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Religion Limit The Content And Scope Of The Advertising

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In this digital era, many people become more open minded because of the western culture are influence the people. However, the whole world still have a lot of people are concern on the religion topic. In 2012, advertising regulators across Europe receive about 3,400 complains advertising cases were about “offensiveness”, including the religious sort (Erasmus, 2012). Even a open minded culture are still have a lot of complain of religion offensive advertisement, Malaysia as a multiracial, multi religion, and multicultural society, with Malays, Chinese, Indians, and numerous other indigenous people living side by side are more often happen the cases.

Nowadays, religion advertisements are more often to see in our daily life. The advertiser should pay more cautious while create a religion advertisement. Every religion have their own taboo. When the advertiser creates an advertisement they should know about the culture of every religion clearly. As a multicultural country some product are consider as controversial product like alcohol and pork. These religion banned product are also ban in advertising.

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Malaysia is a multiracial and multi religious country, Islam is considered as the main religion (Jihad Mohammad, Farzana Quoquab, Nomahaza Mahadi & Nazimah Hussin, 2015). TV ads are for whole Malaysian to watch but every race have their own cultural. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that particular images in one culture are acceptable in others culture, otherwise some embarrassing mistakes can occur (Ricks, 1983). In Malaysia, if the advertiser create a strong religion advertisement with other element it cause the bad reaction from the people. It make the people lack of creativity. People are limit by the restriction and also limit by the audience feeling and culture. For example, TV3 used Christmas element for the Hari Raya advertisement 2010, after the advertisement play on TV3, there are many complain from Muslim to the ads from the internet. The ads are make the Muslim feel that TV3 is offense them because Hari Raya is a part of the religion it cannot accept by other religion element. Lastly, TV3 withdraw the advertisement and get fined RM50000 by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (The Sun Daily, 2010). The religion are limit the creativity of Malaysian because it make the Malaysian lack of sources to use in the advertisement. The religion are also limited the content of the advertising because of the religious view.

On the other hand, although Malaysia is a secular country some of the products are banned in Islam and it also banned on advertising. If the products are suitable for all religion, the advertising should avoid to touch the taboo of every religion. Religion and social value which are related to modesty and the offensive nature of some product make it difficult to advertise socially sensitive products through specific media or during certain period of time in some countries (Boddewyn & Kunz, 1991). However, some of the Malaysia law is based on the Islamic principles and value. Even some advertising are only available for Chinese or other but as an Islamic country we cannot to build the advertisement and advertise it. For example, pork and alcohol are ban by Islam so as an Islamic country these products are banned on advertisement (Communications and Multimedia Act 1998). It will influence the following enterprise to promote their product. The lack of product information also will cause the consumer confusing on the product. Religion will influence the consumer behavior and harm merchant. The limited the scope of the advertising will affect the consumer behaviour. We should find a balance of the religion and advertising so we could provide better advertisements that are suitable for all religion in Malaysia.

Cultivation Analysis is a theory that predicts and explain the long-term formation and shaping of perceptions, understandings, and beliefs about the world as a result of consumption of media messages. Nowadays every people are watching television and the TV ads are as a part of TV program. Based on the cultivation theory the television shapes our society’s way of thinking and relating. Most of us will influence by the television especially the TV ads. Religion TV ads will influence us on the impression of the product and as a multicultural country religion also will influence the TV ads. The long term of religion TV ads with strong religion element will impact the audience. The audience cannot accept the religion ads with other element. It makes the advertiser lack of creativity to create new advertisement. However, cultivation theory did not mention that other variables also will affect the viewer (Zareen Khan, 2012). The viewer may impact by other variables. For not showing the following product ads the consumers have lack of information and they will impact by other variables. The restrictions of the controversial ads also will make the company faces a lot of challenge. The product user will influence by other variables and make the company lose the profit. The religion limited the scope of the advertising and a lot of restriction of the religion banned product ads will appear to the company. Some products are strictly prohibits to appear in advertisement such as pork and alcohol. So it will influence the consumer behaviour and harm industry.

Have the controversial product ads influence the consumer behaviour?

To identify how the effect of limited religion product ads to consumer;

To investigate the view of Malaysian on the topic of religion product ads.

How the controversial product ads influence the industry?

To investigate the relationship between controversial product ads and industry in Malaysia;

To identify how the controversial product ads influence the industry in Malaysia.


From the cultivation theory the researchers learn that cultivation theory is a long term impact of TV viewer. However, Zareen Khan(2012) is mention that the affect are not include with other variables. So the viewer may also influence by other such as people, environment and so on. TV ads is the one of the reason of impact the consumer behaviour but the lack of information from the controversial religion product will cause the consumer impact by other variables.

Practical significance

Based on the issue the researcher mention above, the restrictions of the controversial religion product are influence the company and consumer. The following company should find other methods to make sure the sale are stable. The controversial religion product seller can direct contact with consumer. For the pork seller, they can target their audience like Chinese and Indian. Selling pork in the correct area and do promotion or promote their product by using social media. The seller should choose a right ways to promote their product and straight to the targeted consumer.

What are the effect of controversial product ads to consumer

Advertising is very important for any business. It helps the business to increase profit and achieve goals. Advertisements are generally aimed at increasing purchase intentions through generating favorable attitudes toward the product or brand being advertised (Sunde, 2014). Business companies all over the world spends billions of dollars for advertising on an annually basis to promote their products or services and to persuade customers globally (M. Nooh, 2009). The controversial products become an issue for the advertiser create an advertisement. All those products which disturb the social, cultural, moral or religious segment of the society, considered as controversial. There are two different categories of controversial advertising can be identified, namely that which relates to controversial and offensive products and offensive executions of advertisements (Vos, 2011). The offensive products included alcohol and condom. The offensive executions of advertisement which is the advertisement are included racist and sexist. Some scholars commented that advertisers use such controversial things in advertisements deliberately because they want to get attention of audience which can also annoy the audience (Sandage & Leckenby, 1980; Rettie, Robinson, & Jenner, 2001) which is also known as irritation (Kornias, Halalau, & Mullern, 2012). Using controversial element has both good and bad impact for the consumer. A little bit of controversial element without harm anyone will get the consumer attention and bringing good impact otherwise consumer will have bad impression for the product if the ads are cover with too over controversial things. Those kinds of ads are destroying and harm the consumer buying desire. It creates a bad effect for the company and the product.

From the studies of controversial advertisements and consumer behaviour (Abdul Rehman Madni1, Dr. Norsiah Abdul Hamid, Dr. Sabrina Mohd Rashid, 2016), they conclude that there is an issue related to advertisements is controversial advertising. It is observed that when the advertisements are perceived controversial by people, such advertisements create negative effects not only on product or brand, but also affect the organizational reputation. Some advertisers use controversial advertisements intentionally because it’s an easy way to get attention of people. It is evident that there is a relationship between advertisements and consumer behavior, but there is still an extreme lack of research articulating relationship between controversial advertisements and behaviour.

What are the effect of controversial product ads to the industry

In Malaysia, some of the controversial products are offensive to some members of the community. For example, alcohol and pork are offensive to the Muslim. So, it makes the government implementing restrictions on the advertising to the certain product. In the global marketplace, the existence of such advertising restrictions on certain products can have a major influence on the degree of standardisation allowed for a company’s marketing program (David S. Waller & Kim Shyan Fam, 2000). Those restrictions will make the company lose their product exposure to the public and influence their profit. The restrictions will impact to the industry.

David S. Waller and Kim Shyan Fam (2000) are studies about the Malaysian experience of the advertising of controversial products. The result showed that there are six of the 17 products presented to them being identified as products that cannot be legally advertised. This is because of the Malaysian Advertising Code and the country’s cultural values. The regulations of the Malaysia government are reflecting the national aspiration to achieve Malaysian identity, cultural sensitivity and social responsibility, while conforming to the values of Islam. For those international companies they should aware of the possible restriction from the new market. The advertiser should be careful on the content of the images in the advertisement will not offend the local community.

Soraja Hadzalic and Anna Åkervall(2011) studies about the marketing communication on controversial product of a case study on the tobacco industry. From the findings from interview with relevant persons and companies and also from written sources such as books, journal and web pages they have conclusions for the topic. The restrictions have great influence for the tobacco companies on how they manage their company. In spite of this, the market of tobacco is still existing and growing. It is possible that the tobacco company find a lot of method deal with the restrictions. The communication is important because the restrictions will not disappears, hence the companies need to be more creative in their way of marketing communication.

Based on the studies above, the result show that the controversial advertisement are link with the consumer behaviour. Controversial advertisement will influence the consumer behaviour. Besides that, the result also show that the limitation of the controversial product have relationship with the following business. The restrictions will impact the company and the advertiser should be more careful on the controversial product.


The research method using in this research is qualitative research. Qualitative research is a type of scientific research. Qualitative research is a market research method that focuses on obtaining data through open-ended and conversational communication. Qualitative research is using the methods of data collections with a small focus group, field observation, in-depth interviews and case studies. The issue of the research is the religion will make some specific product like pork become controversial product then influence the following business and consumer. The qualitative research method allows for in-depth and further probing and questioning of respondents based on their responses. The issue need an in-depth interview to get the important information from the audience. Qualitative research is suitable for the topic because the issue need an in-depth questioning and respond.

For this research, in-depth interview will use to gain the detail information from the audience. One-to-one interview is a personal interview that is carried out with one respondent at a time. It is a conversational method and invites opportunities to get details in depth from the respondent. One of the advantages of this method provides great opportunity to gather precise data about what people believe and what their motivations are (Adi Bhat, 2016). So, in-depth interview can provide the detail information from the consumer and merchant. The data will show the believe and motivations of the consumer and merchant about the effect of the controversial product.


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