Show and Tell: Advertisers’ Use of Rhetoric Over Time

ABSTRACT - This paper uses a diachronic perspective to explore the issues of continuity and change as advertisers make ongoing, historically situated attempts to persuade consumers over time. A content assessment of the rhetorical styles of ads in three American magazines was conducted for the time period 1954 to 1999. Results from this assessment show that while the existence of rhetorical figures in ads remains invariant over time, the way in which these figures are used has undergone a dramatic shift. Rhetorical figures are increasingly layered and less verbal copy is used to explain their interpretation. This result suggests that advertisers increasingly rely on consumers’ cultural competence to understand rhetorical figures; advertisers use these figures to increase ad pleasure and combat consumer ennui.



Citation:

Barbara J. Phillips and Edward F. McQuarrie (2001) ,"Show and Tell: Advertisers’ Use of Rhetoric Over Time", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, eds. Andrea Groeppel-Klien and Frank-Rudolf Esch, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 46.

European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, 2001      Page 46

SHOW AND TELL: ADVERTISERS’ USE OF RHETORIC OVER TIME

Barbara J. Phillips, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Edward F. McQuarrie, Santa Clara University, U.S.A.

ABSTRACT -

This paper uses a diachronic perspective to explore the issues of continuity and change as advertisers make ongoing, historically situated attempts to persuade consumers over time. A content assessment of the rhetorical styles of ads in three American magazines was conducted for the time period 1954 to 1999. Results from this assessment show that while the existence of rhetorical figures in ads remains invariant over time, the way in which these figures are used has undergone a dramatic shift. Rhetorical figures are increasingly layered and less verbal copy is used to explain their interpretation. This result suggests that advertisers increasingly rely on consumers’ cultural competence to understand rhetorical figures; advertisers use these figures to increase ad pleasure and combat consumer ennui.

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Authors

Barbara J. Phillips, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Edward F. McQuarrie, Santa Clara University, U.S.A.



Volume

E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5 | 2001



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