This article intends to orient MA students, language researchers, among others about Discourse Analysis. It describes commonly used metadiscourse strategies and markers in the newspaper advertisements in the Philippines. Please read as to how advertising companies use discourse analysis to influence readers into buying their products.
According to Ken Hyland, metadiscourse is essential to advertising because it focuses on the aspects of a text that organizes the discourse, engages the audience and signals the writer’s attitude. As a central pragmatic construct, metadiscourse allows one to see how writers seek to influence reader’s understandings of both text and their attitude towards its content and the audience.
The use of metadiscourse strategies and markers helps companies earn much through advertisements. Below are 20 examples of advertisements from newspapers in the Philippines, which were analyzed and interpreted using discourse analysis.
Discourse Analysis of 20 Newspaper Advertisements
The advertisement uses a celebrity. Gary Valenciano and his daughter endorse Alaska Powdered Filled Milk. The copywriter uses emphatics like more important and most nutritious.
The ad says that growth gap is more important than generation gap. Since kids experience a slow-down in growth after the toddler years, they must be given Alaska, which is the most nutritious powdered-filled milk.
The use of person marker as “natin” or our is also a metadiscourse which the copywriter used to influence the target reader to buy the product. In this case, Gary V. emphasizes that not only his children need Alaska but also other children and thus, he is trying to get the attention of the parents.
Aside from being interpersonal, this ad is also textual. The use of endophoric marker is visible. The picture of Gary V. and his daughter is put in the middle. It is bigger than the rest of the ad. Gary gives his daughter Alaska and she loves to drink it as manifested in her smile. She is also holding a glass of Alaska milk.
It also uses a directive when he says: “Ngayon nila kailangan ang tulong ng superior nutrition ng Alaska.” (This is the time they need help from Alaska – the most nutritious powdered-filled milk).
What is being endorsed in this ad is not really Jollibee as a fast food but its particular product Swirlybitz. This is manifested by a small logo of Jollibee placed at the right side bottom of the ad. The picture of Swirlybits is much bigger than the logo. And the font size of the text is also bigger.
The copywriter uses personal marker yourself and an emphatic delicious which fall under interpersonal. It means that a reader is enticed to taste the delicious mix of swirling vanilla ice cream with bits of chocolate and cookies.
The ad also uses endophoric marker by showing in the picture how delicious and creamy it is. However, the copywriter does not forget to tell where this product could be found and it is in Jollibee. The speech act used is directive when it says, “Treat yourself…”
The ad shows a picture of the product. Since it has the essence of the chicken, one can see the two feathers which show that he can do or perform better by using this product. The use of your as person marker and scientific studies from renowned institutions as emphatics help the reader understand the value and the credibility of this product and thus motivated him to buy.
In addition to that, the phrases “have no preservatives, cholesterol-free, all-natural and caffeine- free,” all written in capital letters and bold-faced can get the attention of the reader. The reader is challenged to perform better and that speech act is known as a directive.
4. French Baker
The metaphor is used in this advertisement, “Freshness takes over Sucat”. This is a kind of evidential which means that French Baker opens its branch at SM Sucat.
Also the person marker “you” are used to showing interpersonal relationship between the product and the reader. For textual, it is not only the use of metaphor but also the product and the outlet in forming coherent texts.
It can be seen that the copywriter does not emphasize “French Baker is now open at Sucat”; however, he tries to connect the metaphor to the pictures of bread, pastries and the outlet itself. Then, the reader’s schema now works that these are available only at French Baker by showing the smaller font size of “French Baker opens…” as compared to the “Freshness takes over Sucat!” and the use of smaller logo at the bottom.
The speech act used is also directive when it says “whether you’re shopping … French Baker provides the perfect place”. Emphatics such as fresh, pleasurable, perfect are used.
A very palatable fruit salad is shown in the ad. And the text says, “For sweet cravings during the Christmas season.” Equal targets a specific customers – the diabetics! So the copywriter tries to tempt a diabetic to eat sweet stuff this season without making the level of their blood sugar high and it is only possible by using Equal.
You, or your (person markers) and many doctors recommend it (emphatic) are used in persuading the readers.
Of course, the use of picture (endophoric) helps a lot in stimulating the appetite of a diabetic. It is still directive by saying, “Now, doesn’t that make for a sweeter Christmas?” The reader is asked to use Equal.
This ad uses a cartoon to illustrate how cool is Visine. This is also intensified by putting the word COOL to the face of the caricature and the two Os are used as his eyes. The copywriter is very artistic in persuading the reader that Visine is cool and can wake up tired eyes.
When I asked the media director of a well-known advertising company, why this ad uses a cartoon instead of a model, she said: “Probably the company made some cost-cutting…paying a model or celebrity is more expensive or costly.”
Also, if it is a model or a celebrity, the word COOL cannot be placed on the person’s face! Otherwise, it will become hilarious and unbelievable!
This ad also uses a person marker you. Again, a directive is used when it says, “try and wake up tired eyes.” The person is requested to use the product and emphatics are also used like new, soothing and cool.
The ad shows how curious the kids are. They discovered many things and so they are prone to get more germs.
In the picture, we can see a boy with a dog and it seems that both of them have just finished licking the ice cream. In effect, the boy gets the germs.
The copywriter establishes a situation wherein parents could not control and, therefore, could not protect their children. In this vein, they are persuaded to buy Anchor because it has with Nutri-care that can protect kids from germs.
The “you” is also used to establish an interpersonal relationship and the endophoric marker (picture) for textual. The speech act used is directive, a command when it says, “give him Anchor.”
The copywriter does not use person marker. Instead, he uses emphatics like new, revitalize, breakthrough, innovation and more beautiful. These move the readers (women) buy what is being offered because they feel that Lux is necessary for today’s modern world.
The picture shows the three different variants of Lux and since each one has a description, a reader may choose which one is best for her. Therefore, the copywriter also uses emphatics and endophoric markers.
9. Marks and Spencer
The person markers our and you (implied) are used to convince the reader. Aside from person markers, the copywriter also uses emphatics like sinful, tempting, luscious, drizzled with, more and very. Not only the emphatics are used but also the irresistibly delicious cake in the picture. The adjective sinful is used to emphasize how tempting the cake is.
And since the target customers are sexy who do not like to get fat, he uses a speech act – directive, when it says, “give in to our….” It means that they need not argue because they will only taste it for this season and thus, they will not really get fat. What matters is, they have tasted it.
The use of much bigger font size for “now open” and “popeyes” gets the attention of the reader at one glance. The you (implied) and emphatic world famous are the metadiscourse markers used by a copywriter.
He also tries to convince the reader by providing a picture of a chicken and a drawing of a man and a woman. The man shows his love for the woman by giving her flowers and there is a banner which shows the love for chicken. It means that Popeyes’ chicken is delicious and crispy and one will love it the way a man shows his love for the girl. Again, the directive is used for love that chicken and visit us.
It can be seen that the bottle is filled with ice. But of course, it is not literal. The ad shows how cool the mouthwash is. It is as cold as ice and there is a word chill as the emphatic marker. Now, the copywriter also tries to connect the word “cool” to dining places. The “cool” for dining places does not mean that the place is cold as ice but what the copywriter is trying to put across is that these places are cozy and have a good ambiance.
The person marker “you” (implied) and emphatics like “cool” and “chill” are used. The directive is more of a request than a command because it is only an invitation when it says, “experience instant …”
“As pizza as pizza gets” is a kind of evidential. It shows that Bocaditos chips taste like a real pizza. And also the use of emphatics little and big.
The reader’s schema works that having Bocaditos (pizza flavor) as a snack is like having a slice or a whole of pizza. Aside from that, it is cheaper than to buy a pizza.
So if a reader wants to eat pizza and has no enough money for that, he can buy Bocaditos. Interpersonal and textual metadiscourse are used.
13. Silka Papaya
At the first glance, one cannot see any interpersonal marker but if one will move his eyes at the bottom, he can see in the black background the phrase nature’s radiance. Radiance is emphatic. The copywriter uses endophoric marker by interrelating the picture with words.
The picture of a nude woman or her torso is radiating as manifested by white color surrounding her entire body and the use of yellow-orange as the background. This ad tells that if one will use Silka she will have a whiter, silky skin.
The ad shows three models who are nude. And there is a banner at their buttocks which says, “The naked truth!” The naked truth is an idiom and it is under evidential. Evidential is used to develop intertextuality.
In this ad, the three models are connected to the idiom and to the product itself. If one will take Cellasene, she will have a sexy body – no cellulite on the buttocks, hips and thighs.
Since it uses hedges like “may,” the copywriter is still successful in persuading the customer although it weakens the statement. He is able to do it by using the models and the idiom which are much bigger in size. There is a tendency for a reader not to notice the word “may” because she is already deceived by the picture and the idiom.
A directive is used when it says, “take 2-3 capsules a day and see the difference.” The person markers such as you and your and emphatics like clinically-tested, breakthrough, top selling, firmer and ideal are also used.
The model is alluring, trying to seduce her man and she can do it by using Hugo. The person marker “your” persuades woman that they should wear this perfume to get the attention of their crushes or to attract their men. This ad also has an endophoric marker – a model who looks so seductive by using this perfume.
The ad is trying to compare Sunsilk to another shampoo. At the top are the different bottles of shampoo with different colors and then, there is a text “clear” at the bottom of the bottles. Then, at the right bottom of the page is the bottle of Sunsilk crystal shampoo and there are bubbles as the background. The bubbles are very clear and one can see the flower inside each bubble.
Then, there is a caption, clear and nourishing. The copywriter lets the readers decide which is actually clear. Based on the picture, the answer would be Sunsilk.
The emphatics used are crystal clear, only one, full-bodied and beautiful. The use of the different bottles and Sunsilk is known as an endophoric marker.
It can be seen that the copywriter only uses the bottle as the endophoric marker and emphatics like bold and new. A spirit pertains to the gin that it is new and bold. Bold because it is strong – a taste which men look for a dry gin.
The background is black to give life to the bottle which is white. The letters of the phrase “a bold new spirit” are capitalized and bold-faced. However, the background of the ad is black and red is a good color for the text which may symbolize boldness. Thus, if one is looking for a bold and new dry gin, he will buy beefeater.
18. Carl’s Jr.
The copywriter tries to activate the reader’s schema of the Devil’s fork. The Devils would like to temp people and so, they are doing everything just to tempt us. By just looking at the picture, one is informed that the burgers are delicious. They do everything to make it delicious and they are serious about doing it.
Therefore, once a person tastes it, he will come back because of its taste. The person markers “our” and “you” are used and the endophoric marker which is the picture.
At the right bottom, is a small logo of Carl’s which means that you can buy the burgers only at Carl’s. A directive is more on challenge rather than request because the reader’s curiosity is challenged how delicious is the burger at Carl’s and thus, he will try it.
19. Nestle’ Yogurt
This ad is different from the other samples because the page has still a lot of space. It simply means that it is all that they want to say and to be different from others. It is not a typical ad wherein a copywriter uses a celebrity or a bigger picture of the product.
However, he is successful in his aim by using person marker “our” and emphatics like creamy, delicious, healthy, and irresistibly. Then at the middle, there is a caption below the bigger text which says, “After begging the photographer to spare just spoonful.”
This statement connotes that this product is delicious and irresistible. Also, a speech act is used to show the interpersonal function of the language, “but get this…” is a command and a kind of directive.
Noyping-noypi, golding-goldi is a kind of evidential. It is used to make the readers memorize and recall the product. The ad also uses a celebrity and the picture of delicious pork barbecue.
The use of yellow-green as a background gives life to the color of barbecue which is brownish-red. Likewise, the emphatic marker like “sarap” (delicious) is used in showing that it is palatable and by using a celebrity like Jessa.
Now, can you identify the markers that the copywriters used to influence the readers in the discourse analysis? What are those markers? Of these markers, what do you think are most commonly used in newspaper ads?
Hyland, K. (2005). Metadiscourse. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.