Looking for the link between pictorial metaphor and argument from analogy in advertising by Chiara Pollaroli

Adventures in Multimodality (AIM) research meeting 16 May 2014

Chiara Pollaroli

University of Lugano (Switzerland).

Looking for the link between pictorial metaphor and argument from analogy in advertising

Many studies have shown that advertising makes extensive use of metaphors represented through pictorial means. These studies are mainly concerned with the recognition of the target and source domains of a pictorial metaphor, the verbalization of it, and the discovery of the relevant traits that are mapped from the domains to create the novel metaphorical structure. In other words, they focus on what a pictorial metaphor is. In this presentation, I will start from these studies to look at what pictorial metaphors do in advertising. Thanks to well-recognizable contextual cues, we are able to understand what the purpose of an advertisement is (e.g., ‘to sell a product’) and we assume that verbal and pictorial elements employed in the advertising discourse play a role in the achievement of the purpose. From an argumentative perspective, advertising discourses put forth arguments to support a standpoint (e.g., ‘You should buy this product’) and they do so exploiting all the semiotic modes available. My questions are: what is the function of pictorial metaphors employed in advertising? What do pictorial metaphors do in relation to the arguments put forth in advertising? May it be the case that pictorial metaphors condense arguments from analogy?

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