Symbols and Metaphors in the Marketing Communication of the Advertising Language

Authors: Jyoti Kumari , Sanjukta Ghosh (Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi)
Speakers: Jyoti Kumari
Strand: Nonverbal Semiotics
Session Type: General Session


In the marketing communication language of advertising, metaphors and other rhetoric symbols are used extensively to catch the attention of the consumers to a new product. These advertisements contain a hidden meaning and substitute one thing with other compared to straightforward advertisements. Though initially costly at the level of processing, these advertisements are more effective than the straightforward advertisements confirmed by several studies (Dehay & Landwehr 2018 for a metaphorical processing map, Ang and Lim 2006 for enhancing brand attitudes and purchase intension etc., Mcquarrie and Phillips 2005, Mcquarrie and Mick 1996, 1999, Toncar and Munch 2001 for print ads). However, whether a metaphoric advertisement is a better strategy when a new product is launched has not been done in previous studies. Based on the marketing campaigns of some established products in India over a period of time this study shows that metaphorical advertisements are introduced and accepted only when a product has already established its brand name. We took examples from the advertisements of hot and cold beverages aired in India over a period of time for this study and identified the metaphors using MIPVU developed by Steen et al (2010).


Dehay Eliza K. and Landwehr Jan R. (2019) “A MAP for effective advertising: the metaphoric

advertising processing model.” AMS Review, 2019, vol. 9, issue 3, No 9, pp.289-303.

Ang, S. H., & Lim, E. A. C. (2006). The influence of metaphors and product type on brand

personality perceptions and attitudes. Journal of Advertising, 35(2), 39–53. 00913367.2006.10639226.

McQuarrie, E. F. & Mick, D. G. (1996). “Figures of rhetoric in advertising language.” Journal of

Consumer Research. 22(4), 424–438.

McQuarrie, E. F., & Mick, D. G. (1999). “Visual rhetoric in advertising: Text-interpretive,

experimental, and reader-response analyses.” Journal of Consumer Research, 26(1), 37–54.

McQuarrie, E. F., & Philipps, B. J. (2005). Indirect persuasion in advertising: How consumers

process metaphors presented in pictures and words. Journal of Advertising, 34(2), 7–20.

Steen, G. J., Dorst, A. G., Herrmann, J. B., Kaal, A. A., Krennmayr, T., and Pasma, T. (2010). A

Method for Linguistic Metaphor Identification: From MIP to MIPVU. Number 14 in Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research. John Benjamins

Publishing Company, Amsterdam.

Toncar, M., & Munch, J. (2001). Consumer responses to tropes in print advertising. Journal of

Advertising, 30(1), 55–65.

Keywords: Metaphor, metonymy, straightforward advertisement, marketing communication, advertising language.