Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Volume 4
  • ISSN 1572-0268
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0276
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This paper claims that scents, alone and/or in combination with visual and/or verbal support, are made to function metaphorically in ads since they symbolize something different (i.e., sexuality, romanticism, etc.) from the physical odor directly conveyed by each fragrance (i.e., floral, woody, oriental, etc.). Drawing on Lakoff and Johnson’s assertion that metaphors are fundamentally nonlinguistic devices, on the application of metaphor theory to pictures and film, and on investigations into olfactory metaphors and synaesthesias, our empirical analyses have found first that odors in perfumes are not indexes but symbols which give rise to olfactory metaphors; secondly, that olfactory metaphors do not stand alone in print ads for perfume; and thirdly, that the advertiser (mostly the composite of copywriters and art directors) succeeds in using olfactory and olfactory-mixed metaphors, as part of the overall covert communication that permeates advertising.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): advertising; metaphor; olfaction; pragmatics; semiotics
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