Sex Roles

, Volume 79, Issue 11–12, pp 738–751 | Cite as

Cross-Cultural Sexism and the Effectiveness of Gender (Non)Traditional Advertising: A Comparison of Purchase Intentions in Poland, South Africa, and the United Kingdom

  • Magdalena ZawiszaEmail author
  • Russell Luyt
  • Anna Maria Zawadzka
  • Jacek Buczny
Original Article


Findings regarding the effectiveness of (non)traditionally gendered advertisements are mixed and largely emanate from the United States. We tested the stereotype content model and ambivalent sexism theory cross-nationally in an advertising context and predicted that paternalistic (vs. envious) female stereotypes will trigger higher purchase intent (PI) irrespective of country (Hypothesis 1), viewers’ benevolent sexism will positively predict PI for paternalistic housewife advertisements (Hypothesis 2a), viewers’ hostile sexism will negatively predict PI for envious businesswoman advertisements (Hypothesis 2b), and these relationships with sexism will be confined to less gender egalitarian countries (i.e., Poland and South Africa) (Hypothesis 3). Statistical analyses of data from 468 Polish, South African, and British university students supported Hypothesis 1 and partially supported Hypotheses 2 and 3. The predicted patterns held for South Africa, but in Poland, viewers’ benevolence positively predicted PI for both advertisement types, with the exception of highly hostile women. British viewers’ hostility positively predicted PI for the housewife advertisement. Our findings support the cross-cultural applicability of the stereotype content model to advertising and suggest that the predictive role of sexism changes depending on its type, advertisement type, country, and gender. We recommend that advertisers should adopt a nuanced approach in predicting the effectiveness of gendered advertisements.


Advertising Cross-cultural Cross-national Gender portrayal Gender roles Sexism Stereotype content 


Compliance with ethical standards

The research was conducted in accordance with APA ethical guidelines and I confirm that the manuscript reports original research and has not been submitted simultaneously to, or published in, any other publication outlet.

Supplementary material

11199_2018_906_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 23 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAnglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Social Work and CounsellingUniversity of GreenwichLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GdańskGdańskPoland
  4. 4.Department of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Social and Organizational PsychologyVrije University of AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands
  5. 5.University of Social Sciences and HumanitiesWarszawaPoland

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