To Question Of Suggestion In Advertising Discourse


The article is devoted to advertising discourse. Discourse is one of the most complex concepts in linguistics. Thus, discourse is a text immersed in a situation. In the study, advertising discourse is considered as “advertising text in combination with extralinguistic, sociocultural, psychological and other factors of advertising communication”. The main component of advertising discourse is speech impact. There are two main strategies: persuasion and suggestion. The article discusses advertising discourse in terms of active speech impact on the addressee - suggestion as well as main language means through which a certain influence in an advertising text. Suggestion is speech influence, in particular the influence exerted by the subject (advertiser) on the recipient (advertising consumer) using linguistic, paralinguistic and non-linguistic symbolic means. Suggestion is a complex of tools and techniques to influence on human psyche. The aim of the paper is to study a suggestive component using linguistic means that ensure the effectiveness of advertising discourse. The research focuses on studying language factors of suggestion in advertising discourse. To solve the tasks, the following research methods were used: theoretical - analysis of the related research papers of modern researchers; descriptive method; contextual and comparative analysis methods. The method of semantic analysis of stylistic techniques in advertising discourse revealed their degree of impact on the recipient. The paper underlines that during the realization of speech influence in advertising discourse hyperboles, metaphors, comparisons, personifications, ellipses and epithets are used. Moreover, metaphors are the dominant components of tropes in advertising discourse;

Keywords: Suggestiondiscourseadvertisingimpactspeech impact


Discourse is one of the most complex and least defined concepts in modern linguistics. Arutiunova and Arutiunova (1990) interprets discourse as “a coherent text in combination with extralinguistic, pragmatic, sociocultural, psychological and other factors” as well as “speech immersed in life” (p. 479). Hence, discourse unlike the text, is a dynamic speech figure, confirmation of which can be found in the works of Sheigal (1984): “Language as an abstract sign system really exists in the form of discourses, since there is no abstract communication. Communication always takes place in a certain sphere of human activity, in a certain social space” (p. 392).

Researchers identify various types of discourse: economic, legal, scientific, political, and others.

From the point of view of Prokhorova (2013), advertising discourse is “advertising text in combination with extralinguistic, sociocultural, psychological and other factors of advertising communication” (p. 55).

In this article modern advertising is understood as “one of the forms of marketing communication, which is non-personal in nature and distributed to influence the target audience (increase in sales of goods, expanding the clientele, obtaining votes or public approval, etc.)” (Sharkov & Gostenina, 2006, p. 153) as well as the synthesis of scientific and technological progress and language. Modern advertising plays a significant role in the field of mass communication and is the object of close attention of many scholars who note diversity and complexity of its phenomenon. Many specialists use advertising in various branches of knowledge (sociologists, economists, lawyers, psychologists and linguists) because it is often difficult to determine where the “psychological” aspect ends and the “linguistic” aspect begins.

Problem Statement

Advertising is unique as it provides wide informational opportunities to establish and maintain contact with mass audience. However, if we consider advertising as a form of verbal communication, then its range of possibilities is limited. Advertising is a one-way form of communication, and it possesses ethical and pragmatic norms.

At the present stage of society development, there are many different types of advertising and ways of its placement. For example, for goods aimed for the elderly, television or print publications will be a platform for advertising. For young people it is more expedient to place advertising on the Internet. Whatever the form of advertising (graphic, TV and radio advertising, Internet advertising), language plays a predominant role in its implementation. The participants in advertising discourse are journalists, TV/radio broadcasters, TV/radio commentators, all personnel generating, transmitting and relaying texts as well as those who perceive information voluntarily or unwittingly in their field. For example, a passive passenger in a bus, subway, etc., who does not read but who sees a glimpse of an advertisement or he is not looking at it at the moment, but who is aware of its existence, is already subject to mass medial influence (Zheltukhina, 2004).

Humanity has always used a significant power of language, the ability to influence a person, forming a certain image in him. Within the framework of an advertising event, the language is transformed from a communication tool into a tool of influence on the consciousness of a potential buyer. “The potential of the word reveals in advertising discourse. A word cannot only describe a thing, but also convey the mood, and attract the attention of the potential consumer of advertised goods and services. It is called manipulation of the recipient's mind, thoughts and moods. Linguistic manipulation in advertising discourse is possible through the conscious and purposeful use of certain peculiarities of the device and the use of language (Parshin, 2000).

By its nature, advertising discourse is a pragmatic phenomenon. It establishes the relation between language units and actual conditions of their use in communicative space. At the same time, such discourse parameters as goals and expectations of communicants are important factors. In other words, advertising discourse is an area of linguistic pragmatics. According to Koltunova (2000), it is “the science that studies how a person uses language to influence the addressee and how he behaves in the process of speech communication” (p. 43).

According to the theory of G.P. Grais (Koltunova, 2000), the main unit of linguo-pragmatics is a speech act. Being its core, a speech act is “a minimal pragmatic unit of speech behavior that implements one speaker’s intent (request, advice, suggestion, etc.). A speech act is a text within a specific speech situation” (Koltunova, 2000, p. 58).

The choice of advertiser’s means is based on the pragmatic situation in which this choice is made. Such situation in the framework of linguo-pragmatics is called speech. With certain disagreements, most scientists (Yu.D. Apresian, G.P. Grais, M.V. Koltunova, and others) agree that “a speech situation is a combination of linguistic peculiarities and extralinguistic factors that within the framework of a speech act speech behavior of participants in business dialogue, for example, an advertiser and an advertising consumer” (Koltunova, 2000, p. 78).

The stated theoretical data help to formulate an intermediate conclusion that the main component of advertising discourse is speech influence. According to Shelestiuk (2008), speech exposure is “the influence exerted by the subject (advertiser) on the recipient (advertising consumer) with the help of linguistic, paralinguistic and non-linguistic symbolic means differing in the advertiser’s specific objective aims, changes in his behavior, mental state or psycho-physiological processes” (p. 74). The speech influence is in a set of speech acts united in various types: informing, proving, arguing, suggestion, psycholinguistic programming, etc. Advertising discourse highlights two main strategies: persuasion and suggestion. The aim of the paper is to analyze a suggestive component through linguistic means that ensures effectiveness of advertising discourse.

1. The strategy of speech persuasion within the framework of advertising discourse can be defined as “a set of practical activities related to the goals of language functions of the subject and subordinate to the solution of specific tasks” (Shelestiuk, 2008, p. 56). In this case, the goal of persuasion is to achieve agreement from the consumer of advertising on the logical perception of an advertising slogan using a rationale (for example, arguments). At the same time, conviction is “a system of conscious and organized influence on the cognitive component of the human psyche by transmitting information (Shelestiuk, 2008).

2. Suggestion. According to Cherepanova (1999), “... one of the most mysterious problems of mankind. It (suggestion) is referred as the ability to impose diverse actions at the level of unconscious fabrication of the psyche of the consumer to a specific perception. At the same time, suggestion is an arsenal of means and methods of the directed influence on the human psyche” (p. 294). For example, what makes an ordinary buyer leave the entire salary, and sometimes savings in the supermarket on “Black Friday” (Black Friday)? Consider an example of a suggestive advertising slogan: «Don’t be in the red, be in the black. (The day is called Black Friday. The name comes from the tradition of recording profits in black ink and losses in red. Black Friday is when stores hope to return to the black for the year)». The next day, a person discovers that he has bought many unnecessary things. This is the effect of suggestion.

As a component of ordinary human communication, suggestion also acts as a “special type of communication with a set of verbal (word, text, discourse, etc.) and non-verbal (mimicry, gestures, environment, etc.) means. The need for verbal means to achieve suggestion shows that this problem is both linguistic and psychological” (Cherepanova, 1999, p. 193).

The study of suggestion using linguistic means that ensure the effectiveness of advertising discourse is the subject of a study of suggestive linguistics. Cherepanova (1999) defines it as “linguistic theory explaining the effect of language on a person’s subconscious (in our case, the consumer of advertising)” (p. 201). Since the aim of this study is to examine language factors of suggestion, all practical illustrative material based on advertising of food products is used further in linguistic interpretation.

For linguists (V.V. Krasnykh, S.V. Moshcheva, O.D. Shmeleva, and others) who study cognitive advertising discourse and related problems of stereotyping, mythologization, metaphorics, the theory of Zheltukhina (2003) on suggestion tropes in mass media advertising discourse is the most important (Krasnykh, 2003). In this theory, Zheltukhina (2003) states that the markers of the realization of suggestive effect of the tropes on the addressee are figurativeness, emotionality, expressiveness and stereotype. At the same time, linguo-cognitive and linguo-pragmatic mechanisms of the speech influence of tropes are in advertising discourse by suggestive psychotechnics.

The study used a descriptive method, and a method of semantic analysis. A study of practical material has shown that a dominant position (over 65%) among suggestive tropes within the framework of advertising discourse is a metaphor. According to Zheltukhina (2004), it is "an effective way to appeal to the unconscious psyche of the consumer. A metaphor carries a message in which an object is described or expressed in the language of another object. At the same time, it adjusts to the addressee’s metaphoric field” (p. 311).

- It gives you wings – advertising of energy drink Red Bull;

- Bounty – The Taste Of Paradise – advertising of chocolate Bounty;

- Buy a bucket of chicken and have a barrel of joy – advertising of fast food restaurant KFC;

- It takes two hands to hold a whopper – advertising of fast food restaurant Burger King and others.

Frequency suggestive paths in advertising discourse are also:

Comparison – a trope in which the assimilation of one object or phenomenon to another on any common grounds for them:

- Cool as a mountain stream – advertising of tobacco Consulate;

- More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette – advertising of tobacco Camel;

- Good coffee is like friendship: rich, and warm and strong – advertising of instant coffee Pan American Coffee Bureau and others.

Epithet - the definition of the word, affecting its expressiveness:

- The great American chocolate bar – advertising of chocolate Hershey Chocolate;

- Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined – advertising of restaurant Hooters;

- Piercing Energy That Strikes Back – advertising of energy drink Venom;

- When you’re crazy for chicken – advertising of fast food restaurant Dairy Queen;

- A big delight in every bite – advertising of American cake Twinkie and others.

Hyperbola - a stylistic figure of explicit and intentional subjective exaggeration, its aim is to enhance expressiveness and separation of the voiced thought:

- A cup of Tetley and you're ready for anything! – advertising of tea Tetley Tea;

- Tylos tea … it’s a part of your life! – advertising of tea Tylos;

- Dilmah. The finest tea on earth – advertising of tea Dilmah and others.

Impersonation - a trope that attributes signs of animated objects to the product being advertised:

- Makes mouths happy – advertising of chewing marmalade Twizzler;

- Red Bull. Vitalizes body and mind– advertising of energy drink Red Bull;

- Obey your thirst – advertising of fizzy drink Sprite and others.

Studied examples have shown that “suggestive influence within the framework of advertising discourse has precedent names and statements (quotations, idioms, proverbs, sayings), often transformed to achieve the effect of suggestion in the language game” (Moscheva, 2008, p. 34).

- A Mars a day helps you work rest and play – based on English proverb An apple a day keeps a doctor away;

- Сherry Heering breaks the ice! – refers to English idiom To break the ice;

- Good to the last drop – advertising of coffee Maxwell;

- Farewell to the Ugly Cigarette – advertising of cigarettes Eve, which is an allusion to Ernest Hemingway's novel “Farewell to Arms”.

Based on the analysis of practical material, it is clear that idioms have special suggestiveness, which cause the consumer a number of familiar associations, updating visual possibilities and figurative interpretation of the slogan and / or suggestive advertising appeal to the target audience. Zheltukhina and Shmeleva (2014) also emphasize the syntactic aspect of suggestive influence within the framework of advertising discourse.

One of the most effective techniques at the level of expressive syntax is repetition that creates symmetrical sentence constructs. In this case, not only individual lexemes can be repeated, but also syntactic constructions: Nothing smells as good as coffee, nothing tastes as good as coffee, and nothing satisfies like coffee – advertising of Camp Coffee and others.

When interacting with other methods, in particular, psychological and technological (for example, the “25 frame” method or the method of influencing the subconscious mind by inserting additional frames of hidden advertising in the video), syntactic repetition can lead to a suggestive result. For example, during the period when tobacco advertising was universally permitted in the United States, advertising manufacturers were asked to promote a new type of cigarette called More. At that moment, an advertising slogan was formulated based on syntactic repetition. Its presentation technology was designed for suggestive perception:

«The «More» you smoke it – the «More» you like it; the «More» you like it – the «More» you buy it; the «More» you buy it – the «More» you smoke it (the end of suggestive circle» (Sevostianov, 2018).

The result of this advertising campaign met investors’ expectations. During the year, the sales of cigarettes More in domestic and international markets exceeded the sales of all the most well-known American cigarettes. Since that time, cigarettes have become one of the best-selling cigarettes in the United States.

If the advertising slogan is in the form of a question, then there is an illusion of dialogue between the advertiser and the addressee. The answer to the question is not implied. In this advertising discourse there is a rhetorical question, which is question-statement, which does not imply an answer. For example, Wendy's fast food chain advertising slogan: Where's the beef? ( food-slogans-annotated), which appeared in 1984, has become a universal advertising phrase used to date. Wendy's advertising campaign strategy tackled the challenge of reducing interest in fast-food giants such as McDonald's and Burger King.

From the point of view of suggestion, elliptical constructions are effective. At the same time, ellipse is an intentional omission of words that are not essential for the meaning of an expression. Omitted members of the sentence can be restored by referring to the context: Makes mouths happy - chewing marmalade Twizzlers; Smoking prohibited. PEZing allowed - the particle is omitted in passive sentence.

Research Questions

The object of the research is English-language advertising discourse. The subject of the study is speech exposure through advertising.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the paper is to study the suggestive component with linguistic tools that ensure the effectiveness of advertising discourse.

Research Methods

To solve the given tasks, the following research methods were used: theoretical - analysis of the related research papers of modern researchers; descriptive and semantic methods (description of the semantic component of advertising slogans.


The results of the study and basic theoretical provisions of the paper and factual material have direct practicality in the study of linguistics, stylistics, English, and can also be used in research for students and everyone interested in this topic.


Thus, the study of tropes used to realize a speech effect on the addressee, proved that the most frequently used stylistic device in advertising slogans is a metaphor, 65% of total number of examples. Researchers of modern advertising discourse note that the suggestive function of advertising impact on mass unconscious now dominates an information factor by imposing a corresponding worldview on the consumer. Consequently, suggestive advertising does not develop thinking, but it makes people’s thinking in the direction set by the advertiser (Zheltukhina, 2003).


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28 December 2019

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Tasataeva, K., Khakieva, Z., Abueva, M., Tasueva*, S., & Mantsaeva, A. (2019). To Question Of Suggestion In Advertising Discourse. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 3074-3080). Future Academy.