Metaphor as the main argumentative figure in advertising | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции


Рубрика: 5. Общее и прикладное языкознание

Опубликовано в

III международная научная конференция «Актуальные проблемы филологии» (Казань, май 2018)

Дата публикации: 10.04.2018

Статья просмотрена: 1 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Сулейменова А. Б. Metaphor as the main argumentative figure in advertising [Текст] // Актуальные проблемы филологии: материалы III Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Казань, май 2018 г.). — Казань: Молодой ученый, 2018. — С. 21-23. — URL (дата обращения: 24.06.2018).

The article draws attention to the role of metaphors in advertising discourse. Metaphor is not only a device of expressive speech, but also an effective means of persuasion. It is quite natural that today in the advertising industry people often use metaphors, since it can help not only to describe the advertised object, but also to manipulate the human mind.

Keywords: advertising, metaphor, metaphorization, cognitive process, conceptual domain, speech, discourse, artistic device, trope, communication.

Advertising is a complex and unique form of communication. It is built according to its laws, the rules of development and management. It has its own specific language. Therefore, there is always an unflagging interest to this type of discourse, its manipulative methods and the techniques of meaning transmission.

The advertising communication through the human values and norms influences the formation and change of outlook of individuals and social groups. It is a factor contributing to the uniformity of needs, values and beliefs of society that is a factor of stability of the current social and cultural environment, and also a factor that causes the changes in the worldview and society in general.

Advertising language is a special phenomenon and the area of study of mass communication within the modern science. It has two main functions: to inform and to persuade people. The concreteness and purposefulness help to understand the individuality of every advertisement.

The advertising compilers operate with a variety of verbal and non-verbal means in order to have an impact on the consumer. Both verbal and non-verbal context presented in the form of colorful images, diagrams (printed advertising) or by using video materials (commercials) may be present at the same time in the advertising text. Therefore, the specificity of advertising texts is determined by the fact that, depending on the type of advertising, they can combine verbal part with the following non-verbal elements: visual elements (in print and outdoor advertising), audio elements (in radio advertising), and audio and visual elements (TV commercials).

One of the main features of advertising texts is their compactness. D. E. Rosenthal and N. N. Kokhtev claim that during the preparation of advertising texts it is important to observe the rule: the minimum of words — the maximum of information. [3; 118] For instance, “Fresh decision” in advertising of chewing gum “Mentos”. There are only two words but they transmit the main idea very well.

It is known that person thinks metaphorically, he is not in the isolation from the metaphors that envelop our everyday life [1; 235]. It is connected with the fact that in any discourse there are constituents of the figurativeness of picture of the world and the elements of poetic thought. Advertising discourse is not an exception.

Metaphor is not only a device of expressive speech, but also an effective means of persuasion. As the expressive language means, metaphor surprises with its uniqueness, helps to overcome the passivity of perception, represents the information very compactly, thus, contributes to its better memorization and strengthens the impact. The researchers G. Lakoff and M. Johnson paid attention to the most important properties of metaphor as a means of speech influence many years ago. In their work “Metaphors We Live By” they note that metaphors get into our thoughts and our actions [1; 227].

Metaphor is often regarded as a cognitive process. Metaphorical meaning has a complicated character and occurs as a result of conducting a whole range of processing procedures of knowledge. In the cognitive terms, the process of metaphorization is close to the model of reasoning by analogy, which is based on an idea of the transmission of information or knowledge between two conceptual domains: source and target ones. The conceptual domain and its elements (meanings and the combinations of meanings) form a metaphorical model.

In advertising discourse metaphor performs the following functions:

a) It is the material for illustrating the main idea. The specificity of human memory is that the idea in the form of a metaphor is remembered more quickly than just in the form of a dry rational statement;

b) It serves as a clue to the solution (the plot can nudge to the right thought) or the motivation for action;

c) It generates new ideas and enhances the internal motivation. Influencing indirectly, mostly “bypassing consciousness”, metaphor reduces the criticality of the consumer in relation to advertising: it is difficult to resist one's own thoughts or associations.

The combination of all these functions allows us to conclude that in the communicative activity “metaphor is an important means of influencing the intellect, feelings and will of the addressee” [4; 174].

It is quite natural that today in the advertising industry people often use metaphors, since it can help not only to describe the advertised object, but also to manipulate the mind of the consumer. According to A. P. Chudinov, a man not only expresses his thoughts using metaphors, but he thinks metaphorically. A person with the help of metaphors creates that world in which he lives [5; 52]. In turn, A. V. Prokhorov claims that at the basis of metaphor there are not the meanings of words but the concepts, which are formed in the human mind [2; 102]. This type of metaphor based on concepts is called a conceptual one. The distinctive feature of these metaphors is that they are based on stable correspondences between the original conceptual domain and the new conceptual domain that are reflected in the cultural and linguistic traditions of the society [2; 103].

In the language of advertising metaphor occupies a dominant position: it affects the will and the feelings of consumers, it motivates them to act. With the help of metaphors only the necessary and positive characteristics and features of product or service are actualized.

The peculiarity of the use of metaphors in advertising texts is that they suggest a certain opinion without evidence, with their help commonly accepted values are presented as ready, hardly refuted arguments.

As it is known, the use of metaphor in advertising discourse helps increase the expressiveness of speech. Giving the advertising text expressiveness, originality, imagery, metaphor performs its main role — to attract consumers.

Metaphor is the main argumentative figure in the advertising text. Advertisers use the metaphor as a tool with which you can construct a composition of advertising, convey its meaning.

Let’s take as an example the advertising of car:

Skoda. Simply clever (Skoda)

Confidence in Motion (Subaru)

Power, Beauty and Soul (Aston Martin)

These examples show us one of the most popular metaphorical models used in the advertising of cars. In these slogans a car has the traits that people have. It means that the human characteristics are transmitted to the inanimate object, a car. Such words as clever, confidence, power, beauty and soul evoke positive emotions in the consumers. They make people to believe that the advertised car has everything you need for a good and safe trip. The advertising with the use of minimum of words performs its main function: to motivate people to buy a product. This type of metaphor succeeds in attracting the consumers because it makes advertising very interesting and vivid.

Metaphor forms beliefs of target audiences in the right direction. In the process of its perception there is a kind of start-up of necessary associations. The audience is involved directly in the empathy of situation or experience of emotions that arose in connection with the situation presented in advertising. It is the power of emotional impact that ultimately determines consumer choice.

Thus, metaphor attracts and holds the attention of the recipient, it saturates the text by the expressive images that are capable of being permanently stored in memory, affects the associative thinking of the target audience. Being one of the instruments of influence and sometimes of manipulation of consciousness and thought process, metaphor acts as a sealant of information. The imagery of metaphor allows visually reflect the specifics of the national perception of the world, not only to call the phenomenon of reality, but also to qualitatively evaluate it, to determine the level of compliance of promotional product with the expectations and demands of the consumer preparing him for the role of an active participant of communication.


  1. Lakoff, G. & M. Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. — London: The university of Chicago press, 2003
  2. Прохоров, А. В. Метафорическое представление объекта рекламы.Рекламная коммуникация: лингвокогнитивные аспекты исследования. — Тамбов: Издательский дом ТГУ им. Г. Р. Державина. 2009
  3. Розенталь, Д. Е. & Н. Н. Кохтев. Язык рекламных текстов. — М.: Высш. шк. 1981.
  4. Чудинов, А. П. Россия в метафорическом зеркале: когнитивное исследование политической метафоры (1991–2000) (Екатеринбург. 2001.) // Режим доступа: 2001.
  5. Чудинов, А. П. Метафорическая мозаика в современной политической коммуникации. — Екатеринбург: Изд-во Уральского гос. пед. ун-та. 2003.

Ключевые слова

communication, metaphor, advertising, metaphorization, cognitive process, conceptual domain, speech, discourse, artistic device, trope


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