Website of Altaf Merchant, Ph.D.

What are the cultural differences in how people view money?

My research paper published in the Journal of Business Research examines money's symbolic meaning to consumers. The long interview method was applied in India and Korea with emic and etic interpretations to uncover important cultural contextual influences regarding deep-seated symbolic motivations relating to money. Specifically, some Koreans emphasize the importance of spending for enjoyment and the dangers of excessive saving, while Indians universally endorse saving. To provide additional insights, this study introduces folk tale elicitation (FTE). Study results reveal several themes, including money's importance and necessity for providing, security, social legitimacy and respect; the danger of excessive material desire and the potential deleterious transformational nature of wealth; and the importance of providing for one's family. These differences may reflect and stem from economic and cultural differences between the two nations. Access to the article is available at: et al, JBR 2016.pdf

Research showcased among 12 most important research papers published on Children and Advertising in the time period 1975-2015

Virtual Issue of the Journal of Advertising web access:

Receiving the Great Mind Award from the Advertising Research Foundation in New York for Best Paper Published in the
Journal of Advertising Research in 2013.

The winning paper can be accessed at et al 2013.pdf



I am an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Milgard School of Business, University of Washington, Tacoma (USA). I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Advertising Research, and Program Co-Chair of the 2019 Academy of Marketing Science Annual Conference. I am a visiting professor at the Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management (France), University of Lorraine (France), MICA School of Business Management (India) and King's College (UK). I teach Marketing Management, Innovations Management, and Strategic Brand Management at the undergraduate and graduate levels. My research is focused on nostalgia, brand heritage, cross cultural issues, prosocial behaviors, and family issues. My research has featured in journals such as the Journal of Advertising, Academy of Marketing Science Review, Journal of Business ResearchJournal of Advertising Research, and Journal of Business Ethics, among others.

I have published 25 scholarly research articles. My research has been presented all over the world at over 48 scholarly meetings. I have received best paper awards from two academic journals, and from one national academic conference. I am currently working with researchers across nine countries (United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, India, South Korea, Qatar and South Africa). I am a member of the Editorial Review Boards of the Journal of Advertising Research and the Journal of Business Research. I have served as track chair (consumer behavior, doctoral colloquium, marketing in emerging markets tracks) for several Academy of Marketing Science conferences. I have received the “MBA Faculty of the Year Award” and the “Most Inspirational Undergraduate Faculty Award” at the Milgard Business School. I serve as an Independent Director on the Board of Directors of Sound Credit Union.

Prior to academia, I have worked for eight years in brand and innovations management with multinational companies like Glaxo Smithkline Consumer Healthcare, Reckitt Benckiser, and Sara Lee. As a Brand Manager I have worked on Aquafresh (Toothpaste), Dettol (OTC), Horlicks (Foods) and Hit (Household Insecticides).

Thank you for taking the time and visiting my website.

Best wishes,

Dr. Altaf Merchant

Contact information

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Story on award winning paper

Merchant of Nostalgia

Milgard professor honored for advertising research

Pepsi sells soda with Bob Dylan tunes. Disney urges you to “remember the magic.” Old Navy jogs your memory with 80’s pop. We all know nostalgia sells. But why?

It may be common knowledge, but how these ads impact the public is not commonly understood. Now, a new research project led by UW Tacoma professor Altaf Merchant is helping advertisers understand the complex effects of nostalgia on consumers – and helping them tailor their ads to improve sales.

In March, Merchant’s paper, published in the Journal of Advertising Research, earned a Great Mind Award from the Advertising Research Foundation.

“In academic literature, there was no concrete measure or description of what the consumer feels when they see a nostalgic ad,” says Merchant, an associate professor at UW Tacoma’s Milgard School of Business and the lead researcher on the project. “Do they feel happy? Do they feel sad? How does that impact their impression of the advertiser? That’s what we wanted to find out.”

Read more at the website of the University of Washington, Tacoma at

MBA Faculty of the Year Award