Researchers at the Rotterdam School of Management carried out the study using a series of experiments to test a theory of languages and emotions.
It found that although a large proportion of global advertising uses English, it elicits weaker emotions in a large number of consumers.
Stefano Puntoni, from the marketing management department at RSM, said: "There are valid reasons to advertise in a foreign language. To keep costs down for a global campaign, for example, or to build an international image. But the emotional intensity will be blunted."
The research shows that people associate certain words with past experiences. On hearing or reading a word an emotional response is triggered by subconsciously reminding people of events in their memory.
Puntoni contributed to the research paper, Bilingualism and the Emotional Intensity of Advertising Language, which will be published in the Journal of Consumer Research in April 2009.