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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Volume 2011, Issue 183


Semiotic approaches to advertising texts and strategies: Narrative, passion, marketing

Cinzia Bianchi
Published Online: 2011-03-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2011.012


This paper provides an overview of semiotic studies about advertising, beginning with the early work done in the 1960s. Advertising communication plays a particular role in semiotic studies in the second half of the twentieth century. Pioneering studies of advertising messages, in particular those of Roland Barthes and Umberto Eco, date to the 1960s and were carried out for the most part using the tools of classical rhetoric. Following a period in which semiotics displayed a relative lack of interest in advertisements, in the 1980s advertising texts were used as examples in applied narratological analysis by Jean-Marie Floch and others. This occurred at the same time as the so-called “passion turn of semiotics,” which stressed that the passions and emotions present in texts are crucial issues in textual semiotics, and it also seemed to offer fresh perspectives for the analysis of advertising communication. The passion turn took account of the evolution of advertising itself, since modern advertising is more and more interested in conveying passions and emotions. The effectiveness of an advert tends to be closely bound up with the presentation of sensations associated with a given product or brand. Recently, semioticians have begun to study more general features of advertising and marketing discourse.

Keywords:: advertising; semiotics; passion; marketing; narrative; spot

About the article

Published Online: 2011-03-17

Published in Print: 2011-02-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2011, Issue 183, Pages 243–271, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2011.012.

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