Why do advertisers use visual metaphors? A pragmatic perspective

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Abstract

This article investigates the role and interpretation processes of visual metaphors in print advertising using a pragmatic approach, more specifically, Relevance Theory (RT). Relevance Theory reveals that the audience interprets ambiguity of metaphors according to their background and inferential knowledge. Complex metaphors require more processing effort from the consumers and can be left misunderstood if no extra anchoring is provided. This study contributes to the theoretical knowledge of advertising and its creativity by applying a pragmatic approach to this research area. It shows how images can reveal some interesting and important issues within advertising communication with potential consumers, which in turn can generate some further discussions. Research findings have direct implications for the creative management of advertising techniques and consumer research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-214
JournalThe Marketing Review
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

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