The Timely and the Timeless: Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Sign Relations in Advertising Montage

Val Larsen, James Madison University
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - A decade ago, Scott (1994) offered a sharp critique of past research on visual persuasion in advertising. She argued that a precondition for an adequate understanding of visual persuasionCas it is actually practiced by sophisticated advertisersCis the development of a visual rhetoric, a theoretical framework within which ad forms could be defined and classified and linked to psychological responses. McQuarrie and Mick (1999, 2002) subsequently called upon persuasion researchers to balance their traditional focus on the Ahuman system@ (the mind and mental processes that cognize an ad) with a proportional emphasis on the Aad system@ (the systematically related set of variables that may be manipulated to create alternative ad executions). In short, Scott and McQuarrie and Mick have highlighted the fact that researchers who focus on visual persuasion tend to know a lot about response processes but very little about ad stimuli. Lacking a theoretical framework that can be used to define the set of manipulable stimulus variables and the range of variation within each variable, they have been unable to produce batteries of sophisticated, realistic ads that could be used to test the interacting effects of the major dimensions of an ad execution.
[ to cite ]:
Val Larsen (2005) ,"The Timely and the Timeless: Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Sign Relations in Advertising Montage", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 162-163.