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广告英语-Englsih advertising language  

2010-04-30 14:40:56|  分类: 花中李的英语毕业 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Application of the KISS Rule in Advertising English

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

First and foremost, my deepest gratitude and respect go to my supervisor, Professor Wu Xiaoyu. It is for his constant encouragement, great care and invaluable advice and suggestions that this paper appears in the present form.

I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to Prof. Luo Guoliang, Prof. Lu Naisheng, Prof. Huang Yuanshen, Prof. Xu Yaqin, Prof. Xie Yi, Prof. Zhu Peifen and all other teachers who gave me lectures during the past two academic years.

  Finally, my appreciation goes to my beloved parents and to the rest of my family. Throughout the development of this paper, they have been there always giving me continuous support, encouragement and understanding.

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract

Advertising is something that we are all exposed to everyday. It is also something that is likely to affect us in a number of different spheres of our lives. Advertising takes many forms, in most of which, however, language is of crucial importance. To sell commodities or increase sales is the ultimate goal of advertising, which decides that its language should be simple and sweet. Thus a comprehensive analysis on the linguistic features of advertising English is worthwhile.

The whole paper is divided into six chapters.

The first chapter is an introduction of the study background as well as the methods of research employed in this paper.

The second chapter traces back the origin of advertising and covers the definitions, classifications, functions, objectives, elements and the KISS rule of advertising.

The following three chapters respectively analyze the lexical, syntactic, and rhetoric features of advertising English. It is based on the employment of various devices under these features that the KISS rule is effectively applied to advertising.

The third chapter is a description of the lexical features of advertising English, including the utilization of monosyllabic, laudatory and comparative adjectives, monosyllable and forceful verbs, refined nouns, pronouns, compounds and intentionally misspelled words. The appropriate wording is conducive to catching the public’s attention, arousing their curiosity, and eventually building up in their mind a good image of the advertised product and producer alike.

The fourth chapter describes the syntactic features of advertising English. A lot of imperative and interrogative sentences and minor clauses are used in advertising English, so that English advertisements are made simple, direct, persuasive and more readable. As a result, the advertising message can be conveyed to the audience more powerfully and vividly.

In the fifth chapter, the writer explores the characteristics of the rhetorical devices in advertising at the phonetic, lexical and syntactical levels and tries to find out how the persuasive effect of advertisements is achieved.

The last chapter, the conclusion, briefly describes how the KISS rule can be effectively applied to advertising English by means of lexical, syntactic and rhetorical approaches.

It is hoped that by studying the linguistic features of advertising English this paper will be of some help in comprehending and translating English advertisements for those who are working in this field.

 

Key words:   Advertising       Advertising English

KISS rule        Linguistic features

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements. ⅰ

Abstract ⅱ

内容提要... ⅳ

 

1. Introduction.. 1

1.1 Study Background.. 1

1.2 Approaches of Research. 2

2. A Brief Survey of Advertising.. 3

2.1 History of Advertising. 3

2.2 Definitions of Advertising. 4

2.3 Classifications of Advertising. 6

2.4 Functions of Advertising. 8

2.5 Objectives of Advertising. 10

2.6 Elements of Advertising. 11

2.7 The KISS Rule in Advertising. 11

3. Lexical Approach.. 13

3.1 Use of Monosyllabic, Laudatory and Comparative Adjectives. 13

3.2 Use of Monosyllabic and Forceful Verbs. 16

3.3 Use of Refined Nouns. 17

3.4 Use of “You” and “Your”. 19

3.5 Use of Compounds. 20

3.6 Use of Intentional Misspellings. 22

4. Syntactic Approach.. 25

4.1 Utilization of Imperative Sentences. 25

4.2 Utilization of Interrogative Sentences. 27

4.3 Utilization of Minor Clauses. 30

5. Rhetorical Approach.. 32

5.1 Phonetic Rhetoric. 32

5.1.1 Onomatopoeia. 33

5.1.2 Alliteration. 34

5.1.3 Rhyme. 36

5.2 Lexical Rhetoric. 37

5.2.1 Metaphor 38

5.2.2 Simile. 39

5.2.3 Metonymy. 40

5.2.4 Pun. 41

5.2.5 Personification. 45

5.2.6 Irony. 46

5.2.7 Parody. 47

5.2.8 Euphemism.. 50

5.3 Syntactical Rhetoric. 52

5.3.1 Inversion. 52

5.3.2 Repetition. 53

5.3.3 Parallelism.. 56

5.3.4 Contrast 58

6. Conclusion.. 60

Bibliography. 62

 

1. Introduction

[1]

The embryonic form of advertising in the world is street cries, which exist even today. Advertising was not unknown in ancient Greece and Rome, but advertising as we recognize did not start until the seventeenth century in the West. It was at about this time that newspapers began to circulate. Before that, it is printing, which was invented in China and then introduced to the West, that played a vital role in the development of print advertising. “Classified” (small advertisements) types of advertising were dominant before the nineteenth century and the style and language used in advertisements at that time tended to be direct and informative. The Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the mid-1700s and spread later to the United States, fueled mass production of goods. Meanwhile advertising became more and more important in the industrial market. The great breakthrough for advertising came only in the late nineteenth century, when technology and mass-production techniques were sufficiently developed for more firms to be able to turn out products of roughly the same quality and at roughly the same price. This brought on a crisis of over-production and under-consumption, which meant that the market demand had to be stimulated artificially. It was at this time that advertisers found it necessary to shift the function of advertising from proclamation to persuasion. In the twentieth century, advertising developed rapidly alongside the advent of new media—radio, television and Internet in succession.

[2]

 

Advertising is any controlled form of nonpersonal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor that is used to inform and persuade the selected market.[3]

 

Advertising presents the most persuasive possible selling message to right prospects for the product or service at the lowest possible cost.[4]

 

Advertising is the nonpersonal communication of information, usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature, about products (goods and services) or ideas by identified sponsors through various media.[5]

 

    Advertising is a paid, mass-mediated attempt to persuade.[6]

 

Although the expressions in the above statements are quite different, there is something in common in them.

i. Advertising reaches us through channels of communication referred to as media (such as radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, billboard or computer).

ii. Advertising is nonpersonal; it is directed to groups of people rather than individuals. These groups might be teenagers who enjoy popcorn or grown-ups who care about the index of Nasdaq Stock Market.

iii. Most advertising is paid for by sponsors. Sponsors, such as Pepsi, SIEMENS and General Motors, pay for the time and the space they use to get their message across. However, there are some exceptions, such as the advertisements of the International Red Cross, which are presented by the media at no charge. These non-profit and political advertisements are only intended to popularize an idea, an attitude, a viewpoint and a social cause.

iv. Advertising is intended to be persuasive. The fundamental role of advertising is to enhance brand awareness and win converts to the products. The message has the explicit purpose of increasing sales through persuasion.

ⅴ. The sponsor of advertising is identified. Actually, in most cases the prime purpose behind advertisements is to help identify the sponsor.

ⅵ. In addition to promoting tangible products, advertising is also used extensively to help sell services and increasingly to sell a wide variety of ideas: economic, political, religious and social.

[7] By means of advertising, a business conveys its sales intent and consumption concept to customers. Thus, consumers have a wide range of choices.

The Economic Function. There are two major schools of thought concerning the effects of advertising on economy, i.e. the market power school and the market competition school. According to the market power school, advertising is a persuasive communication tool used by marketers to distract consumers’ attention from the price of the product. In contrast, the market competition school sees advertising as a source of information that increases consumers’ price sensitivity and stimulates market competition.

Actually, little is known about the true nature of advertising in economy. Charles Sandage, an advertising professor, provides a different perspective. He sees the economic function of advertising as “helping society to achieve abundance by informing and persuading members of society with respect to products, services, and ideas.” In addition, he argues that advertising assists in “the development of judgment on the part of consumers in their purchase practices.”[8]

The Communication Function. The communication of information is one of the basic functions of advertising. As a form of mass communication, advertising transmits different types of market information to help improve the communication between buyers and sellers in the marketplace. In consequence, consumers can be assured that they can get the commodities they want.

The Educational Function. Through advertising, people can learn about new products and services and understand the advancement of society. Therefore, advertising speeds up the adoption of the new and untried products and, in doing so, accelerates technological advances in industry and hastens the realization of a richer life for all. Advertising also reflects a nation’s civilization and contributes to a better understanding of various nations’ ideologies.

The Social Function. Advertising has a number of social functions. It informs us of new and improved products and teaches us how to use these innovations. It helps us compare products and their features and make wise purchase decisions. It helps increase productivity and raise the living standard. It mirrors fashion and design trends and contributes to the cultivation of our aesthetic sense.[9] Through conveying the carefully prepared message to the target audience, advertising produces a great impact on all sectors of society.

[10] Here Simple means that the copy should be easy for the customer group to read, while Sweet means that the language of advertisements should be attention-getting or tempting. By following this rule in copywriting, advertisements are expected to become strong in tone, and sweet and tempting in language, thereby effectively impressing readers and persuading them to buy the advertised product. To meet all these criteria, advertisers can draw on a wide-range of devices: lexical, syntactic, rhetoric, and the like. In the following context we will analyze these devices appearing in advertising English and see how advertising can be kept simple and sweet by employing those devices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[11]

    It is obvious that nearly all adjectives listed here are monosyllabic ones of Anglo-Saxon origin. Thus, the simplicity of advertising language can be well assured by the morphological simplicity of these frequently used adjectives.

    The following advertisements highlight the use of adjectives described here.

    (1) Introducing Renurit Freshell. The new wave in air fresheners. Renurit Freshell. It’s a beautiful shell on the outside. And inside it’s a long-lasting air freshener… that freshens all day, all week, all month. The new wave in air fresheners... new Renurit Freshell. In your choice of 4 delightful fresh scents.

                         —Renurit Freshell Air Fresheners

    (2) What a good time for good taste of a Kent.

                         —Kent Cigarettes

    (3) You’re sure of personal freshness—lasting day and night freshness—and sure of a lovely, lingering perfume. This winter—be sure. Use double-sure body mist, the perfumed deodorant.

    There are sixteen adjectives in the above three extracts. Nine of them fall into the group of the most common adjectives. What is significant is that they are mostly evaluative ones with good connotation. These laudatory terms usually underline pleasurable associations of the advertised products, so the use of words of such a nature will help bring out the advantages and favorable characteristics of the products so publicized. A favorable message will be transmitted to consumers when they read advertisements full of such terms. Accordingly, a good image of the advertiser or the promoted product will be established in the mind of the audience.

    In business, it is against law to verbally assault rival products. Therefore, copywriters have to resort to comparative constructions to display the superiority of the advertised product. This results in the abundance of adjectival comparatives in advertising English. Comparatives themselves implicitly suggest that some product is better than it used to be or than its rival products, or that consumers will be better off if they consume the product advertised. And in advertising English, it is elliptical comparatives, with only one term expression, that dominates.

    The following examples illustrate the popularity of comparatives in advertising English.

    (1) New Dirtaway gets clothes cleaner.

                            —Dirtaway Detergent

    (2) The Higher High potency vitamin.

                            —Super Plenamins

    (3) The new Chevrolet has more headroom, more rear seat legroom, more trunk.

                            —Chevrolet Cars

    (4) Signal fights strong mouth odors, even garlic, even onions, gives you fresher, cleaner breath.

                            —Signal Toothpaste

    There are ten adjectives in the above four advertisements. Seven of them appear in comparative form and all these comparatives are elliptical ones.

    From the above analysis, we come to understand that adjectives are preferred by copywriters. Most adjectives in advertising are of Anglo-Saxon origin. They are mostly monosyllabic. It is this morphological readability that contributes to the simplicity of advertising English. And, as these common adjectives are mostly laudatory in nature, the employment of them helps display the advantages and superiority of the advertised product. Consequently, aestheticism of the advertisements in terms of lingual expression will be achieved and a favorable image of the advertiser or the advertised product created among consumers. Besides, comparative adjectives are frequently used in advertisements, always bringing about comparisons in favor of the advertised products. Thus the audience’s preference will be automatically secured as the advertisers have expected. In this way, common, laudatory and comparative adjectives help hit the advertising goal.

[12]

The frequent use of these verbs in advertisements is based on such a consideration—to inspire consumers’ interest in the product or the service advertised.

Here are some examples in which monosyllable and forceful verbs are used:

(1) Try the Crown Breakfast Buffet and get energy to welcome a nice working day.              

—Crown Breakfast Buffet

(2) You can feel the feature in Philips design.

—Philips Home Appliances

(3) Use it wherever you think best.

—IBM

(4) Mars making life a little sweeter.

—Mars Chocolate Bar

[13] Intentional misspelling in advertisements is to arouse the curiosity of readers by means of unusual words or statement, which makes the advertisement more attractive and memorable.

(1) Drinka Pinta Milka Day.

This is a slogan of a milk advertisement in Britain. The copywriter changed the normal spelling “Drink a pint of milk a day” by imitating people’s pronunciation in everyday conversations. And because of its lively rhythm and good sense of humor, the slogan became so popular that even the word “pinta” was later used as a substitute for “milk”.

(2) We know eggsactly how to sell eggs.

This one appears in an advertisement for eggs. Here the word “eggsactly” is a successful imitation of “exactly” in pronunciation. And it also echoes with the word “eggs” at the end of the sentence. Thus, the misspelled word adds much sense of humor to the advertisement and helps give the audience a unique impression

(3) 4ord costs 5ive% le$$.

In the above sentence, which advertises Ford cars, the copywriter intentionally changes “Ford” to “4ord”, “5%”to “5ive%”and “less” to “le$$”. Such misspellings make the advertisement particularly attractive and even the most casual reader would not neglect it. The attention value and memorability of the advertisement have thus been achieved.

    (4) We cannot spell S-ccess without U.

    This advertisement means that “we”, the advertiser, cannot achieve success without the help of “you”, the consumer. This shows the copywriter’s extraordinary imagination and creativity. This advertisement confirms the importance of consumers to advertisers and is sure to please the audience.

    In intentional misspelling, the letter “k” is very active, usually replacing the letter “c”, for they are similar in pronunciation in most cases. And the former is considered orthographically more conspicuous. The following examples may justify the substitution of “k” for “c” in advertising English.

    (1) krispy kream doughnuts

    (=crispy cream doughnuts.)

    (2) koin klean laundry

    (=coin clean laundry).

    (3) kwik kopy duplicating centre

    (=quick copy duplicating centre).

    (4) kash ‘n’ karry supermarket

    (=cash and carry supermarket).

    Here, the misspelling together with alliteration is sure to secure readers’ attention and leave them a deep impression. This is essential to their final action.

The above analysis enables us to understand that the intentionally misspelled words can communicate as much information as words of correct spelling. However, the employment of misspelling renders advertising language more lively, humorous and eye-catching, which ensures the attainment of attention value and memorability of advertisements. This is just as Scott said in his book The Psychology of Advertising that “by various twists of words, phrase and expression, curiosity may be aroused, the readers’ attention is attracted, and he or she is led to investigate further, thus understand what the ad is telling about and the product being advertised.”[14]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[15] Interrogatives can be classified into four types: Yes/No interrogatives (general questions), tag questions, wh-questions (special questions) and alternative questions. In advertising, except the last type, the other three are all frequently exploited. We can look at the following examples:

    (1) Are you going grey too early?

    (2) Have you talked to Racho lately?

    (3) You will buy this special gift to your darling, don’t you?

    (4) You have Mott’s Apple sauce, don’t you?

    (5) How to get 100 watts of light for only 40 watts of electricity?

    (6) What will you do with the money you save by using a faster, more efficient computer?

    (7) What’s so special about Lurpak Danish Butter? Well, can you remember what butter used to taste like real fresh farmhouse butter? Do you remember how you used to enjoy it when you were young? Today—the latest of Lurpak brings it all back to you— that’s why it’s so special!

These questions are certainly more eye-catching than declarative sentences. They draw consumers’ immediate attention. When consumers see such questions, their curiosity will be stirred and they will be provoked to think over the answers to such questions. So these questions will linger in their minds. The attention value of the advertisements can thus be secured and accordingly maintained for a fairly long period of time. Consequently, consumers will perhaps be encouraged to take prompt action.

Of the above examples, the seventh extract illustrates a further type of Yes/No questions: an appeal to the consumer to search his memory. Such questions have parallels in ordinary conversation: “Do you remember Mr. X? Well....” In both cases an answer is not expected; or rather, the poser of the question does not really care if it is “Yes” or “No”.

In wh-questions, a more specific answer than “Yes” or “No” is required. When such a question is posed, the ensuing copy generally provides the answer:

(8) What’s in Woman’s Realm this week?

   A wonderful beauty offer for you.

The technique of exposition in the question-and-answer form helps explain a complicated subject matter in a relatively simple way. Psychologically, it may be a means of motivating the audience to get a point by presenting the matter in two separate stages: a problem, and then its solution. Linguistically, it may be a means of reducing grammatical complexity, by expressing in two sentences what would otherwise have been most naturally expressed in one more complex sentence. Both interpretations apply to advertising. The effect of simplification can be judged by comparing the eighth example above with a single sentence paraphrase: There’s a wonderful beauty offer for you in Woman’s Realm this week. This would be an acceptable alternative, but it contains usual complexity of clause structure, with three adjuncts in succession. This usual complexity would yield banality, losing much of advertising value.

    Thus, we know interrogatives can stimulate the audience by eliciting responses from them, so that attention value can be maintained. They also help explain a complicated subject matter in a relatively simple way, which facilitates the audience’s understanding and contributes to the readability or listenability of the advertisement. As a result, the advertising message can be conveyed to the audience more powerfully and vividly, and finds its way to the audience’s mind.

[16] It is both a kind of word formation and one of the important rhetorical devices. By their specific pronunciation, these imitative words sound vivid and true to life and have the particular effect which other rhetorical devices don’t have. Onomatopoeia is sometimes employed in advertisements to connect the sound with the products advertised, resulting in vividness or subtleness, and leaving deep impression on the target audience.

(1) Zoom!

      Let Service Federal Credit Union show you the fastest way to save on a new car or truck.

This advertisement by Service Federal Credit Union is programmed to advertise price-cutting. The headline is quite eye-catching with only one word—“Zoom” and an exclamation mark “!”. Obviously, “zoom” is a typical onomatopoeic word, vividly describing the low, deep and humming sound made by a speeding car. Here “zoom” is used not only to imply that this is an advertisement for car, but also to emphasize that this is the fastest way to buy a car or a truck with a low price. Attention is obtained and unexpected effect is achieved by the use of the onomatopoeic word.

(2) Buschhhhhhhhh!

Introducing a new beer with a bright new taste.

      Even a sound all its own.  

—Busch Beer[17]

The message is attached with a picture in which there is a bottle of “Busch” beer, and the full-bodied beer is spurting from the bottle. The onomatopoeia “Buschhhhhhhhh” not only vividly portrays the sound of the spurting beer, but also appropriately makes use of the brand name.

(3) What goes…(PING, TICK, THUMP, WHINE, SQUEAL) and could be costing you big bills?

—Car Care Council

In this advertisement, ping, tick, thump, whine and squeal are all the sounds made by a car with problems. They are excellent words that communicate quickly to a broad audience.

(4) Finally, Cats have a chance to eat their words.

—MEOW MIX Cat Food

Meow is the crying sound that a cat makes. By using the onomatopoeia in the brand name of a cat food, it becomes unforgettable.

[18] Alliteration was once an essential element of the metrical scheme in old English poetry. However, after the 15th century, it began to be widely used in news reports, advertisements, tongue twisters, jingles and patters.

In advertising arena, one of the most successful uses of alliteration might be “Intel Inside” for the microprocessor of American Microsoft Company. From this advertisement, we can see that this figure of speech is rhymed in sound for the purpose of musical effect as well as emphasis.

The following are more examples of alliteration:

(1) Hi-Fi, Hi-Fun, Hi-Fashion, only from Sony. Dynamic stereo sound sings full and clear from these tiny, comfortable Fontopis.

—Sony Sonic System

In this advertisement, three “Hi”s and four “F”s (Fi, Fun, Fashion, Fontopis) form alliteration. Hi-Fi is the abbreviation of “high fidelity”, which has gained acceptance in public. Hi-Fun and Hi-Fashion are coined by analogy, meaning “the greatest fun” and “the leading fashion” respectively. Both coinages are easy to understand and memorize and, the most important of all, both are very condensed and vivid in terms of verbal description. 

(2) Soft and silky smooth, with a delicate fragrance and a light-refreshing feel.           

  —Nulon Hand Cream

In order to publicize Nulon hand cream, this advertisement employs the soft consonant /s/ to help consumers imagine the radiant, fine-textured skin. Reading it, consumers are likely to be immersed in the dream for such gentle cream.

(3) Go from flat to fluffy.

—Prell Concentrate Shampoo

In this advertisement, the initial sound /f/ in “from”, “flat” and “fluffy” forms alliteration. Besides, “Flat to Fluffy” goes from an abrupt spitting sound to a soft-sounding word of lyric quality. When hair gets dirty it usually goes flat on the scalp. The Prell shampoo can not only get rid of dirt but also add fullness to hair (Fluffy). The phonetic symbolism reinforces the copy objectives of going from bad to good.

[19]

This advertisement for Pepsi-Cola drink adopts the structure of Ballad Stanza and is written according to the tune of a British folksong. “Spot” in the first line rhymes with “lot” in the second line, while “too /tu:/” in the third line rhymes with “you /ju:/” in the last line. This is the typical rhyme scheme of aabb. With its rhyming feet and musical sound, this advertisement is no doubt easily accepted and memorized by the public.

(3) All Yummy, no tummy.

      Sugar Free Fudgsicle Brand Fudge Pops, Sugar Free Popsicle Brand Ice Pops, and Sugar Free Creamsicle Brand Cream Pops. Half the calories, all of the fun!

Appropriate employment of rhyme can achieve the effect of connotation and humor, which is verified by the above advertisement promoting a type of sugar-free Popsicle and telling consumers that such Popsicle is not only delicious, but also can relieve the worry of putting on weight. Therefore, this advertisement is witty, funny and easy to understand.

Furthermore, rhyme is often used together with alliteration in English advertising. The adoption of the two rhetorical devices makes advertisements more powerful and appealing.

(4) Think Ink!

      Make it clear. Make it Canon.

—Canon Ink

(5) My goodness! My Guinness! 

 —Guinness Drink

[20] By using metaphors, copywriters usually associate their products with something that is universally regarded as positive. In short, the use of metaphor is to make the presentation of the advertising more striking and effective.

(1) EBEL the architects of time

EBEL is a brand watch from Switzerland. As we all know, a famous saying goes like this, “Time is money”. And EBEL is described as “the architects of time”. The value and the quality of the watch are fully implied in just the few words of a metaphor. No other words are needed.

 (2) (Sung): This little girl knows lots of tricks

            She knows that sugar and sunshine mix.

            And the milk and now you know

            How little girls eat sunshine.

      (Spoken): Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. That is how you can eat sunshine everyday. Don’t let little things distract you when you’re eating Corn Flakes.

    Sunshine is usually associated with warmth, comfort and happiness. When you eat Kellogg’s corn flakes every day, it seems that you could enjoy all the wonderful sensations sunshine brings you. As we know, children need adequate sunshine for healthy growth. The comparison of Kellogg’s corn flakes to sunshine embodies such an implication that the advertised product may also help children grow up healthily. In this way, children may receive both emotional and physical benefits by eating Kellogg’s corn flakes. Once understood, this advertising message can surely render the advertised product particularly appealing to children and their parents.

[21] A simile should consist of three parts, namely:

1) the tenor or the subject (the thing described);

2) the vehicle or the reference (the thing to be compared to);

3) the comparative word or the indicator of resemblance (such as “as”, “like”).

Similes are more precise, more restricted and usually less radical, less committed than metaphors, since they limit the resemblance of the “object” and its “image” to a single property (e.g. cool as a cucumber). The employment of simile in advertisements can help consumers to get familiar with the products advertised in a more specific way.

(1) Featherwater: light as a feather.

This advertisement describes most incisively the lightness of the Featherwater spectacles by the use of a simile. Almost everyone who is shortsighted once suffered a great deal from the heavy spectacle lens, so all can imagine the happiness brought about by spectacles light as a feather.

(2) It gives my hair super shine, super body, and leaves it smelling fresh as a meadow.

This advertisement effectively demonstrates the high quality and outstanding virtue of some shampoo. With originality, the copywriter introduces the vehicle or the reference of “meadow” to make consumers imagine the scene that the hair is gentle, smooth and brilliant, emitting a delicate fragrance, just like the green meadow in spring. Therefore, this advertisement does publicize the product and persuade consumers to make a purchase.

[22] For instance, Downing Street, the Pentagon and Hollywood stand for British government, American Department of Defense and American film industry respectively. Hence, metonymy can achieve the effect of brevity, vividness and connotation.

Advertising has used metonymy effectively. Two airlines have successfully used their stewardess as metonymic symbols for the whole company.

(1) Singapore girls—you’re a great way to fly.

—Singapore Airlines

(2) I’m Mandy—fly me.

—British Airways

Another typical example of metonymy employed in advertising is the advertisement for Toshiba computer.

(3) Pick an Ace from Toshiba.

As is known, ace is the No. l in card games and everyone hopes to get ace that has the highest value when playing cards. Here ace is used to mean a Toshiba computer of the best quality. With only five words, the metonymy speaks all to gain the consumers’ favor for the product advertised.

(4) The most sensational place to wear satin on your lips.[23]

Satin is a type of very fine, smooth and shiny cloth mainly made of silk. It is not difficult for consumers to associate satin with the lipstick. Applying this lipstick, lips look like wearing soft and shining silk. Ladies can hardly resist such temptation.

(5) Wash the big city out of hair.

This is an advertisement for some shampoo. At first glance, no readers will not be surprised. Could a big city hide in the hair? It is the metonymy that plays an important part in this extraordinary-looking advertisement. Naturally, “the big city” means “the dirt of the hair”. Therefore, the use of a metonymy avoids the embarrassment of plainly mentioning “the dirt of the hair” and shows its elegant style, evoking a good feeling in its readers.

[24]

(1) Have a nice trip. Buy-buy.

—A banner outside a duty-free shop at London Airport

On one hand, buy-buy is a homophone of “bye-bye”, which signals farewell to the travelers. On the other hand, the literal meaning of “buy-buy” here is to invite the travelers to buy something from the shop. In this way, the advertisement becomes funny and attractive. Consumers may be pulled to make some purchase.

(2) Make your every hello a real good-buy.

                 —NEAX-12 Electronic PBX/NEC Telephone

    “Hello” and “good-bye” are the usual way of opening and closing in telephone discourses. “Good-buy” and “good-bye” are homophones, meaning that the telephone is worth buying.

(3) Everybody kneads (needs) it.[25]

This is an advertisement for Pillsbury Flour Company. Here, “kneads” and “needs” form the homophonic pun, going some way to overcoming consumers’ distrust of the product and arousing their interest.

(4) Trust us. Over 5000 ears of experience.[26]

This is an advertisement for some hearing aid. Literally, it refers to the wide recognition of the product by the users. Rhetorically, “ears” and “years” are homophones, meaning the product is of a long history and high quality. In this way, the advertisement adds more power in persuading consumers to buy this product.

5.2.4.2 Homographic Pun

Homographic pun refers to the use of words with same spelling but different meaning, origin or pronunciation.

(1) Seven-up... The uncola. The un and only.

—7-up Drink

    In this advertisement, pun lies in “un”. On one hand, “un” is a negative prefix in English. “Uncola” is coined to strike the reader as “being totally different from traditional cola”. On the other hand, “un”, a French word, is close to English word “one” in meaning. So “The un and only” here equals to English idiom “the one and only”, emphasizing the superiority of this drink.

(2) Spoil yourself and not your figure.

—Weight-Watcher Ice Cream[27]

    This advertisement for the Weight-Watcher ice cream successfully employs pun to advertise the product in a decent way. The pun lies in the word “spoil”. “Spoil oneself” means “enjoy oneself to one’s heart’s content”, while “spoil one’s figure” indicates “destroy the shape of one’s body”. Through this witty and amusing pun, this advertisement is more likely to relieve the worries of those who try to slim, only to push them to eat to their heart’s content.

(3) The label of achievement.

      Black Label commands more respect.

                             —Black Label Whisky

The word “label” means “sign” or “symbol” in the first occurrence and is part of the brand name of the promoted whisky in the second occurrence. Two occurrences of the same word enforce the brand name and also help satisfy the vanity of people who drink Black Label whisky, because when they sip such whisky, it is implied that they have made achievements in their life and other people will respect them.

(4) I’m More satisfied.

                            —More Cigarettes

Here, the word “More” is not only the brand name of the promoted cigarette but also indicates the comparative of “satisfied”. This helps communicate an advertising message that you can get more satisfaction by smoking More cigarettes.

(5) Mind your own business. Move it to Milton Keynes.

The expression “mind your own business” usually means “do not concern yourself with other people’s affairs”. But this explanation obviously doesn’t fit in the context here, so the reader would think of the other interpretation of “mind” and “business”. “Mind” can mean “look after” and “business” can mean “firm” or “company”. The additional text written below provides further clues-- Curious to find out why so many top British companies are moving to Milton Keynes? Therefore, this statement can be interpreted as, “You can improve your company’s prospects by moving it to Milton Keynes”.

(6) Less bread, No jam.[28]

At the mere sight of the statement, the audience may take it as an advertisement for foodstuffs, but it turns out to be an advertisement for London Transport. “Bread” here is slang for “money” as in the phrase “bread-winner” (the member of a family who earns the money to support the others), while “jam” means “traffic jam”. So what the advertisement tells is “Less money. No traffic jam”, or more specifically, “Traveling by London Transport will cost you less than by car, and you will not suffer traffic jams”.

 

[29]

This is a promotion advertisement by the American MATEX Company for its car rust inhibitor. As is shown in this advertisement, the lifeless rust inhibitor is invested with the characteristics of humanity and given a name “Rusty Jones”. Thus, the originally dry and dull advertisement sounds much more humorous, bridging the gap between consumers and the lifeless product.

(4) We are proud of the birthplaces of our children, the grapes of Almaden. On our classic varietal wines, you will find the birth dates of our children.

—Almaden Wine[30]

Almaden wine is compared to the children brought up in tender care and love by grapevine planters and workers of the winery. In this way, the children’s birthdays fall upon the winemaking date and the producing places become the children’s hometowns. It seems that only through drinking the advertised wine can consumers dispel the nostalgia or melancholy aroused by this advertisement.

[31] In advertising, irony is used to stress the unique features of the products advertised from another unusual aspect, which is distinct from the common way of praising, thus holding readers’ attention and deepening their impression.

Here is a good example of irony. The American Cancer Society succeeds in its advertisement to persuade people to quit smoking by using irony.

(1) If people keep telling you to quit smoking cigarettes, don’t listen...they’re probably trying to trick you into living.

Each year, there are countless smokers who die from lung cancer or other diseases resulting from smoking. American Cancer Society created this advertisement for the purpose of persuading people to get rid of such suicidal habit. Instead of delivering a sermon in a positive way, this advertisement literally expresses the idea opposite of what is really meant, setting readers roaring with laughter at first sight and pondering over the meaning on second thoughts. In particular, the word “trick” vividly reproduces the real intention of the copywriters.

(2) …In spite of all this, we’re inclined to admit that there’s just one thing in the office that won’t be made any easier by installing a Macintosh. You might find yourself lining up to use it.

This is the second half of an advertisement for Macintosh, computer produced by the Apple Company. In the first half, the copywriters list many advantages of the computer, while after that the only “defect” of the product is pointed out: you have to line up to use it. Here the advertisers employ irony to show how popular the computer is.

[32] Parody is widely used in advertising headlines and slogans by imitating idioms, proverbs, sayings, songs and so on. The employment of parody in advertisements brings readers a sense of familiarity as well as originality. It is an artistic way to create effective and impressive advertising headlines and slogans.

The following slogan about Mars Candy Bar is a fine example typifying the employment of parody in advertising English:

(1) A Mars a day keeps you work, rest and play.

The structure of this sentence and its end rhyme may easily remind English native-speakers and learners of the proverb “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, while the words “work” and “play” may also elicit the association of another familiar proverb “All work no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Thus, this slogan not only imitates two commonly known proverbs in form but also is invested with associative meanings. The employment of such a parody helps convey vividly to audience the message that eating a Mars a day will make you clever (“not become a dull boy”) and healthy (“keeps the doctor away”).

The following slogan of Goldenlay Eggs also shows copywriters’ originality.

(2) Lose ounces

      Save pounds[33]

The parallel structure and the choice of words may remind the audience of several idioms about “penny” and “pound”, such as “penny wise, pound foolish” or “save pennies, lose pounds”, which is similar to the advertising slogan in form. The following sentence offers a further illustration: “you can save money and remain healthy when you slim with the help of Goldenlay natural fresh eggs”. Such an advertising message is communicated to consumers that Goldenlay eggs are not only inexpensive but also help reduce weight and keep slim. Interpretation of this parody needs extra processing effort. However, once it is understood, the advantages of Goldenlay eggs together with the appeal of the advertising language will be engraved in the audience’s mind.

(3) The prose without the con.

(4) We take no pride in prejudice.

—The Times

The above two are advertisements for The Times. Example (3) is formed obviously according to the idiom “the pros and cons”, which means “various points or arguments in favor of and against something”. The copywriter also makes use of the similarity of pronunciation between “prose” and “pros” which is a typical pun. Moreover, as slang, the word “con” also means “instance of cheating someone”, which is also a pun. This sentence is a wonderful combination of two rhetorical devices: parody and pun. It can be interpreted as “The Times always publishes articles, which are favored by readers and claims genuineness and truthfulness”. Example (4) can easily remind readers of the title of Jane Austin’s masterpiece Pride and Prejudice. And here the parody helps The Times boast of its impartiality. These two sentences convey the notion that if you want to read objective, truthful and impartial news reports, you shall read The Times.

(5) Ugly is only skin-deep.

—Volkswagen Automobile

In this advertisement, the copywriters imitate an English proverb—“Beauty is only skin deep” by substituting “ugly” for “beauty”. Its underlined meaning is to highlight Volkswagen’s unique performance and capacity despite its outer appearance. In this way the readers’ attention is attracted.

From the above analyses, we can see parody usually involves association of popular idioms, proverbs or literary sentences, which help attract and retain the audience’s attention to the advertisements and the promoted products. Besides, advertisements with parody also leave the audience with a feeling of familiarity and congeniality. As a result, a lasting and favorable image of the promoted product will be built up.

[34]

If the advertisement was originally created like this “if you could not afford it before, then now you can buy it...”, it might injure consumers’ self-respect. Luckily the advertising copywriters adopt “a bit beyond your budget” to soften the mood.

Copywriters employ euphemism in their writing to make less harsh, less offensive and less unpleasant the advertising language of products related to various problems people may encounter. Besides, euphemism greatly enriches the advertising vocabulary and in turn contributes to the favorable image of the advertised product.

[35] Repetition is frequently employed in advertising English. The recurrence of a linguistic unit in an advertisement may help attract consumers’ attention. Furthermore the repetition serves reinforcement to the initial impression the audience get when coming across an advertisement. As a result, the audience will possibly remember the promoted product for quite a long period of time.

The following is an advertisement for Ocean Brand sheets:

(1) Softly…softly…softly you move to the crib to make certain that all is well with the most precious thing in your life, the most wonderful baby in the world. Softly too, the smooth Ocean Brand sheets welcome you when you return to your own bed. And softly these Ocean Brand sheets meet your budget requirements. For these are the famous Ocean Combed Percale’s latest products of Ocean Brand craftsmanship.[36]

Here in order to emphasize the softness of Ocean Brand sheets, the word “softly” appears five times and brand name “Ocean Brand” three times. Such repetition impresses on consumers the high quality, fine texture, and favorable price of the promoted sheets. Consumers will thus be convinced that they can get much comfort and have a good rest by sleeping on Ocean Brand sheets. In this way, the repetition of “softly” and “Ocean Brand” helps secure the audience’s attention and makes them feel congenial towards the promoted sheets.

Another advertisement typifying repetition in advertising English is the following advertisement about electric tools for carpenters:

(2) Only Carvers can do a job like this.

      Because only Carvers have the new Supa-Drive Electric Power-Pack.

      Ordinary power tools have ordinary motors. But Carvers have a power pack.

      And it’s power that packs a punch.

      See how they can saw. Power saw. And drill. Power drill.

      And sand. Power sand.

      Carvers Power-Pack power tools lend more power to your elbow.

      Carvers. See them now. At your local Power Pack stockist.

In this advertisement of 70 words, only about 25 words appear just once and all the rest appear at least twice. The copywriter makes the word “power” appear eleven times and the brand name “Carvers” five times in order to communicate forcefully the message that Carvers electric tools are extremely powerful and may make carpenters work with convenience and efficiency. In the sentence “Ordinary power tools have ordinary motors,” the word “ordinary” is repeated, providing a striking contrast between the high efficiency of Carvers power tools and the mediocrity of rival power tools. And in the fifth paragraph, not only individual words, but also the clause structure are repeated, which forms repetition on syntactic level. All these repetitions contribute to the impression on consumers that Carvers power tools are more powerful, more efficient and more convenient.

(3) Are you ready for e-business?

  Your customers are ready for e-business.

  Your employees are ready for e-business.

  Your suppliers are ready for e-business.

Your competitors are ready for e-business.

IBM is ready for e-business (wherever you are.)

—IBM service

This advertisement, by means of repetition of the phrase “ready for e-business”, is intended to awaken customers to the idea that they are living in an information era in which even the ways of doing business have become electronic, and it is IBM that can provide such swift and convenient service. In this way, the advertisement has successfully won consumers’ interest and trust and, therefore, fulfilled its persuasion effect.

(4) If it’s green, we reject it.

If it’s too ripe, we reject it.

If it’s bruised, we reject it.

If it’s diseased, we reject it.

If it’s dirty, we reject it.

If it’s just right, we squash it.

The tomato ketchup in a McDonald’s Hamburger.[37]

Obviously, the advertisement emphasizes that the tomato used in a McDonald’s hamburger is of high quality, and the unqualified ketchup is doomed to be discarded. Thus, consumers can rest assured about McDonald’s sanitary and nutritious fast food.

[38]

The three sentences are parallel in structure and similar in meaning, demonstrating Time’s heroic spirit of daring to report facts and disclose backstage news. The equal importance of all the three factors has been emphasized, and the ideas have been expressed neatly.

(3) Fold them, and you can take them anywhere.

Unfold them, and they can take you anywhere.

This advertisement for a type of telescope conveys the information of the telescope’s characteristics of convenience and function in two parallel sentences in a funny way.

(4)

I WANT THE BODY OF A GREEK GOD.

I want to work out in a huge fitness center.

I want to stay in the heart of the Central Business District.

I want a room with a view of three countries.

EVERYTHING I WANT IS AT THE WORLD’S TALLEST HOTEL.

THE WESTIN STAMFORD &WESTIN PLAZA

Singapore

The above advertisement for Westin Hotel also gives full play to parallelism. Including that one in the headline, four “I want” sentences are lined and a strong desire for travelers to stay in the hotel is expressed. The three “I want” sentences in the body copy especially emphasize the advantages to stay in the Westin Hotel and therefore make the advertisement more effective.

The rhetorical effects of parallelism are obvious and similar to those of repetition noted in the above section. The repetition of items or structures makes the advertisements more eye-catching, and thus the audience’s attention can be attracted and retained much longer. A favorable image of the promoted product may also be built up because such repetition usually emphasizes the merits of the product. Furthermore, the employment of parallelism invests the text with compactness and verse-line-like rhythm, which brings the audience much aesthetic pleasure. As a result, the audience’s heart is instilled with congeniality towards the advertised product.

[39], so a good advertisement must have selling power, memory value, attention value and readability. Naturally, its language should be persuasive and have the sense of “urging”. To achieve this, copywriters usually adopt three approaches: i.e. lexical, syntactic and rhetorical approaches.

By lexical approach, copywriters use monosyllabic, laudatory and comparative adjectives, monosyllabic and forceful verbs, refined nouns, the second personal pronouns, compounds and intentional misspellings. The appropriate use of these lexical devices makes advertisements vivid, personal, friendly and persuasive.

Syntactic approach may include such devices as imperatives, interrogatives and minor clauses. Tactful choice of the syntactic means helps advertisers arouse the potential consumers’ interest or desire to purchase.

Rhetorical approach, which contains phonetic, lexical and syntactical devices, is another method copywriters generally resort to. The effective use of rhetoric adds force and beauty to the advertising language.

The three approaches combine to contribute to the implementation of the so-called KISS rule, which in turn makes advertisements almost irresistibly tempting and persuasive, thus helping businesses attain the goal of publicizing: selling products or increasing sales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Torben Vestergaard and Kim Schroder, The Language of Advertising (New York: Basil Blackwell Inc., 1985), p. 4.

[2] William M. Weilbacher, Advertising (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1979), p. 1.

[3] William H. Bolen, Advertising (New York: John Wiley&Sons, 1981), p. 1.

[4] Frank Jefkins, Advertising (Plymouth: Macdonald and Evans Ltd., 1985), p. 3.

[5] Courtland L. Bovée and William F. Arens, Contemporary Advertising 5th Ed (Boston: Irwin, 1994), p. 6.

[6] Thomas C. O’Guinn et al, Advertising (Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing, 1998), P. 6.

[7] William Wells et al, Advertising: Principles and Practice (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989), P. 9.

[8] William Wells et al, Advertising: Principles and Practice (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995), P. 14.

[9] William Wells et al, Advertising: Principles and Practice (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989), P. 11.

[10] 郭可:“英语新闻与广告写作”,《上海外国语学院学报》1992年第2期,第57-63页。

[11] 孙晓丽:《广告英语与实例》,中国广播电视出版社1995年版,第61页。

[12] 石裕晶,陈寅涛:《汉英、英汉广告写作词典》,复旦大学出版社2000年版,第647页。

[13] Walter D. Scott, The Psychology of Advertising (Bristol: Thomas Press, 2000), p. 49.

[14] Ibid., p. 51.

[15] 孙晓丽:《广告英语与实例》,中国广播电视出版社1995年版,第68页。

[16] 陈淑华:《英语修辞与翻译》,北京邮电学院出版社1990年版,第96页。

[17] 谢文怡,刘云腾:《广告英语》,上海交通大学出版社1997年版,第156页。

[18] Hugh C. Holman, A Handbook to Literature (New York: The Odyssey Press, 1972), p. 13.

[19] 崔薇:“商业广告的特点及其翻译技巧”,《邵阳学院学报》(社会科学)2002 年第4期,第87页。

[20] Walter D. Scott, The Psychology of Advertising (Bristol: Thomas Press, 2000), p. 113.

[21] Hugh C. Holman, A Handbook to Literature (New York: The Odyssey Press, 1972), p. 498.

[22] 李鑫华:《英语修辞格详论》,上海外语教育出版社2000年版,第77页。

[23] 那茗,于晓华:“浅谈商务英语广告的语言特征”,《长春工程学院学报》(社会科学版)2003年第4期,第31页。

[24] 王玉龙:《英语修辞与写作》,青岛出版社1996年版,第83页。

[25] 项成东:“广告英语中的复义及其修辞功能”,《英语辅导》1996年第6期,第26页。

[26] 徐小梅:“双关在英语广告中的运用”,《兰州铁道学院学报》(社会科学版)2003年第5期,第114页。

[27] 李晓燕:“广告语言中的修辞格”,《重庆工学院学报》2002年第5期,第110页。

[28] 许金杞:“英语广告中常见的语义修辞格”,《金陵职业大学学报》2002年第4期,第39页。

[29] 郭南珍:“修辞手法在英语广告中的运用”,《广东商学院学报》2001年第3期,第94页。

[30] 王春梅:“广告英语的修辞手段”,《嘉应大学学报》1996年第4期,第71页。

[31] 王玉龙:《英语修辞与写作》,青岛出版社1996年版,第85页。

[32] Ibid., 100.

[33] 候维瑞:《英语语体》,上海外语教育出版社1988年版,第245页。

[34] 谢文怡,刘云腾:《广告英语》,上海交通大学出版社1997年版,第147页。

[35] William Wells et al, Advertising: Principles and Practice (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995), P. 282.

[36] 陈悟清:“浅析广告英语的修辞艺术”,《河南大学学报》1997年第11期,第87页。

[37] 潘红:“英语广告的修辞艺术”,《外语研究》1995年第3期,第47页。

[38] 朱盛娥,彭芒:“谈广告英语修辞艺术美”,《娄底师专学报》1999年第1期,第88页。

[39] David Crystal and Derek Davy. Investing English Style. (London: Longman, 1969), P. 222.

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