Figures of Rhetoric in Advertising Language
A rhetorical figure can be defined as an artful deviation in the form taken by a statement. Since antiquity dozens of figures have been cataloged, ranging from the familiar (rhyme, pun) to the obscure (antimetabole). Despite the frequent appearance of rhetorical figures in print advertisements, their incorporation into advertising theory and research has been minimal. This article develops a framework for classifying rhetorical figures that distinguishes between figurative and nonfigurative text, between two types of figures (schemes and tropes), and among four rhetorical operations that underlie individual figures (repetition, reversal, substitution, and destabilization). These differentiations in the framework are supported by preliminary validation data and are linked to suggested consumer responses. The article also considers the theoretical import of the proposed framework for future research on rhetorical structure in advertising. Copyright 1996 by the University of Chicago.
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