Samantha Ford

Samantha Ford

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: The creativity of figurative messaging in advertising: A collaborative investigation into its application and measurement of success in real-world advertising campaigns
Supervisors: Professor Jeannette Littlemore ,  Dr Bodo Winter and Anthony Tattum (CEO Big Cat Marketing and Creative Advertising Agency)
PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics


  • Masters by Research in English Language and Applied Linguistics, no corrections, July 2019, University of Birmingham
  • Bachelors with Honours in English Language, first class, July 2017, University of Birmingham
  • A Levels: English Literature (A*), English Language (B), Music (B), and Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma, July 2014, Monmouth Comprehensive School
  • 11 GCSEs: A*-As including English Language (A*), English Literature (A), Mathematics (A), Statistics (A), and Merit in ICT Aida, July 2012, Monmouth Comprehensive School

  • British Sign Language Level 1, Signature, August 2018
  • Personal Skills Award Advanced, University of Birmingham, March 2017
  • Grade 8 in practical music performance, ABRSM, July 2016


I am particularly interested in the role of metaphor and metonymy as marketing tools used both online and offline, and their influence on consumer behaviour. I believe in collaborative and open access research that combines cross-disciplinary expertise with practitioner experience to gain an informed insight into how figurative and conceptual devices such as metaphor and metonymy may be harnessed to improve our understanding, communication, and positive impact on society through ethical and effective marketing campaigns.


  • Module tutor for BA Creative practice: Language, 2018/2019, University of Birmingham
  • English Language and Linguistics Lab, 2017/2018, University of Birmingham
  • ‘Apply yourself’ Peer Presenter 2017/2018, Careers Network, University of Birmingham
  • Forward Thinking Outreach Mentor 2015/2016, Careers Network, University of Birmingham


I research figurative creativity and its use and effectiveness in advertising campaigns through the lens of linguistics and cognitive science. My PhD project is in collaboration with Big Cat Marketing and Creative Advertising Agency, funded by Midlands4Cities Arts and Humanities Research Council. Figurative creativity involves conceptual and rhetorical devices such as metaphor, metonymy, hyperbole, and irony, iconicity, and sound symbolism. Their use and effectiveness are measured through a series of experiments and by observing their performance in live advertising campaigns by social and not-for-profit organisations, charities, and trusts.

Other activities


  • Littlemore, J., Pérez-Sobrino, P., Ford, S. (forthcoming) Unpacking creativity: The role of figurative communication in advertising. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Ford, S., Littlemore, J., Houghton, D., Pérez-Sobrino, P., Big Cat Marketing and Creative Advertising Agency (in preparation) Talking taboo: Engaging consumers on sensitive topics in social advertising using metaphor and humour in a sexual health campaign
  • Ford, S., Winter, B., Littlemore, J. (in preparation) The visual language of virtual product design: The semiotics of colour and shape in smartphone app icons
  • Pérez-Sobrino, P., Ford, S. (in preparation) What makes a multimodal metaphor? Rethinking and identification protocol of multimodal metaphor and metonymy in advertising
  • Ford, S., Winter, B., Pérez-Sobrino, P. (in preparation) Multimodal metaphor and metonymy and the figurative complexity of mobile phone advertising: A comparison between mobile phone manufacturer and network provider advertisements