The varying influence of spokesperson's accent in communication effectiveness: A comparative study in two different regions of Mexico

This study examines the communication effectiveness of a spokesperson with an American-Spanish Accent (ASA) and a Mexican-Spanish Accent (MSA) in two different locations of Mexico. These cities were selected based on their high or low exposure of the US culture (that is, high exposure is assumed if the city was close to the US border and/or coastal city). We used Tajfel's Theory to hypothesize the relationship between spokesperson's accent and consumers' purchase intentions in that location. The theory posits that the most influential spokesperson will be the person who speaks with the standard accent for a given region but what is considered standard accent changes based on cultural influences of different groups. To test the hypothesized relationships, we used a sample of 1058 student subjects who observed an advertisement with different accented spokespersons. Consistent with the theory, the results of this study indicate that consumers that are less exposed to the US culture (inland Mexico cities) had more favorable views about the spokesperson that had an MSA than a spokesperson with an ASA. Moreover, consumers in the cities close to the US border and coastal areas had equally favorable views for both accents. The implications for the marketers are discussed.