“Pictorial and multimodal metaphor in commercials.” In: Edward F. McQuarrie & Barbara J. Phillips (eds), Go Figure! New Directions in Advertising Rhetoric, 272-310. Armonk NY: ME Sharpe.
Abstract: Deploying metaphor is an attractive and efficient way for advertisers to make positive claims for their products, brands, or services. For a long time, metaphor studies focused almost exclusively on language, but over the past fifteen years, the concept of pictorial (or visual) metaphor has been fairly well developed, particularly in the realm of print advertising and billboards. Metaphors, however, also occur in commercials. Their occurrence in moving images is more complex than in static ones, both because the two parts of a metaphor (“target” and “source”) need not occur simultaneously and because music and sound may here also play a role in the identification and interpretation of metaphor. These factors necessitate a theoretical shift from pictorial to multimodal metaphor. This paper discusses nine case studies of commercials containing pictorial and multimodal metaphors with the aim to define, and speculate about the effects of, the various parameters that play a role in the way they can occur. The last section discusses how the effect of these parameters can be tested in empirical research.