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Stylistic Analysis of an Advertisement

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Stylistic Analysis of an Advertisement


   Advertising has restored to all kinds of techniques-audio and visual, sound and light, photographs and drawings, etc. Generally speaking, advertising is a promotional tool (语场) of marketing. It persuades the potential consumers to buy the products or services. In most advertisements, the glamour and essence lies in its language. All advertising language must have its appeal to the target language. According to the target audience, the functional tenor of advertising language is mainly persuasive or mainly informative. While the personal tenor is reflected in its characteristic warm, plain speech used in daily life. The mode of discourse is the combination of spoken language and written language. Various language tricks are also used in advertising to impress and move the audience.

   The sample ad is a print media ad that uses physically printed media, such as magazines and newspapers. The target customer is ordinary consumers of goods. It is a straight-line copy in which the advertisers use the findings of university dentists to convince the audience. It is downloaded via Internet

( on December 16, 2017. The ad is about Chlorodent, a toothpaste that freshen breath and clean mouth. It is a vintage ad that published in 1953 in USA. Lever Brothers Company is the advertiser and Lever International Advertising Services is the advertising agent.

   This paper intends to make a stylistic analysis of the sample. The potential style markers used in stylistic analysis are markers in phonology, graphology, syntax, lexis and semantics. Since the main channel for information transformation of advertising in magazines or newspaper is visual, the study is undertaken based on four levels: the graphological level, the lexical level, the syntactic/grammatical level and the semantic level.

Ⅰ. At the graphological level

1. Full use of graphological contrasts

The design of ads is an art. Most ads have sharp graphological contrasts to achieve the best possible eye-catching effect. As the sample shows, the ad makes full use of a variety of typing forms. The heading is in heavy bold and Aria Narrow lettering, the font size is 72. The subheading, which besides the heading, is in Arial Black lettering, the font size is 22. However, the body part are in relatively small lettering, Times New Roman 12. The heading begin with a capital letter and the subheading is all capitalized. The letter in this ads are all black.

2. Prominent use of illustrations

  Illustrations are most attractive. So nowadays the general practice is combining sharp graphological contrasts with a picture of the advertised product, or the potential customer, or the service being offered. A brief look at the sample ad tells us that it makes use of two illustrations.

 The picture on the top of the ad, which occupies half of the space, shows an attractive woman looking like she is preparing a web to catch something. With the lady in the ad looking predatory, there is a caption underneath the Chlorodent Toothpaste ad with a warning, advising wives out there that no wife wants her husband to carry the memory of her “morning mouth” to work with him. This warning means that if you had a “morning mouth”, your husband might be seduced by the attractive girls who don’t have.

  Another picture on the lower right of the ad shows the sample of the product and a woman who wore a grin with a toothpaste in her hand. The woman is so vivid and effective that there is no need for any more words to explain what you can get after using Chlorodent toothpaste, a confident smile with pearly white teeth. Additionally, it indicated that you can get rid of “mourning mouth” by using Chlorodent toothpaste, you will become more beautiful and therefore, your husband won’t be seduced by other women.

3. Clear identification of the advertiser and the product

   In the sample ad, the advertiser Lever Brothers Company and its product Chlorodent Toothpaste is identified. This is only nature: If not, why advertise?

Ⅱ. At the Grammatical Level

   In order to be easily comprehensible and to achieve the effect of a warm conversation, advertising tends to be grammatically simple. This is shown in the following respectively.

1. Preference for short sentences

As is shown in the sample, most clauses in the body of the ad are simple and short. There are twelve sentences, and half of them composed within 10 words. The average length is 10.9 words per sentence. Advertisement language must stimulate the desire of people in short passage to save place and present no problem for quick reading.

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