The present contribution discusses the complex relations between advertising research (theory) and the making of advertising (practice). It argues that advertising theory may only be useful for the advertising agencies if the knowledge generated is practically relevant, accessible, comprehensible and the external conditions favour its application. Based on a concise assessment of the interrelationship between research and practice (2) and a careful examination of available theory – mainly from pragmatic linguistics and communication studies (3.1) – the paper suggests some promising ways of future advertising research, such as multimodal corpus analysis, contrastive stylistics, advertising history, professional writing, and empirical reception studies (3.2). The article also proposes and explains some key-principles of a methodology for contemporary and applied advertising research (3.3) including a multimodal and holistic perspective, an array of semiotic tools of analysis, a firm basis of transcription and a focus on motivating design decisions. Finally, the paper provides a multimodal sample analysis of a recent TV-commercial thus outlining a feasible methodology applicable to a number of practical purposes.