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EMAC 2022 Annual

Lost in translation? Effects of multilingual packaging on consumers’ product and brand evaluation

Published: May 24, 2022


Rafael Munz, University of Hohenheim; Verena Hüttl-Maack, University of Hohenheim


Owing to the global nature of today’s marketplace, companies commonly use standardized packaging to distribute their products in multiple countries. Hence, consumers are confronted with product packaging which presents product information in the consumers’ native language and multiple foreign languages. In an experimental study among 657 German native speakers, we identified consequences of multilingual packaging, and more specifically, of the number of displayed languages and consumers’ familiarity with those languages. Though multilingual packaging is often seen as a pure cost-cutting measure, we found that it can have positive and negative effects on consumers’ response to the product and the brand. On the one hand, our results suggest that low familiarity with the foreign languages may lead to reduced processing fluency, resulting in negative downstream consequences. On the other hand, an increase in perceived brand globalness drives positive influences of multilingual packaging.