What is it about?

Commercial advertisements are considered informative discourse, whereas the manipulative effects of their verbal and visual strategies have been ignored. According to van Dijk (2006), manipulation in mass media is performed by drawing the audience’s attention to information A, rather than to B, by providing irrelevant or incomplete information, and by playing emotional games. Since the analysis of manipulative effects of semiotic features used in advertisements is scarce, the present research project investigates the potential manipulative effects of semiotic aspects used in Persian printed advertisements, and the influence of the Iranian sociocultural context on designing their visual messages. A corpus of 160 Persian printed advertisements was analyzed; the results revealed that their semiotic features, especially those which are meaningful based on the sociocultural context of Iran, tend to inculcate relevant information and meaning in consumers, in order to control their minds and subsequently their purchases. At the end, six theme-based categories of semiotic manipulation strategies emerged: Celebrity images, Creative images, Punctuation marks, Nature images, Seasonal images, and Cultural images. The results are discussed along the lines of research methodology in discourse and semiotic analysis.

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Why is it important?

This study is a critical discourse analysis that investifates the manipulative effects of advertising discourse. Our findings prove that although the strategies used in advertising can have manipulative effects on audiences , although they seems to be neutral.

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This page is a summary of: Semiotic manipulation strategies employed in Iranian printed advertisements, Pragmatics and Society, March 2023, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/ps.20005.moh.
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