- Making ads less complex, yet more creative and persuasive: The effect of conventional metaphors and irony in print advertising
- International Journal of Advertising
- Volume | Issue number
- 34 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
Rhetorical tropes like metaphors and irony are widely used in print advertising. Current advertising literature assumes that these different tropes (metaphor, irony) are persuasive when they are sufficiently novel and complex to increase advertising elaboration. However, we propose that, in some cases, tropes can also be persuasive when they present conventional and concrete images of abstract product qualities. To test if conventionality can explain the persuasiveness of various tropes (metaphor, irony), we conducted a 2 (conventional metaphor vs. no metaphor) × 2 (conventional irony vs. no irony) multiple-message experiment. Results demonstrate that conventional metaphors are persuasive by reducing complexity and increasing creativity and ad appreciation. Conventional irony, in contrast, has little effect on persuasiveness. Thus, differentiating between various tropes (metaphor, irony) is important in predicting persuasion effects: advertisers should refrain from using conventional irony, but including conventional metaphors about abstract product qualities in print advertising is advisable.
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