A metaphor study of the disease awareness ads

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Conceptual Metaphor Theory emphasizes the cognitive basis of metaphor which significantly expands the traditional interpretation of metaphor being mere literary decoration. As Lakoff and Johnson (1980) point out, metaphor is a ubiquitous phenomenon which is grounded in our thought, and enables us to reduce abstraction to comprehend and experience concepts better. It possesses different communicative functions such as filling lexical gaps, explanation and modeling, reconceptualization, argument by analogy, decoration and hyperbole, and enhancing informativeness, as well as expressing emotional attitudes (Goatly, 1997).
In recent years, applied linguists have started to investigate the socio-cultural factors behind metaphor use and emphasize the relationship between discourse and language. Metaphor is an indispensable tool in marketing communication. According to Forceville (2008), the print and billboard advertisements widely deploy hybrid metaphors, contextual metaphors, pictorial simile and integrated metaphor. These metaphors are widely used by advertisers in headlines, texts and visuals to convey persuasive messages and evoke positive feelings for the brands, products or services promoted.
There is a growing interest in metaphor research on advertising of consumer goods including cars, food and beverage as well as perfume. A particular area that has been left out of said research is the study of health awareness advertising campaigns, while they provide a fertile ground for emotional communication and therefore metaphor use. This paper compares the print advertising campaigns of a number of diseases including breast cancer, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and describes how they differ in deploying strategies and types of metaphors to promote health awareness, by adopting the analytical model developed by Forceville (1996).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2016
EventThe First Cultural Linguistics International Conference (CLIC) - Monash Universeity Prato Centre, Prato, Italy
Duration: 20 Jul 201622 Jul 2016
https://iccl2016.weebly.com/ (Conference Website)


ConferenceThe First Cultural Linguistics International Conference (CLIC)
Internet address


  • Metaphor
  • Advertisement
  • Health awareness


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