Academic Master


An analysis of the use of intertextuality, symbolism, and polysemy as communication tools in print advertisements


When people think about the touring advertisements, the picture that comes to their mind is the people driving Toyota Prado, BMW, and Mercedes. The traditional advertisement techniques employed in this advertisement focus on convincing passive consumers that the product is superior to the others available in the market (Jones, 1990). However, these do not carry the same power as active consumers who expect the advertisement to be creative (Fill and Turnbull, 2016). Moreover, both passive and active consumers expect the advertisement to be entertaining and have layers of meaning that may be subjectively decoded and deconstructed. As a result of the advancement in the level of literacy of the customer, advertisers have to fully depend on more creative visual approaches to communicate with their audience compared to the use of product-based data as a major technique of persuasion (Andrews and Shimp, 2017). Further, with the cumulative dependence on the weak theories of advertising, which only focus on building long-term brand equity by appealing to the emotions of the consumers, the traditional strong theories focus on the sales-oriented as well as aim to target the consumer rational thinking (Elliott, and Wattanasuwan, 1998). Thus, traditional advertisement is considered an ineffective and outdated strategy in the advertisement sector.

The products like the ones in the touring cars that need low consumer involvement are usually deemed to be quite ordinary. Therefore, several people do not have any emotional connection with the products (Andrews and Shimp, 2017). Therefore, for all the categories of low-involvement consumer products, the meaning-based strategies for advertising are specifically considered to be beneficial since they permit the brands to advertise the values that uphold relationships with the customers who identify with the values. Within full companies like the touring one, the objective of the advertising is dependent on persuading individuals to immediately purchase the product rather than creating marketing for a certain brand. Moreover, to create an advertisement that is considered to be less oriented and more interesting to the clients, the advertisers should borrow the rhetorical approaches from the socio-cultural and semiotic theories, which include symbolism, polysemy as well as intertextuality to create the required meaning and create a visual argument for the brand (Andrews and Shimp, 2017). Overall, the essay will critically assess how symbolism, polysemy, and intertextuality can be utilized to improve consumer brand connections through emotional appeals in situations where people have become resistant to traditional sale-oriented advertisements.

The first technique used in the advertisement is intertextuality. This occurs because the ad makes various references to other discourses, such as a cultural text, events, and films, among others. By this technique, advertisers are aware of the cultural background of the consumers. Therefore, the audience will identify and understand the brand that is being advertised (Elliott and Wattanasuwan, 1998). Also, intertextuality allows the audience or consumers to attach more meaning to the product. As such, there is emotional interconnectedness between the product and the audience.

Another technique is symbolism, which is a tool that is used not only in literature but also in advertisements. It helps to appeal to the consumers’ emotions. It attaches meaning to what the consumers are looking for in a particular product (Wang, 2015). These meanings appeal to people’s culture. Therefore, symbols speak many words in the advert, and one can easily demand and connect to the brand.

The last technique that is discussed is polysemy, which occurs when an advert may be interpreted in many ways by particular customers, or rather when different target audiences attach unique meanings to the product, which is achieved through purposeful ambiguity in communication a particular ad and the meaning are then dependent on the cultural context.

Polysemy meanings will engage the audience while entertaining them. The company, by extension, manufactures and conducts the marketing and selling of quality products. The campaigns are imperative in helping the brand gain a competitive advantage over its rival brands. The customers will, therefore, develop a liking for the particular brand, making it gain popularity. The beverage industry is a competitive sector, and so with effective campaigns, the brand will soar over the competitors. With the intense campaigning and strategies highlighted, the company would be able to achieve its objectives in the target market segment. This discussion also elaborates on the objectives of the communication campaign. Various illustrations will be provided to cover the entire scope. Images and messages used by the company are analyzed to observe the effectiveness of the campaign strategy in meeting its objectives. The company has made considerable advertisements in magazines due to the readability of the ad technique. The strategy has impacted positively on the marketing initiative for the new brand. The Internet has been of paramount value as a communication campaign tool for the company to meet its marketing agenda. The campaigns are imperative in making the brand gain a competitive advantage over the rival cars in the industry. Customers will, therefore, develop a liking for the particular type of car, making it popular. The car industry is a competitive sector, and so with effective campaigns, the car will soar over the competitors. With the intense campaigning and strategies highlighted, the company would be able to achieve its objectives in the target market segment.

The first example is an art print advertisement for a BMW. The print ad placed on a dark background reveals the BMW as the strongest supercar (Wang, 2015). The company primarily aims to maximize its profits. The company, therefore, largely invests in marketing to achieve the objective through the communication campaign. The company has come up with the six best communication campaign strategies in the world, Think Small being one of them. It is, therefore, easier to evaluate the market segment for the creation of the right content for the advertisement for the product in question. It significantly aided the company in cutting costs while penetrating higher audience levels.

The ad by Mercedes makes it clear from the beginning to the target audience. A middle-aged man who has wealth and seeks to have prestige by owning a Mercedes and they are really interested in comfortable product spending through Mercedes (Wang, 2015). The ad has shown the car as having a sleek appearance at the car, both exterior as well as interior. The car is generally attractive and looks quite strong. Through intertextuality, the ad was aimed at providing self-esteem as well as creating the need for status recognition, which many people in this vast marketplace are looking for. The ad can be interpreted using Maslow’s theory of needs, in which after buying this car, one will be assumed to have archived their goals up the ladder in the hierarchy of needs. Thus, the ad has struck the emotions of the larger market audience by showing a product that is not only luxurious but also safe. Indeed, the brand is iconic, a status that will help many consumers realize the fourth level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Overall, this was what Mercedes ad was looking for: a people or market that is yet to realize a new status by owning a luxurious product that gives value for money.

The ad stays closer to the consumer’s lives and “hearts” by giving them an opportunity to experience the feeling of buying a luxurious car. The advert’s underlying message to its consumers is that the safety system is crucial. This comes after there have been many deaths that are occurring on the roads, and it has become a public concern that needs to be mitigated. Thus, the ad gets into the emotions of the consumers by assuring them that the car is safe (Hackley and Hackley, 2015). The advert suggests that the Mercedes brand is reliable and luxurious. The advert successfully sharpened and reshaped the image of the brand and significantly enhanced it with the most relevant product values of management, protection, innovation, and perfection. Also, the advert showed the features the product achieved better, prominently the competitive advantage that the car chain has over its rivals (Elliott and Wattanasuwan, 1998). Them to look at the image further. The ad image and its copy overtly communicate that BMW is meant to ensure all times, summer and winter, with its color intact.

The second ad is that of a Toyota Prado car. The Prado is revealed to be driven on a non-tarmacked road. The implication is that the Pardo is a four-wheel drive that does not get stuck in mud or unlevelled roads. Also, the ad reveals that the car can be used for touring. Animals such as zebras and leopards, among others, can be seen because cars can penetrate the park (Hackley and Hackley, 2015).

The products and power equipment are safe for use and bring a lot of fun as consumers experience unending fun and enjoyment when using them. The company relies on a wide supply base to manufacture a perfect mix of products available to the market. Toyota Pardo is committed to powering the dreams of the current generation and of those to come. The company has a large market base world over due to the popularity of the products they manufacture in the automobile industry (Wang, 2015). The company provides the best world experience for their automobile and power products, which consumers are also taken into consideration.

The ad profile shows the company’s commitment to including consumers in its current and future prospects. The people in the picture are lifted high up into the air, showing the undying strength and the ability of the company to be limitless. The ad also is an embodiment of the same spirit; the company’s ability to soar is limitless. It is symbolic of the consumers’ excitement that whoever ventures into the world of cars will indeed get the satisfaction that they need. With Toyota Prado, one does not need to fear because your safety is taken into consideration. The ad also explains that the products from Toyota Pardo can be trusted. It is the commitment of the world team in the company that has constantly maintained the quality of the brand. The company has a profound culture in which every individual feels valued.

The final example is a print advertisement for a red colored Mercedes, featuring a rather bizarre illustration of the prestige that comes with the car. The car looks small and strong with bright colors.

BMW is the brand that has usually positioned itself in order to satisfy the esteem of its consumers who seek to attain the status of a higher social class (Greenfield, 2016). Usually, such clients are looking for high-end products to showcase their social status. BMW a long-standing product within the car industry have usually managed to control the interest of several potential consumers as well as retain that of current users. The BMW is portrayed as eco-friendly in the ad. BMW’s target audience is believed to be those people who are scouting for a high-performance car that will placate their lifestyles.

Through the use of intertextuality, the BMW appeals to the emotion as well as rationale. Thus, the ad aims to assist in elevating the message of a brand that has luxury and power. The advert reflects the brand’s positioning as well as its image. Moreover, the ad communicates the advantages of the product (Lagerwerf and Meijers 2008). Hence, the targeted market replicates the characteristics. The ad showcases BMW as promoting a lifestyle that many people yearn to replicate their status. Overall, the BMW advertisement appeals to audiences who have the financial capability to buy a car (Wang, 2015). The social class linked with BMW appeals to higher-class people who are socially conscious. Moreover, BMW remains one of the most prosperous players in the automobile industry. The attitude of the brand, BMW, equates to luxury.

Luxury brands suggest a strong and lasting image within the consumer’s heart as well as mind. For the majority of consumers, the BMW brand confers social status on the holder and becomes part and parcel of these clients’ personal identities, including who they are and what their value systems are. The ad is linked to confidence, motivation, as well as admirable feature of the car (Wang, 2015). These groups of clients tend to trust that their social reception among class is related to the brands they own. BMW positions itself to justify the fact that it belongs to a higher social status and has a higher sense of taste for automobiles. The advertisement, BMW, reflects the key elements of product positioning. The advert makes an intertextuality reference as to how people and animals are staring at the car. The implication is that it is a beautiful car. In this case, the mud or dirt on the car symbolizes the imminence and how the car is a four-wheel drive and cannot get stuck in the mud. The ad presents in detail the communication marketing campaign deployed by the company to meet its objective. It is, therefore, imperative to evaluate the marketing communication campaign the company intends to use for the newly introduced brands to the market since the new brand has not gained popularity (Najafian and Ketabi, 2011).

The ad tends to educate and provide relevant information to the target customers, the consumers, and buyers. For instance, the ad implies that Mercedes provides information about the car being portable and efficient with a low fuel consumption rate. The car is also easy to maintain. The customers are thus well aware of the type of car they are purchasing and its power, strength, and durability before they purchase it. The information provided is, therefore, positive as it is educational and relevant to the effect (Armstrong, Kotler, Harker, and Brennan, 2015). Open communication about the company’s commodity significantly earns the trust of the consumers on the legality of the car and its value. Therefore, the ad is imperative in making the brand gain a competitive advantage over the rival cars in the industry (Friestad and Wright, 1994). The customers will, therefore, develop a liking for the particular type of car, making it gain popularity; customers will, therefore, develop a liking for the particular brand, making it gain popularity. The car industry is a competitive sector, and so with effective campaigns, the brand will soar over the competitors. With the intense campaigning and strategies highlighted, the company would be able to achieve its objectives in the target market segment (Andrews and Shimp, 2017). The desires of the customer can then be reinforced based on their buying culture. The company can thus integrate the lifestyles of the customers.

The communication campaigns have been categorically launched to achieve some objectives. The company primarily aims to maximize its profits. The company, therefore, largely invests in marketing to achieve the objective through the communication campaign. Through the ads, the above three car companies have gained competitive advantages. A competitive advantage develops when the firm performs discrete activities, for instance, regarding the method the company employs to conduct advertising, new technologies, and use the new process in the business (Wang, 2015). Maintainable competitive benefit entails all the elements of the ways the company competes within the marketplace by distribution, pricing, manufacturing quality, client value, and promotion of ranges.

Also, through the ads, maintainable competitive benefit requires being intensely embedded in the skills, resources, investment, and culture of the company over a period. The organization can maintain a competitive advantage through the execution of strategically essential activities better compared to the group of rivals (Fill and Turnbull, 2016). Thus, the sustainable competitive benefit provides the company with the capabilities to stay in front of the potential competition. Hence, the company’s superior performance reaches a competitive advantage and ensures market leadership. Further, the resources can be tradable and distinctively tied to the people in the business.


In summary, three types of ads for BMW, Toyota Prado, and Mercedes clearly reflect the class of cars that give people status and money for their value. Through polysemy symbolism and intertextuality, the ads clearly convinces the clients that the advertised ads are the best and raises their social status. The cars are revealed to be safe and have got quality that make the durable and reliable.


Andrews, J.C., and Shimp, T.A., 2017. Advertising, promotion, and other aspects of integrated marketing communications. Nelson Education.

Armstrong, G., Kotler, P., Harker, M. and Brennan, R., 2015. Marketing: an introduction. Pearson Education.

Belch, G.E., Belch, M.A., Kerr, G.F., and Powell, I., 2014. Advertising: An integrated marketing communication perspective. McGraw-Hill Education.

Elliott, R. and Wattanasuwan, K., 1998. Brands as symbolic resources for the construction of identity. International Journal of Advertising, 17(2), pp.131-144.

Fill, C. and Turnbull, S.L., 2016. Marketing communications: brands, experiences, and participation.

Friestad, M. and Wright, P., 1994. The persuasion knowledge model: How people cope with persuasion attempts. Journal of consumer research21(1), pp.1-31.

Greenfield, S., 2016. Giving the Global High Sign: Coca-Cola Advertising of the “American Way” in Life Magazine, 1941-1947.

Hackley, C. and Hackley, R. (2015). Advertising & Promotion. 3rd ed. London: SAGE Publications.

Jones, J.P., 1990. Advertising: strong force or weak force? Two views an ocean apart. International Journal of Advertising, 9(3), pp.233-246.

Lagerwerf, L. and Meijers, A., 2008. Openness in metaphorical and straightforward advertisements: appreciation effects. Journal of Advertising37(2), pp.19-30.

Najafian, M. and Ketabi, S., 2011. Advertising social semiotic representation: a critical approach. International Journal of Industrial Marketing, 1(1), p.63.

Wang, M., 2015. Brief Analysis of Sports Marketing Strategy Adopted by Coca-Cola Company. Ehrenberg, A., Barnard, N., Kennedy, R. and Bloom, H., 2002. Brand advertising as creative publicity. Journal of Advertising Research, 42(4), pp.7-18.



Calculate Your Order

Standard price





Pop-up Message