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The ethics of marketing in Islamic and Christian communities: Insights for global marketing

Paul Gibbs (Institute of Work Based Learning, Middlesex University, London, UK)
Mustafa Ilkan (Eastern Mediterranean University, Gazimağusa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Article publication date: 2 May 2008




This paper takes advantage of the closeness of two separated communities on the island of Cyprus to study how controversial products and forms of offensive advertising executions can be related to levels of religiousness, time usage and temporality. The resulting observations are then to be offered as insights into the notion of ethics of the two religious groups and how these might influence marketing to multicultural communities


The findings are based on a small‐scale survey of 530 students (211 Christians, 302 Muslims and 18 undeclared) who responded to a questionnaire distributed at two privately owned English‐speaking institutions, one in the north and one in the south part of Cyprus.


The study indicates a high degree of commonality between Islamic and Christian student Cypriots living in adjoining regimes, even given their ideological and political differences.

Research limitations/implications

The relatively small numbers studied and the focus on students could limit the generalisation of these results.

Practical implications

The results raise some issues for marketing segmentation and image use. For instance, positive and forward‐looking images would stimulate most of the group regardless of their level of faith.


This paper identifies commonalities and also ontological differences that ought to inform global marketing campaigns.



Gibbs, P. and Ilkan, M. (2008), "The ethics of marketing in Islamic and Christian communities: Insights for global marketing", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 162-175.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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