Social semiotic genre: exploring the interplay of words and images in advertising


  • Taofeek Olaiwola Dalamu Anchor University, Lagos, Nigeria


Paraules clau:

Advertising, Communicative Acts, Genre, Register, Social Semiotics


This study examined the interplay of pictorial and written modes that position advertising as a multimodal genre, explainable through a social semiotic perspective. Eight advertisements of the financial, telecommunications, and beverage products functioned as devices of analysis. Nevertheless, multimodal communicative acts served as the processing tool, elucidating the meaning potentials of the advertising configurations. Having deployed a system of multimodal interacts, tables and graphs assisted in accounting for the frequency of the semiotic resources of the written modes. The analysis indicated large and highlighted fonts (Celebrating the world’s no. 1 fixer), repetitions (Guinness, Maltina, real deal), and deviant constructs (EazyLoans, GTWorld) as elements of propagating intended messages. The deployment of codes (*966*11#, 737) and fragmented clauses (Over N100 million worth of airtime) played some roles in the meaning-making operations. Of significance is the Guinness’ conceptual “digits” of 17:59, contextualising the year, time, and channel of promotional benefits. Though questions (Have you called mum today?), offer (It can be), and minor clauses (Welcome to Guinness time) were parts of the communicative systems, statements (Terms and condition apply) and commands (Enjoy the complete richness of Maltina) dominated the entire dialogues. One might suggest that communicators should endeavour to deploy apt constructions and create eye-lines between participants as means of sensitising readers into consumption.