The Research Institute for Bilingual Learning and Teaching (RIBiLT) at the Open University of Hong Kong has invited Prof. Jeannette Littlemore to visit the Open University of Hong Kong as part of the Distinguished Professor Seminar Series 2016/17. As the Principal investigator of the EMMA project, Jeannette will give a number of talks on metaphor and advertising, featuring the most recent results obtained in our studies on multimodal metaphor comprehension by cross-cultural audiences.

Jeannette Littlemore is a Professor of English Language  and Applied Linguistics in the English Language Department at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on metaphor and metonymy in cross-cultural communication and language learning. She is also interested in applications of cognitive linguistics to second language teaching. Her most recent book is Metonymy: Hidden Shortcuts in Language/ Thoughts and Communication.

As part of a number of activities and events organised for her visit to the Open University of Hong Kong, she will give a specialised seminar on Metaphor and Advertising.

To be effective, advertisements need to capture attention, and to be both emotionally engaging and persuasive. In order to achieve these aims, many advertisements make use of metaphor as it is a particularly noticeable, persuasive and powerful form of communication. Studies have shown that metaphor is more effective than literal language, and visual metaphors have been found to be more effective than verbal metaphors. Additionally, brands using metaphors have been found to be generally perceived to be more sophisticated and exciting, but also less 'sincere' and less 'competent', than brands using literal words and pictures. 

In this talk, I explore the reasons why metaphor is so effective in advertising, and present the findings from a series of studies that I have conducted alone and with colleagues. These studies have investigated, among other things, the role of metaphorical complexity, and the extent to which the presence of metaphor relates to appreciation of advertisements and speed in understanding them; the relationship between the presence and positioning of metaphor and other types of figurative language and the likelihood with which video advertisements will go viral; and cross-cultural variation in responses to advertisements containing different kinds of metaphor. I also explore the responses of participants with different levels of experience with marketing, and with different levels of 'need for cognition'. 

Save the date: 21st January 2017

Time: 11:00 am

Venue: A0411, Homantin Campus,  OUHK