A Review of Foreign Languages in Advertising and Product Packaging: Socio-and Psycholinguistic Perspectives

  • Erion SHEHU Agricultural University of Tirana, Str. “Paisi Vodica” 1025, Tirana, Albania
  • Mihaela MIHAI University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Mănăștur St. no 3-5, 400372, Cluj-Napoca, Cluj
  • Enxhi SHEHU Agricultural University of Tirana, Str. “Paisi Vodica” 1025, Tirana, Albania
Keywords: consumer, label, association, congruence, country-of-origin effect, brand


Research on the use of foreign languages in advertising and packaging identifies English as a medium due to its modern universal appeal. As advertising vehicles become more numerous and diverse, foreign languages have veered from their purely linguistic function to assuming a more active role in influencing consumers’ cognitions and behaviors. Research allows companies to tap into the implicit emotional connections and associations that foreign languages evoke in consumers and better assist companies in adjusting their consumer culture positioning strategies to various local markets. This review aims to encapsulate the theoretical complexities underpinning the mechanism of how foreign languages function and how understanding them may help advertisers and brand managers in influencing consumer behavior and perception. The existing body of research shows a surging interest in multilingual advertising and product packaging. The former is more consolidated with validated experimental designs and a wider application of relevant theories whereas the latter is still at its infancy and lacks the generalizability to diverse markets. The authors conclude that foreign languages are widespread. Drawing on the theories of linguistics, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics, alongside considering markets' cultural sensitivities, the authors recommend employing foreign language cues in both advertising and packaging.