Metaphors in Marketing: Review and Implications For Marketers

Kristine Bremer, University of Colorado at Denver
Moonkyu Lee, Yonsei University
ABSTRACT - Metaphors are used extensively in marketing, yet little research exists in the consumer behavior and marketing literature on how consumers react to them. This paper reviews selected research in the psychology and linguistic literature on metaphor comprehension and processing, and suggests several implications for marketers. The paper also discusses future research directions in the area.
[ to cite ]:
Kristine Bremer and Moonkyu Lee (1997) ,"Metaphors in Marketing: Review and Implications For Marketers", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 24, eds. Merrie Brucks and Deborah J. MacInnis, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 419-424.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 24, 1997      Pages 419-424

METAPHORS IN MARKETING: REVIEW AND IMPLICATIONS FOR MARKETERS

Kristine Bremer, University of Colorado at Denver

Moonkyu Lee, Yonsei University

ABSTRACT -

Metaphors are used extensively in marketing, yet little research exists in the consumer behavior and marketing literature on how consumers react to them. This paper reviews selected research in the psychology and linguistic literature on metaphor comprehension and processing, and suggests several implications for marketers. The paper also discusses future research directions in the area.

INTRODUCTION

Marketers use metaphors extensively in their persuasive communications to consumers. These metaphors make implicit or explicit statements or suggestions that a product, service, brand, or company is some unique idea or concept. Marketing metaphors can have linguistic, visual, and/or symbolic components. Some examples include (1) slogans such as "Budweiser, the king of beers," "Chevrolet, the heartbeat of America," and "Pioneer, the art of entertainment," (2) brand names like Safari (a perfume), Tide (a laundry detergent), and Fiesta (a car), and (3) isual or symbolic metaphors such as the image of the young, nude female in the advertisement for Obsession for Men (a cologne).

Marketers use metaphors to achieve many objectives; i.e., to gain consumer attention, evoke imagery, provoke comparisons, suggest similarity between a product and a concept, explain a complex or technical product, or influence consumer beliefs and attitudes. Marketers spend considerable time and money developing metaphors to achieve their marketing objectives. Then it seems likely that marketers would benefit from knowing how consumers process metaphors, how metaphors are stored in memory, whether or not metaphors used in marketing are understood by consumers, when they are more or less effective, or what effects metaphors have on consumer affect or preferences.

Metaphor research in the psychology and linguistic literature is extensive (Bartel 1983; Black 1962; Gildea and Glucksberg 1983; Glucksberg et al. 1982; Johnson and Malgady 1980; Katz 1989; Lakoff and Johnson 1980; McCabe 1983; Ortony et al. 1978; Shinjo and Myers 1987; Sternberg and Nigro 1983; Tourangeau and Sternberg 1983; Trick and Katz 1986; Verbrugge and McCarrell 1977). However, very little research is found in the consumer behavior and marketing literature on the nature of metaphors in marketing (Ward and Gaidis 1990). Therefore, the purpose of this article is to review the relevant literature on metaphor and discuss several implications for marketers who use metaphors.

THE MEANING OF METAPHOR

Metaphor is a form of figurative or nonliteral language. Figurative language expresses one thing in terms normally denoting another with which it may be regarded as analogous. We reason analogically when we make the inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will probably agree in others. Metaphor is linguistically distinguished from simile, which is less bold, asserting a relation of similarity by using a comparative term such as "like" or "as" (e.g., the freeway is like a snake). In metaphor, the comparative term is omitted (e.g., love is a rose).

Aristotle defined metaphor as "the application of an alien name by transference either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or by analogy." The application of an "alien" name means taking a word that usually denotes one thing and using it to describe another that it literally does not denote (Billow 1977). The "thing" can be an object, abstract idea, or feeling.

A metaphor has two parts: topic and vehicle (Richards 1936). The topic, also called the tenor, is the subject of the metaphor, the "general drift" or underlying idea which the metaphor expresses. The vehicle is the basic analogy which is used to embody or carry the tenor. For example, in the advertising slogan, "Budweiser, the king of beers," the brand name Budweiser is the topic, and "the king of beers" is the vehicle, or concept with which the topic is compared. The tenor and vehicle interact, and their "transaction" generates the meaning of the metaphor (Hawkes 1972). The resemblance between the domains of the tenor and vehicle is called the ground, or ground concept. The ground relates the vehicle and topic. Since the ground is usually implicit, the receiver must discern the resemblance on his/her own. In the above example, the product (or brand) and the referent, i.e., Budweiser beer and the king, have no prior intrinsic relationship but are paired together arbitrarily and metaphorically by marketers.

Wheelright (1962) describes two general types of metaphor: ephiphor and diaphor. Ephiphors express a similarity between something well known or concretely known (the vehicle) and something which is less well known or more obscure (the tenor). The use of an ephiphor presupposes a notion that can readily be undestood when indicated by a suitable word or phrase (MacCormac 1985). The success of an ephiphor depends on our ability to recognize features of similarity between the referents. Some ephiphors are so successful that they lose their semantic anomaly and fade into ordinary language, becoming "dead" metaphors. Usage leads to our acceptance, and one (or both) of the referents is given additional new meaning. Diaphors have a suggestive function. Rather than expressing similarities between referents, diaphors suggest new possible meanings by emphasizing the dissimilarities between them. In the example, "toasted Susie is my ice cream," a new meaning is underscored by the distinction between warm ("toasted") and cold ("ice cream"). All metaphors have ephiphoric and diaphoric aspects. Some tend to be more expressive (ephiphoric), others more suggestive (diaphoric), and some equally both.

Many researchers suggest that what is termed "metaphor" is a cognitive operation of analogical reasoning in which new meaning is created (see e.g., Richards 1936; Ortony 1979; MacCormac 1985; Haskell 1987). Allegories, similes, idioms, and proverbs are understood in this same way. Richards (1936), seen by many as one of the most important contributor to our understanding of metaphor, holds that metaphor is the "omnipresent principle" of all language. He asserts that language contains deeply embedded metaphorical structures which influence meaning and meaning creation. For example, language cannot be cleared of metaphor without using a metaphor in the verb, "clear." Metaphor is the way language works (Hawkes 1972). MacCormac (1985) theorizes that metaphor results from the human mind operating hierarchically to juxtapose widely disparate semantic concepts which produce metaphors that can be comprehended. This process identifies similar attributes of the referents of the metaphor to form an analogy and identifies dissimilar attributes to create semantic anomaly, or disanalogy.

For purposes of this paper, metaphor is defined as a method of description, using language or symbols, which likens one thing to another thing or concept by referring to it as if it were the other one. In marketing metaphors, words and/or pictures frequently implicitly or explicitly suggest that a product, service, brand, or company is some other concept. In the previous example, the slogan, "Budweiser, the king of beers," suggests rather explicitly that the Budweiser brand beer is king of, or ruler over, all beers on the market. One of the implications flowing from the metaphor research is that marketers might achieve greater persuasion if they carefully consider what their metaphors express to the target audience. Measures of perceived meaning and similarity of domains of popular marketing metaphors may shed new light on whether or not they communicate effectively to the audience. In addition, selection of type of metaphor used may have an impact on comprehension and effectiveness. For example, the advertising slogan "Revlon, Revolutionary" expresses similarity between the well known brand of cosmetic products and less known term, revolutionary. A perceived similarity between the two may be the shared first three letters, R-E-V. Further, the mere juxtaposition of the two words implies a relation, perhaps that the Revlon brand creates a radical change in the user of the product and does so quickly. Whatever the intended meaning, the success of this metaphor may be defined in terms of the target’s ability to comprehend the meaning quickly and recognize features of similarity between the two referents.

LITERATURE REVIEW

General Findings. Tourangeau and Sternberg (1982) describe three main views of metaphor comprehension: anomaly, comparison (or similarity), and interactionist. The anomaly view emphasizes the dissimilarity of the semantic features of the metaphortopic (subject) and vehicle. In linguistic theory, "selection restrictions" are violated when the vehicle does not fall into the exclusive category ranges determined by the message recipient. This results in sentences being perceived as anomalous, or deviant (Katz 1964), which in turn creates tension. The comparison view contends that the message recipient comprehends a metaphor of the form A is B by finding the set of similarities between A and B. The meaning of the metaphor is the set of similarities between the concepts (Johnson and Malgady 1979). The interactionist view emphasizes both similarity and dissimilarity of the topic and vehicle but denies the simple positive or negative relationship between semantic relatedness and metaphor attributes. This view holds that the process of metaphor comprehension is a more complex process that involves relationships between relatedness, metaphor "goodness" (one that lends itself to a single interpretation), degree of metaphoricity, and ease of interpretation (or comprehensibility). Other views emphasize the importance of perception (Verbrugge and McCarrell 1977), verbal processes (Koen 1965), imaginal processes (Paivio 1971) or perceptual processes analogous to Gestalt principles (Malgady and Johnson 1976).

The domains-interaction approach to metaphor processing, originally proposed by Tourangeau and Sternberg (1982), is viewed by many metaphor theorists as the most complete explanation of how metaphor is comprehended. The process uses the same component processes that analogy processing involves (Trick and Katz 1986), and the steps are proposed to be executed sequentially (Sternberg and Nigro 1983; Tourangeau and Sternberg 1982):

(1) Tenor and vehicle are encoded.

(2) Domains (categories) of the tenor and vehicle are inferred.

(3) Structures to be seen as parallel are inferred.

(4) The correspondence between the structures is mapped between domains of the tenor and vehicle.

(5) The tenor and vehicle of the metaphor are compared and the match is evaluated.

(6) A response is generated.

In the example, "the engine is the life of your car," the tenor ("engine") and the vehicle ("life of your car") are encoded. Then, the relevant domains are found: the "engine" in the domain of mechanically powered objects and "life" in the domain of organic existence. The characteristics or attributes of the tenor and vehicle that are likely to be relevant are chosen next. This process involves restricting the possible characteristics that the tenor and vehicle could share to those that would give a sense of their relative positions within their respective domains. If the characteristics of the tenor (or vehicle) are not known, the message recipient will use dimensions that give a sense of the relative position of the vehicle (or tenor) within its domain (Sternberg 1982). If possible, a potential within-domain factor is found. Next, the relative standing of the vehicle compared to its domain on this factor is "mapped" onto the domain of mechanically powered objects. The relative positions of the "engine" and "life of the car" are compared with respect to the dimension "aggression." If the two domains were superimposed, points for the engine and life would lie very close to each other (would be strongly similar). Lastly, this correspondence between the tenor and vehicle is evaluated, and a response is generated.

Gildea and Glucksberg (1983) show that some types of simple metaphors are understood automatically and that processing is initiated by appropriate linguistic and sematic inputs without our control. The message recipient derives a literal meaning of the metaphor first. If this meaning does not work, that is, makes no sense in the context it is presented in, then s/he proceeds to do the additional work of finding a nonliteral meaning that does work.

Research shows that the similarity and dissimilarity between the topic and vehicle of a metaphor play a fundamental role in their appreciation (Ortony 1979; Tourangeau and Sternberg 1981, 1982). In the metaphor, "the sky is a mirror," "sky" and "mirror" are categorically dissimilar; i.e., sky is in a natural object category and mirror in an artifact category. However, they are perceptually or affectively similar in that they share some features or attributes (e.g., bright, clear, etc.). Kusumi (1987) shows that high categorical dissimilarity of topic to vehicle increases message recipients’ interest in the sentence.

There appears to be general agreement in the metaphor literature that metaphor is both a linguistic construct as well as a cognitive process involving analogic reasoning in which new meaning is created. However, there is general disagreement as to how that meaning is created. The anomaly, comparison and interactionist perspectives on metaphor comprehension suggest that marketers may also, upon further investigation of marketing metaphors, find themselves divided on the issues. Possible emphases may be metaphor structure, perception processes, imagery and/or pictorial interactions with metaphors. Any empirical research conducted by marketers on how consumer process metaphors could contribute to the existing literature in each of the disciplines and help resolve some of the many unanswered questions.

Marketing Implications. The research suggests that marketers studying metaphor have a complicated set of issues to examine including such concepts as comprehensibility, relatedness, and metaphoricity. These concepts need to be examined in light of the information processing paradigm, as well as automaticity, similarity, and other concepts found in the psychology and consumer behavior literature. Further, the information processing approach to metaphor comprehension described above suggests that, to have any impact on marketing metaphor comprehension, the marketer must develop apt metaphors with clear, structured domains (categories) so that the message recipient is led to infer the intended categories early in the comprehension process. Though the research is not conclusive, it also suggests that, to increase consumer interest in marketing metaphors, marketers may want to use those with higher dissimilarity between topic and vehicle.

Comprehensibility and Aptness of Metaphor

Research Findings. Comprehensibility refers to whether or not the receiver understands the intended meaning of the metaphor. A metaphor is thought to be comprehensible if the receiver understands its intended meaning. An apt metaphor is one which is "good, pleasing, and appropriate" (Katz et al. 1985). A metaphor must at least be comprehensible to be apt.

Tourganeau and Sternberg’s (1982) domains-interaction model describes the most apt metaphors as those having a close point-by-point correspondence between the two domains, and suggests that a metaphor’s comprehensibility should increase to the extent that within-domain similarity increases. The model emphasizes two types of correspondence: between-domain and within-domain correspondence. In the former, a metaphor is perceived as more apt, but less comprehensible, to the degree that the tenor and vehicle are from dissimilar categories. In the latter, correspondence is based on the degree to which the beliefs about the tenor are perceived as corresponding to beliefs about the vehicle. For example, Calvin Klein’s cologne is metaphorically named Obsession. Cologne is a distinctively different category than mental states including haunting preoccupation, yet the company has created the name and promoted the product to have attributes similar o an obsession. According to the model, the metaphor’s comprehensibility should increase to the extent that within-domain similarity increases, that is, the degree to which we believe Obsession, a cologne, is like a mental state of preoccupation. If the tenor and vehicle are from similar categories, the metaphor will seem less apt because the comparison is too easy or obvious. Kusumi (1987) found that high affective similarity increases comprehensibility and novelty, and comprehensibility and interest have positive effects on metaphor aptness. Quality (or goodness) and clarity of interaction between tenor and vehicle can increase comprehensibility and aptness (Sternberg and Nigro 1983).

Marketing Implications. The research on comprehensibility and aptness suggests several issues of concern for marketers. First, consumers must understand the intended meaning of the metaphor (frequently the marketing message) in order for comprehension to occur. If the consumer does not understand the meaning, use of the metaphor does not achieve the marketer’s objectives. Second, the perceived degree of correspondence between the domains of the metaphor is dependent on consumer beliefs. This suggests that marketers should examine the target segment’s beliefs about the product and message to determine what metaphors will work better than others. Third, to increase comprehensibility and novelty, marketers should design metaphors that have high perceived similarity between domains. To increase aptness, the metaphor used should be comprehensible and interesting to the target. Another way to increase aptness is to create metaphors that involve strong dissimilarity between referents, e.g., cologne and mental states. Lastly, high quality metaphors, ones that are apt and lend themselves to a single interpretation, may increase comprehensibility and aptness.

Contextual Influence on Metaphor Comprehension

Research Findings. Context has an impact on metaphor comprehension, affecting the message recipient’s understanding of its intended meaning (Harwood and Verbrugge 1977; Tversky 1977). Also, people need contextual information to identify and understand metaphors. Context can facilitate metaphor comprehension by making a specific and relevant concept available and accessible at the time of processing. In the psychology and linguistic literature, context refers to the primes (e.g., words, sentences, or paragraphs) which set the stage for metaphor interpretation, helping the message recipient understand the intended meaning. The context can be minimal, one that provides nothing more than the relevant dimension of an implicit comparison. If a communicator does not provide a context that is minimally informative, the message recipient will not understand the metaphor rapidly (Ortony et al. 1978).

Two contexts are defined in the literature: social and linguistic. The social context refers to the circumstances or facts surrounding the message recipient’s exposure to the metaphor. The linguistic, or semantic, context of the metaphor refers to the language preceding or following the metaphor.

Gildea and Glucksberg (1983) find that both literal and figurative priming contexts facilitate metaphor comprehension. Figurative primes are abstract, metaphorical words or sentences. Literal primes are factual words or sentences holding the primary meaning of the metaphor vehicle. Figurative primes are more likely to facilitate metaphor comprehension than literal primes. This is because a figurative prime uses the same sense of the critical word as the metaphor target does. If the literal and figurative senses of a word are psychologically distinct from one another (i.e., if they are stored as separate entries in memory), a figurative prime should be more effective with a figurative target than a literal prime.

Gildea and Glucksberg also find that it takes longer to reject a figuratively primed metaphor than it does to reject a figuratively primed scrambled metaphor. In unprimed and literally primed contexts, subjects took less time to accept or reject the metaphor. The resarchers show that metaphors appearing in the immediate context of stimuli (in sentences) that activate relevant ground concepts are understood more rapidly than those same metaphors appearing in unrelated immediate contexts. They conclude that the literal sense of a word can activate the figurative sense of a related word concept and this in turn facilitates comprehension of a simple nominative metaphor (one that juxtaposes nouns, as opposed to verbs).

Marketing Implications. Several implications flow from the research on the role of context in metaphor comprehension. First, Tversky and Kahneman’s (1974) concepts of availability and accessibility are directly relevant to metaphor context and comprehension. Studies of the relationships among these concepts and metaphor comprehension would be valuable to marketers designing marketing metaphors. Second, the contextual prime in linguistics is analogous to the verbal and visual stimuli (external imagery) researched in advertising (Lutz and Lutz 1977; MacInnis and Price 1987). Marketers could enhance their understanding of consumers’ metaphor comprehension by applying some of the imagery research and methods to marketing metaphors. Third, adequate and appropriate primes should be used with marketing metaphors if consumers are to comprehend them. Marketers should use figurative primes (as opposed to literal primes) to facilitate metaphor comprehension. Lastly, they should develop metaphors that appear in the immediate context of sentences that activate the relevant ground concept rather than metaphors that appear in unrelated contexts.

Automatic Processing and the Metaphor Interference Effect

Research Findings. Shiffrin and Schneider (1977) show that metaphor processing is initiated by appropriate linguistic and semantic inputs, and the message recipient normally has no control over whether a metaphor is understood or not. Stroop (1935) also shows that fluent readers cannot inhibit reading words that are shown to them. Gildea and Glucksberg (1983) demonstrate that fluent speakers of a language cannot inhibit understanding the metaphorical meanings of some types of sentences. They show a "metaphor interference effect" which serves as a sensitivity index of how quickly and automatically metaphorical meanings are comprehended. In their experiment, subjects made literal true-false decisions on four types of test sentences. The simple metaphor "all jobs are jails" was literally false, and subjects had no difficulty deciding that the statement was false. But they had available a true nonliteral interpretation, that people can feel trapped in their jobs. This nonliteral interpretation interfered with their literal-false decision. When a metaphorical interpretation of a literally false sentence was available, subjects took significantly longer to decide that the sentences were literally false. Glucksberg et al. concluded that the subjects had comprehended the "true" metaphorical meanings automatically, or non-optionally, and that they did this quickly enough so as to interfere with a seemingly straightforward literal-false decision.

Gildea and Glucksberg contend that with poor metaphors, such as "all marriages are iceboxes," people have no trouble deciding that the metaphor is literally false and that the metaphor does not work. Ortony (1979) asserts that if the ground concept is available and accessible when the metaphor is being processed by the message recipient, then the metaphor should be understood automatically and rapidly. Their research suggests that making a relevant dimension of comparison implicit in a nominative metaphor will significantly facilitate metaphor comprehension.

Marketing Implications. Several marketing issues arise out of the discussion on automatic processing of metaphors. First, the consumer’s lack of control of processing of some metaphors suggests that marketers may want to use metaphors that have this characteristic. Marketing messages could then be more rapidly understood. Second, consumers may have littl trouble determining whether a metaphor works (or is apt) or not, and marketing metaphors currently in use may simply be discounted by consumers, diminishing the effects of the marketer’s intended message. Third, marketers may have little control over metaphor comprehension when their marketing metaphor is imbued with cultural meaning. Finally, to facilitate nominative metaphor comprehension, marketers should make the ground concept implicit.

Heuristics and Metaphor Comprehension

Research Findings. People use strategies for understanding metaphors which cause metaphor comprehension to be automatic (Gildea and Glucksberg 1983). These strategies, or heuristics, are used in everyday discourse and are so pervasive and well-practiced that they are no longer under conscious control. One is Grice’s (1975) cooperative principle which asserts that when trying to understand a statement like "X is a Y," we assume the statement is informative. Another is Clark and Haviland’s (1977) rules for marking given and new information. If given "X is a Y," we conform to a protocol in our mind, and then look for new information in Y that would be informative about X. Next, those properties of Y that are salient (normally activated in the mental representation of Y) are applied to X. If those properties are applicable to and informative about X, this provides a ready interpretation of the statement. Properties, or attributes, of the vehicle (Y) that are uninformative about the metaphor topic (X) rarely provide suitable grounds for interpretation. People ignore these attributes unless they are explicitly pointed out or are used in a context where they are informative.

Marketing Implications. The literature on metaphor comprehension strategies is not well developed, but provides some insight and future research directions for marketers. First, the unconscious use of the cooperative principle and conventions for marking given and new information suggests that marketers may have very limited control over the consumer’s processing of metaphors. Second, these strategies could be empirically tested with marketing metaphors to add to the literature on metaphor comprehension. In the process, new or undiscovered consumer processing strategies may be revealed.

Metaphors and Imagery

Research Findings. It is suggested that the priming context in the metaphor literature operates much like pictures and symbols do in advertising message comprehension. Pictures can facilitate comprehension of the intended meaning of the advertising message and elicit internal imagery. To elicit imagery, marketers use visual or pictorial stimuli, concrete verbal stimuli, and imagery instructions. Pictures are best remembered because they elicit imagery; words alone are less likely to evoke imagery (Lutz and Lutz 1978).

External imagery effects on learning have been researched within the paired-associate learning paradigm. Subjects shown an interactive image relating two items have higher recall scores than those not presented with an interactive image (Davidson 1964). A necessary condition for a facilitative effect on learning is the interactive feature of the mediating message. The image integrates the two items in some mutual way (Bower 1972).

The concreteness of a stimulus attribute is found to be positively correlated with the learnability of the material presented, and mental imagery aids recall (Bower 1972). Subjects prefer concrete over more abstract vehicles in metaphor completion tasks (Katz 1989). Paivio (1979) suggests that vehicle imagery should be more important than topic imagery in the interpretation of metaphors. He says that the vehicle serves as an "efficient conceptual peg" for metaphor comprehension such that it promotes the retrieval of images and verbal information from memory that combines with the information elicited by the topic. Verbal information increases the probability of finding a onnection between the topic and vehicle of the metaphor and keeps the search process "on track" (Marschark et al. 1983).

Marketing Implications. The research on external and internal imagery holds several implications for marketers who use metaphors. First, the concept with which a brand or product is metaphorically compared should be carefully crafted by the marketer to enhance retrieval of the desired imagery and increase the probability of message comprehension. The image used should be interactive with the verbal message to facilitate metaphor comprehension. Second, the literature suggests that vehicle imagery is more important than topic imagery in the interpretation of metaphors. However, marketers are advised to strive for strong pairing of vehicle with topic imagery because placing an uneven emphasis on vehicle imagery can create a situation where the audience remembers the metaphor but forgets the brand. Lastly, they should include verbal information in their advertising to increase the probability of comprehension of visual metaphors.

Other Research Findings

Other concepts and findings in the literature lead to several additional questions about metaphor comprehension and effectiveness. Briefly, Hill and Mazis (1986) demonstrate that emotional ads produce more affective comments from subjects. This finding yields the question: Do metaphors with strong emotional content have greater impact on consumer affect than those with non-emotional content? Childers and Houston (1984) show that pictorial ads do better than verbal-only ads on both immediate and delayed recall when processing focused on appearance features of the ads (see Miniard et al. 1991 for the moderating role of involvement). With semantic processing instructions, verbal-only stimuli did as well on immediate recall but worse on delayed recall. Recall was superior when brand name, attributes, and visual components were integrated pictorially but the copy conveyed discrepant information. Elaborative processing may be heightened by discrepant pictures and words. These findings prompt the questions: When is metaphoric language more or less effective? What types of metaphors have stronger recall? Is there a relationship between the findings on elaborative processing of discrepant pictures and words, and dissimilarity between metaphor domains? These questions should be dealt with by future research in the area.

SUMMARY

This article reviewed selected psychology, linguistic and marketing literature on metaphor comprehension and provided several implications for marketers who use metaphors in their persuasive communications to consumers. The review unveiled the following: (1) a preliminary assessment of consumer perception of metaphoric meanings should be made prior to use to enhance comprehensibility, (2) consumer beliefs about the parts of the metaphor impact comprehensibility and should be considered in marketing metaphor development, (3) the availability and accessibility of the metaphor’s ground concept affects the consumer’s ability to comprehend the metaphor, (4) to be more rapidly understood, metaphors should appear in the immediate context of sentences that activate a relevant ground, and (5) consumers use heuristics to comprehend metaphors. This article contributes to the marketing literature by analyzing the metaphor literature, extending several of the concepts found therein to marketing metaphors, and providing implications for marketers who use metaphors in their persuasive communications to consumers.

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