Contraceptive advertising - A critical multimodal analysis

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 2016, 13 (1-3), pp. 321 - 342
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© 2018, Equinox Publishing. Co-authored by a discourse analyst, a branding expert and medical researchers and practitioners, this paper presents a multimodal discourse analysis of advertisements for contraceptive products in magazines and journals aimed at general practitioners, gynecologists and obstetricians. It combines genre analysis and multimodal image, layout, colour and typography analysis to show how such advertisements link specific types of women to specific products and product attributes and benefits, and how product branding invokes values such as health, sexual freedom, sexuality, femininity, strength and reliability, which combine in different ways to create distinct identities for specific products. The findings show that the way the advertisements link products and users does not align with medical evidence, and that in general they do not represent the full range of factors that play a role in choosing contraceptive methods and products - indeed, they are far removed from the realities of the consultation room.
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