In my dissertation, I dealt with the persuasive strategies of advertising - therefore, the creation of slogans and crisp communications in the field of politics and advertising is very exciting for me.
The Aida Formula
"Aida" turns out to be a familiar term in two ways. The Ethiopian slave from the Verdi Opera entices, and the AIDA formula is intended to guide advertising strategists to create an enticing product message. As part of my dissertation at the University of Zurich (2014), I have developed this formula further and shown up a variety of techniques of advertising language manipulation.
(Image: Lithography by Daniele Buzzi, 1923)
The Advertiser's Dilemma
Abstract of my doctoral thesis (2014)
(1) Conceiving his message, the advertiser has to reflect on how to connect product X with additional benefits.
At this he is confronted with a considerable problem: In how far the product-benefit-proposition (the so-called X-core-proposition) should be factically true - or just not?
(2) This dilemma refers to an important maxim of advertising: The advertiser obeys the dictates of vagueness which, according to the respective constellation of scripts and frames, can manifest itself in four gradations.
With regard to the degree of truth in advertising propositions and argumentative sequences the problem-solution-structure can be characterized as the basic axiom. The latter implicates a model of advertising argumentation with six phases.
(3) On the basis of these findings, typologies can be elaborated of the following linguistic units, specifically related to the language of advertising and manifesting themselves both verbally and pictorially:
- the aspects of benefit
- the conversational and other maxims
- the perlocutions (from the perspective of an extended AIDA formula at which the perlocutions of attention, desire and memorization are dominating)
- the illocutions: five basic illocutions, for instance the so-called X-core-proposition; five macro-illocutions at which the concrete opposition describe vs. assert is dominating
(4) Through the working together of the mentioned functional units, typical macro-textual structures are resulting - the eight so-called text units. These can manifest themselves in an advertisement simultaneously or only in certain combinations:
- contact-, buying- and price-info
- direct statements about product X
- description of the advertiser respectively the company
- description of the target group
- description of the problem
- description of the solution
- the text unit of aestheticization
14 standardized scripts respectively frames underlie them, besides the problem-solution-structure.
(5) The advertiser finds no way out of his dilemma: In how far the combination of product X and an additional benefit must be factically true?
Therefore, he tries to turn away the recipient's attention from this conflict - either by the overaccentuation of pictorial additional benefits or by owing to the implicity that correlates with the maxim of vagueness.
(6) The factor of implicity leads to the aspect of manipulation throughout the following starting points:
- considerations about the typical phenomenon of implication
- four functions of the specific presuppositions in the language of advertising
- the manifold procedures of simulating facticity respectively truth
Only then will be rounded off the picture about tactics, speech acts and text units in advertisements. It is a common linguistic picture.