing Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Advertising creativity
  • Uncertainty avoidance

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