The unique language of advertising – the art of winning customers over

You can barely get away from advertising: it is omnipresent and encountered wherever you go on the street, online, and in print. Sometimes it’s annoying, sometimes it’s entertaining and sometimes it simply makes you smile.


You can barely get away from advertising: it is omnipresent and encountered wherever you go on the street, online, and in print. Sometimes it’s annoying, sometimes it’s entertaining and sometimes it simply makes you smile: but what’s so special about the language of advertising, and what makes it so distinctive?

Creative and catchy slogans - but how?

The language of advertising is a unique form of language: it is both stage-managed and aimed at a specific audience. Through advertising and their specific choice of language, copywriters want to achieve a specific goal, namely to extol the virtues of a product or service in order to sell it. The language of advertising often features multiple adjectives to highlight a product’s qualities: something is labeled as great, outstanding, or perfect.

Through the use of specific words, advertisers aim to attract attention. Advertising slogans should be spontaneous, funny, and even provocative. Those who work in advertising try to “think outside the box” and create creative, catchy slogans. To do so, they latch on to current events and popular phrases and idioms, such as the advertising for a chocolat brand, which turned “Love at first sight” into “Love at first bite” (though referring to the action of snapping off a piece of chocolate to eat it). The effect was achieved by referencing a familiar saying to build trust and endear the product to the consumer.slogans-enjoy

Puns in advertising

One of the aims of the language used in advertising is to increase the future recognition of the product or brand, so that potential purchasers can identify with the product. By ensuring that a slogan gets noticed, advertising can contribute to increasing the memorability of a product. The German food delivery service, Lieferando, captioned images with puns such as “Ich bin Dir Farfalle“ (“I’ve farfallen for you”) or “Wasabi da nur bestellt?!” (“Wasabi [what have we] got here then?”). 

Advertising is also characterized by the use of loan words, specialist language, and short, incisive phrases, slogans, and neologisms. The interplay of images and texts also plays an important role: “Please do not leave your snacks unattended” appeared on billboards for a chocolate brand at major railway stations. The caption was a reference to an announcement, regularly played to travelers, “Please do not leave your bags unattended”. As such, this ad only works in conjunction with the specific location; outside this context, observers simply wouldn’t understand what it was trying to say. Nonetheless, at the right location, the billboard induces a wry smile and, through the overall context, the observer grasps the meaning behind the pun and thus the entire advertisement.

Advertising plays with language and uses humor to re-contextualize everyday expressions. Good advertising has the same effect as a successful name for a business, appearing charming and unobtrusive, or funny and entertaining.

What kind of advertising slogans do you find most effective?

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