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SEMIOTICS AND PERSUASION IN MARKETING COMMUNICATION
SEMIOTICS AND PERSUASION IN MARKETING COMMUNICATION

Author(s): Manuela EPURE, Eric Eisenstat, Cristina Dinu
Subject(s): Semiotics / Semiology
Published by: Addleton Academic Publishers
Keywords: signs; subliminal messaging; representational codes; signification systems; consumer advertising; social marketing

Summary/Abstract: Since the first conference on Marketing and Semiotics, organized at Northwestern University in 1986, research on the application of semiotics techniques in marketing, and particularly in consumer advertising, has evolved with considerable momentum. By looking at advertising campaigns as compositions of signs and understanding the underlying relationships with the meanings they may convey, marketers gain better control over the communication process, and thus, create the opportunity to communicate more effectively with the target population. This, in turn, paves the way for developing powerful marketing tools in terms of transmitting truly persuasive messages. In this article, we review the current theoretic and practical uses of semiotics in advertising, particularly in relation to the concept of persuasion. To this end, it is argued that semiotics allows for the practical distinction of persuasion from manipulation in marketing communication. Because signs are as volatile as they are powerful, understanding the semiotic structure of the communication is crucial: some message will almost surely be transmitted in a powerful way, whether it is the one that was intended or not. To demonstrate these concepts in practical application, we construct a basic, comparative semiotics analysis of three recent public service campaigns in Romania. The resulting analysis provides a clear framework for understanding the various shortcomings commonly noted with respect to these campaigns. More importantly, however, the semiotics investigation suggests that these techniques may constitute a powerful arsenal in social marketing and other domains of marketing, not just consumer advertising.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 13
  • Page Range: 592-605
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: English