Signposting the inferencing route: a relevance theoretic analysis of intertextuality and metaphors in print advertisements

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English: This article reports an analysis of the manner in which copywriters use direct and indirect product claims to guide consumers’ interpretations of metaphors in print advertisements. The analysis utilises a relevance theoretic framework, and the results are illustrated by means of a qualitative analysis of four case studies, taken from a larger sample of 120 print advertisements. The first stage of the analysis employs the concept ‘intertextuality’ to study the manner in which advertising texts construct the intertext as the source of a metaphor, with the advertised product as the target. In the second stage, a relevance theoretic framework is used to investigate the role that direct and indirect claims play in guiding consumers’ interpretations of the product claims inherent in these metaphors. To achieve the latter aim, Simpson’s (2001) ‘reason’ and ‘tickle’ constructs are used.