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Martin Pinker (2013)

Rhetorical Devices Rhetorical devices serve as a tool to give beauty, variety and power to the language in which we intend to state. They are highly valued in thedevelopment of contemporary English advertising. To achieve vividness and humor and to appeal to more readers, various rhetorical devices are employed in advertising. Some of the most commonly used rhetorical devices are discussed in the following. 5.1 Simile & Metaphor Smile and metaphor are used in advertisements to illustrate the characteristics of the advertisedproducts or services. A simile is a figure of speech which makes a comparisonbetween two unlike elements having at least one quality or characteristic in common. A metaphor, like a simile, also makes a comparison between two unlike elements, but unlike a simile, this comparison is implied rather than stated. A metaphor is in a sense a condensed simile, differing from the latter only in form and artistry. It is a higher form and requires greater ability on the part of the reader to perceivethe hidden

association, the insight into persons, things or ideas that is implied(冯翠华,1997:158-

167). Clearly, with the use of simile and metaphor, two irrelevantmatters can be bridged and observed. Let‟s see an example of simile:

No wonder people say our service is legendary. …Smooth as silk.(You’d better

cite complete sentences!!!)(Thai Airway International) Silk is known for its quality of smoothness. Here the advertiseruses simile, which is usuallyintroduced by “like”or “as,”to associate its excellent services provided for the passengers and thus help create an impressive vivid image in the mind of the passengers. Another example:

Breakfast without orange juice is likea day without sunshine.(Orangejuice) Here, the writer compares this brand of orange juice to sunshine, which provides people with comfort and warmth. Drinking theorange juice will give you the pleasant feelingof have sunshine???,which gives the readers very fresh and warm feeling. Thus, it realizes its function of persuasion. Now two examples of metaphor:

Clean skin from head to toe. Neutrogena Body Clear body wash treats, even prevents body breakouts. (Cosmo Girl, Oct. /Nov., 1999:8) (This sentence does not involve any use of metaphor!!!) It's a country richin art, with a wealth of museums. Blessed by year round good weather,

Spain is a magnetforsunworshippersandholidaymakers.Spain Traveling Advertisement

The first one implies that this kind of body wash can help clean your skin completely.???? The second one likens Spain to a magnet which strongly attracts the travelers there. From these examples, we can find that with these figures of speech, the readers can get very wonderful imagination??? when reading these advertisements. Besides, through the abundant application of figures of speech in the advertising, the creativeness and imagination of the advertisers can be revealed. Simile and metaphor have been the shortcut to arrest the readers‟ attention. Also this is another example of metaphor

-Connecting People

(Nokia Corporation Slogan)


By definition, personification is a figure of speech that gives human form or feelings to animals, or life and personal attributes to inanimate objects, or to ideas and abstractions (

冯翠华, 1997:177). The effectiveness of personification in English advertisement lies in

its potency of giving products with emotion and liveliness. Most people agree that the personified products can foster more trust and affection in potential customers and therefore arouse more desire for the purchase. The following are some examples. It may be your car, but it‟s still our baby. (Ford Quality-Care) Flowers by Interflora speak from the heart. (Interflora flower shop) Thirty colors. Some so spectacular they send messages.(Ad. of dye) Unlike me, my Rolex never needs a rest. (Rolex) In these advertisements, the products are treated as human beings. The first oneis specifically treated as a baby, since babies are always deeply loved and kindly treated by their parents and others. From the advertising slogan we can easily know that Ford Quality-Care workers love and care for Ford cars as much as they do their own children. The other three advertisements touch upon emotions of love, care and happiness. Flowers from Interflora are no longer emotionless plants but truthful messengers. The advertised dye can send messagesthrough its thirty colors. The Rolex‟s excellent quality is quite evident as it doesn‟t need rest. They have good access to the would-be buyers. The advertisement composers succeed in establishing the affinity between customers and the advertised products with appropriateapplication of personification. 5.3 Pun Advertisersusually play with words to make the advertising language interesting and attractive. Punis an amusing use of a word or phrase that has two meanings

which is called Polysemy or of words with the same sound but different meanings, which

is called Homonymy. We often use puns to make jokes. Although pun is implicit, it gives

the readers much food for thinking. For example:

To write with a broken pencil is pointless. (Polysemy)

Pointless means dull and blunt here. It also means meaningless. The meaning of this sentence is that a pencil without a sharp end can„t write well and meaningfully.

A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired (too tired). (Homonymy)

The one who invented the doorknocker got a No-bell (Nobel) prize. Pun, the game of words, is used widely in our life. It will leave a deep impression on readers by its readability, wit, and humor. However, to make a successful and impressive pun is not easy. Except for its own meaning, the word used as a pun is usually closely related to the characteristics of a certain product or the brand name of the product in advertising language. Such coincidence doesn„t occur often. Here we present several classic pun-used advertisements. For example:

Coke refreshes you like no other can. (Coke-cola) ―Can‖ has two meanings. One is to be able to do something. The other is a closed metal container in which foods or drinks are preserved, called tin also. The two different meanings of ―can‖ give rise to two different interpretations of this advertisement: Coke refreshes you like no other drinks can do; Coke refreshes you like no other can-packed drinks can do. Here is another example:

Give your hair a touch of spring. (a kind of Shampoo) As a pun, ―spring‖ means a place where water comes up naturally from the ground and it also means elasticity. This advertising slogan wants to promise the consumers that the product can keep your hair moist and your hair will have an active healthy quality through use of this kind of Shampoo. There are more examples:

Ask for More (More is a brand of cigarette)

A deal with us means a good deal to you. (a department store)

Filled with wit and humor, puns help the advertised product win favor from readers or potential consumers. Through use of pun, advertisements will be easily remembered

by the readers. (More sentences are needed here!!!) 5.4 Hyperbole LONGMAN Dictionary of ContemporaryEnglish (1998751)defines hyperboleas“[c;u]

an example ofa way of describing something in order to make it sound bigger,

smaller, better, worse, etc, than it really is.”In advertising, the use of exaggerated statements puts emphasis on the particular features of the products or services, or sometimes achieves humorous effect. For instance:

Coverage so invisible,

It‟s time to rewrite history. (Ad. of cosmetic) In this advertisement, the advertiseruses “rewrite history”, which exaggerates the quality

of the product which can give users the incrediblebeauty.

Another example:

Samsung presents “World best”. (Samsung) Here, the advertisement composer uses the hyperbole to claimthat their product is the best

in the world. It shows the confidence and heroic spirit of this brand of product. Thus, it

gives the readers a very profound impression.

Of course, hyperbole should be appropriatelyused in advertising, otherwise it will arouse the readers‟doubt about the products or services and make the advertisement a total failure.

Another example

Red Bull gives you wings.

(Red Bull Company)