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Functional Analysis of Dove


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E303 Project Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of UNITED KINGDOM OPEN UNIVERSITY/ ARAB OPEN UNIVERSITY for the Degree of




Grace Abou Zeid

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”



I hereby declare that the project work entitled “FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS of DOVE CAMPAIGN for REAL BEAUTY” submitted to the ARAB OPEN UNIVERSITY, is a record of an original work done by me under the guidance of Mrs. Ph.D. HAYAT AL-KHATIB, Head PG Dept Of English Language & Literature, ARAB OPEN UNIVERSITY - LEBANON, and this project work is submitted in the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Bachelor of English Language & Literature. The results embodied in this thesis have not been submitted to any other University or Institute for the award of any degree or diploma.


Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”



I owe a great many thanks to a great many people who helped and supported me during the writing of this project.

My deepest thanks go to DR. HAYAT AL-KHATIB, my SUPERVISOR, for guiding and correcting various documents of mine with attention and care.

I also express thanks to the DIRECTOR of ARAB OPEN UNIVERSITY – LEBANON for the constant encouragement and stimulating atmosphere provided to students.

Thanks and appreciation to the helpful people at ARAB OPEN UNIVERSITY Learning Resource Centre, for their support.

I would also thank my Institution and my faculty members without whom this project would have been a distant reality. I also extend my heartfelt thanks to my family and well wishers.

And to God, who made all things possible.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”



The standard of beauty today, at least as many women perceive this standard via the mass media in general and advertising in particular, is unnatural, unhealthy, and unrealistic. The purpose of this study is to probe deeper into the methods of verbal grammar in the multimodal text in the field of advertisement. This study was based on Dove’ advertisements, and on a related questionnaire that was filled by informants. Results and relevant findings reveal that language in advertisements has an enormous impact on consumers’ behavior. Hence, the discussion of this research project elaborates how lexicogrammatical patterns, in an advertisement context, are used to realize the meaning behind the scene as intended by the advertiser. Therefore, I’ve chosen the Hallidayan framework in conducting an interpretative analysis. Halliday’s work emphasizes that language cannot be divided from meaning. Finally, it is hoped that through the detailed analysis of all Dove’ ads, advertising language features can be summarized and possible conclusion can be given in the light of persuasiveness and effectiveness of advertising. Key words: functional analysis; English advertisement; language impact

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”





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Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”



Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”



Title, Aim & Theme of the Study:


I’ve chosen this research to investigate the influence of language in advertisements in constructing and transmitting a message, through specific choice of language, to the target audience. Hopefully, by the end of this project, I would find answers to the following questions, which eventually would indicate specific lexicogrammatical patterns of the effective use of English language in advertisement. • What meanings are encoded by advertising at the ideational and interpersonal levels? • How does advertising influence consumer’s choice of the product? • How do language choices construct solidarity between addresser and addressee?

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”


As for the advertisement, I’ve chosen Dove Campaign for Real Beauty because it aims to empower participants (girls & women) by promoting the idea of “being yourself” and create new ways to view beauty, body image and self-esteem. In addition to the fact that cosmetics companies and media portray images of impossible perfection taking confidence away from women while Dove’s brand image is of simplicity, purity and innocence. However, there’s a hidden aim (or message) of this campaign. Although Dove’s Campaign provides an alternative definition of beauty and seeks to unite women through this shared concept of “real beauty”, it also promotes, encourages and convinces participants (or consumers) to buy its products (in other words as if it says: “want real beauty then buy Dove”). Even though the data is directed to the female consumers, the analysis will considerate all the audiences of both genders, as men are also stimulated by such genre of advertisements; many women have affirmed that most of the men they know usually tend to ask them such typical questions: what’s your beauty secret? Is it Dove?

Thus, in this project, the focus of analysis will be on: • How meanings are encoded by advertisements.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”


• Lexical sets predominating in the advertisements, their reflection and roles that they convey. • Type of relationship established among the participants involved in the advertisements. • Interaction between visual and verbal English. • Patterns of transitivity and the types of processes used.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”


Literature Review

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“ADVERTISING” is of great importance in our world of competition. It is important for both advertiser and intended consumer. However, consumers cannot quickly purchase a product they see advertised unless media outlets allow them to interact with the messages being delivered; then the ability of advertising to quickly stimulate demand will improve.

Ever since Man roamed the earth, advertisements have existed; indeed, archaeologists have found evidence of advertising dating back to the 3000s BC, among the Babylonians. However, from ancient times to the modern era, advertising has greatly evolved. Advertising as a discrete form is generally agreed to have begun with newspapers in the seventeenth century, which included line or classified advertising (mediaknowall). Back then, advertising was a kind of early commercial information. In other words, the main aim of advertising in the early centuries was only to provide consumers with basic information about the advertised product, its price, features, uses and advantages rather than also encouraging and persuading them to purchase and buy this specific product. Hence, until the late nineteenth

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century, simple descriptions of products served their purpose. However, this changed when advertising entered the modern years. The development of advertising was greatly influenced by technological advances, which meant that illustrations could be added to advertising, and color was also an option. Consequently, advertisement had become a major force in marketing, and had achieved a significant level of respect and esteem. In order to better understand the status of the advertising industry in today’s world, it is helpful to have good background knowledge of its history and to appreciate and validate the factors which influenced the effectiveness of advertisements such as space, text, pictures, colour, sound, movement and entertainment value, as to the phases that contributed to the progression of advertising. The timeline below shows respectively some of the constantly changing phases in the history of mankind that advertising went through, starting from verbal advertising to branding and marketing.

Ancient Times

The very first form of advertisement was vocal - the shouting of announcements

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The Seventeenth Century

• •

Advertisements in the form of newspapers Simple and straightforward descriptions of products

No embellishment

Late Nineteenth Century

• • •

Industrial Revolution - technological advances Explicit branding was introduced Thomas Barratt o o

The father of modern advertising With the introduction of the series of advertisements promoting a product called '®Pears Soap', placing more emphasis on marketing the product

Emergence of advertising agencies


The idea of the commercial break was introduced by NBC executive Sylvester Weaver

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Marketing through the Internet became more and more popular

Twenty First Century

Product placements - embedded advertisements, such as in Hollywood movies

History of Advertising (Effective Advertising)

But what does the future hold for advertising? There is no reason to suspect that advertising will not continue to reinvent itself, discover new media, and develop new techniques. Advertising is something that we are all exposed to. It is something that is likely to affect most of us in different parts of our lives. Hence, it is reasonable to say that we live in a world of advertising. So what is advertising? How can we define it? What is the most widely known terminology of advertising? Today, definitions of advertising differ. We might define it as communication process, a marketing process, an economic and social process, a public relations process or information and persuasion process (Arens, 1996). Another definition of advertising is: "Advertising is the non

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personal communication of information usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature about products, services or ideas by identified sponsors through the various media" (Bovee, 1992). According to Kotler (1988), the purpose of advertising is to enhance potential buyers’ responses to the organization and its offering by channeling desire, and by supplying reasons for preferring its particular offer. As the world is getting technologically more powerful the need of marketing, advertising, and competition are also increasing. The more the technology will prosper, the more advertisements will become of a great importance in contributing to the success of a particular company and its product in ranking highest when it comes to customer satisfaction. Most organizations, large and small, that rely on marketing to create customer interest are engaged in consistent use of advertising to help meet marketing objectives. Therefore, an advertisement published by a company should be attractive, impressive as well as effective. It should give positive results in terms of consumer loyalty, sales, promotion and competitive capacity. This includes regularly developing advertising campaigns, which involve a series of decisions for planning, creating, delivering and evaluating an advertising effort. The more effective the advertising campaign, the more the customers it draws, and with greater frequency.

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However, the success of an advertisement depends on the effective use of language. Michael Halliday (1994) highlights the importance of linguistic choices in conveying meanings: choices of linguistic signs – the word – and the ways in which words are combined in the clause are important in reflecting the context of the interaction as well as the creation of different meanings. The Hallidayan framework is useful because as a semantic base framework it adds an interpretative dimension to the analysis of the text from a semantic based perspective. It allows people to see the difference in meanings between different ways of describing events whether social, political or commercial; in other words, it represents aspects of reality and establishes interpersonal links (Goodman and Graddol, 2003). As a contextual base framework it allows people to interact with others from different sociocultural environments, which influence their choices at the same time that these choices exert influence on socio-cultural environments. Finally, as a semiotic base framework since it is a meaning potential, that is, it allows people to choose what to say from the total set of options available. Halliday’s framework – Systemic Functional Linguistics - uses the term “context of situation” to refer to the configuration of the social context,

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composed of field, tenor and mode aspects of the text (Halliday and Hasan, 1985). The field refers to the on-going social activity; it is reflected in participants, processes and circumstances. The tenor concerns “the role of relationships among the participants” (Halliday, 1978); it is reflected in exchanges between the participants of statements, questions or commands as well as lexicogrammatical choices. While mode is the role assigned to language, including the channel of communication and the medium. In addition, language also bears three different types of meaning simultaneously: ideational, interpersonal and textual. The ideational function is grammar for representing the world; it unfolds experiential and logical meanings (what is happening). The interpersonal function is grammar for enacting social relationships and interaction between human beings, society and culture; it uncovers the social meanings (how it interacts with the reader or hearer). Finally, the textual function realizes the ideational and interpersonal metafunctions, while expressing its own system (Halliday and Hasan, 1985). It is the rhetorical structure of a text (how a text coheres). In a multimodal text of advertisement, the interaction between the visual and the verbal modes constructs meaning which aims at convincing the addressee of the message.

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These three strands of meaning are referred to as metafunctions, which characterize the semantic nature of language, and which are directly associated to the three variables of the context of situation. Thus, ideational meanings relate to field, interpersonal to tenor and textual meanings combine the elements related to its mode. Therefore, Halliday’s work stresses on the fact that language cannot be dissociated from meaning, and that no matter what form advertisements take, the advertising text is the most important element because its main objective is to communicate the advertiser’s message to the consumer in a more proper manner.

An advertisement, which adopts many devices in linguistic - textual and contextual aspects - and uses well-organized language, exact figures, eyecatching, bright pictures and affirmative adjectives to describe the good quality of the product, can assist the producer to better communicate with the consumers and make the product more popular among the consumers in order to achieve the goal of ever-lasting purchase and popularity among the consumers. Otherwise stated, advertisement can induce the consumers to continue to buy the product, which can lead to a sales increase of the promoted product, and by which it can improve the chances of profit of the

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seller and assure consumers of satisfaction and welfare. Hence, the need of advertising is increasing day by day.

Combined with all the communicational, marketing and social functions, advertising becomes more indispensable in the modern world.

Advertisements play a vital role in the success of companies which spent huge amounts of advertising expenditure to influence the consumer’s behavior patterns. Accordingly, the purpose of advertising is to provide information about the advertised product, using specific devices, which will provoke the consumer not only to purchase but to continue to repurchase and eventually develop-brand loyalty; a brand known as a name given by a manufacturer to a number of its products, and used to differentiate products from their competitors. Hence, without brands and more importantly without the creative manipulation of language, consumer cannot build up favorable attitude towards one product, and advertising then will be nearly impossible.

According to Cook (1992), an analysis of advertisement discourse can reveal significant details about the way given situations or realities are seen or reconstructed by senders to target addressees, and about the individual

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and more general cultural features which construct our contemporary identity, and enables us to study parts of ourselves. Applying certain of these relevant aspects of Halliday’s functional approach, the focus of my research will be on how are these linguistic choices formed and which choice delivers a more convincing message from the sender to the receiver. Hence, the analytical study of the language features of English advertisements, in this research project, will be at lexical, syntactic and rhetorical levels.

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Data Collection and Research Methodology

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3.1 The Collected Data

The required data was collected from both the primary and secondary sources: The primary data was collected through multiple-choice

questionnaires. The respondents (about 100 participants of both genders) were personally met; questionnaire has been given to them and answered questionnaires were collected back. As the title declares, my research is based on the language used in advertisement specifically in ‘Dove Campaign for Real Beauty’ so I‘ve collected 33 extracts (about Dove’s products: Bar/Body Wash, Lotions, Hair, Face, and Deodorant…) from the internet using the following websites:

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 22 Thus, the secondary data was obtained through company website and other websites.

I will be using some of these extracts in order to identify the lexis and grammatical patterns that are used to produce a successful advertisement. I will focus on: pronouns, nouns, adjectives, negation, inclusive words, compound words, transitive patterns, effectiveness, processes …etc. A well structured questionnaire was also used for this study, in which four questions are directly focused on the field of advertisements related to my research subject.

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3.2 Ethical Issues

There is no ethical issue that I have to consider regarding my project topic, since I will use ads (published data) as the main data source of my research. I will respectively acknowledge the references at the end of my research under the "References" section, thus fulfilling the ethical code required in referencing. As for my respondents, I informed them about my research topic after introducing myself as an AOU student in the Faculty of English Language & Literature, and asking them if they would be kind enough to help me in completing the survey, which will be much appreciated, as it will contribute towards my final marks on my course. After giving them a general idea about the questions and telling them that the questionnaires are required to be anonymously filled, my respondents’ approval was obtained.

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3.3 Methodology

Undertaking a grammatically-based research depends on several steps to follow from drawing up questions, to designing a methodology, to collecting and analyzing data and eventually presenting the findings (Book4, p.4). Research aims can be addressed from different theoretical perspectives, using different methodologies tools (Book4, p.4). A research topic can be approached in more than one way as the choice of research method depends on what you want to find out and which tradition of linguistic research you belong to (Book4, p.11). There are two major methodologies which are the quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The qualitative research involves analysis of data such as words, pictures, or objects. Its aim is to provide a complete and detailed description of the results, offering many ideas and concepts. In qualitative research, researcher may only know roughly in advance what he is looking for, however he tends to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter. The quantitative research involves analysis of numerical data. Its aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed. In quantitative research, the researcher knows clearly in advance what he is looking for, and tends to

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remain objectively separated from the subject matter. The four types of research that generally follow these two categories are incremental research, corpus linguistics, functional grammar, and transformational-generative grammar. The incremental research may follow both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The incremental research consists of adding a little bit extra of information to other studies, in order to make wider generalizations (Book4, p.12). Thus, the value of incremental studies is to advance our knowledge in small steps (Book4, p.32); it is typical of applied linguistics, and a feature of much research in science and social science (Book4, p.12). In order to achieve an incremental research, there are some specific steps that the researcher should follow. First, the researcher should identify or specify the research topic which he intends to study. Then, he should find out about what other researchers have discovered regarding the same research topic (Book4, p.11), and try to improve on these previous studies. Next, he should raise some questions that would help him through his research to get to a particular result, which would constitute the answers of these questions. In case, the result did not match the original assumptions, the researcher would have to change his questions. After that, the researcher should start sampling the data and collecting them. The following step is to

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generalize the findings, which should relate to the questions studied, and ensure reliability in order to allow other researchers to verify or build on this work in a follow-up study (Book4, p.41). Corpus linguistics is one of the fastest growing methodologies in contemporary linguistics. It is a quantitative methodology and thus, it depends on statistical data. In corpus linguistics, there are four steps to follow, which are classifying, describing and analyzing the quantitative data, and then interpreting the findings. In order to conduct a corpus-based study of language, it is necessary to gain access to a corpus and a concordancing program. A corpus consists of a databank of natural texts, compiled from written texts, or a transcription of recorded speech (Book1, p.35). A concordancer is a software program which analyzes corpora and lists the results in the form of concordance lines (Book1, p.35). Using the proper analytical tools, an investigator can discover not only the patterns of language use (lexical, structural, lexicogrammatical, phonological,

morphological and discourse), but the extent to which they are used, and the contextual factors that influence variability. Therefore, the aim of corpus linguistics is not to generate theories but to provide basic description, counts or classifications of phenomena that are not yet available (Book4, p.15); it also provides opportunities to find out things about grammar that researchers

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might not have expected (Book4 p.17). Researchers can then use these findings to suggest reasons why we use language in the way we do (Book4, p.15). A third research strategy is a quantitative one, based on the work of Michael Halliday, and known as functional grammar (Book4, p.17). The term "functional" is used because it describes the approach which sees grammatical categories in terms of their communicative functions. Functional grammar looks at how language works in terms of the functional relationships of its constituent parts, and the systems of choices which people make whenever they use language. Thus, it focuses on the development of theories and concentrates on explaining language use in terms of meaning, field, tenor and mode (Book4, p.17). In functional grammar, three types or levels of functions are distinguished which are the semantic functions (agent, patient, recipient, etc.) which define the roles of participants, the syntactic functions (subject and object) which express the perspective in which a certain situation is presented in linguistic expressions, and the pragmatic functions (theme and tail; topic and focus) which specify the informational status of the constituents involved in the wider communicative setting in which they occur. Therefore, functional grammatical analysis sees language as working within particular contexts,

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and uses another set of terminology than the one used in structural grammar (noun, verb and adjective), which includes actors, processes and circumstances (Book4, p.17). Like Halliday, Chomsky is closely associated with an approach to studying language, which is called transformational-generative grammar (Book4, p.18). Transformational–generative grammar is a quantitative form of linguistic analysis consisting of a set of rules that generate basic syntactic structures, in the form of simple independent clauses, and a set of transformational rules that operate on those structures so as to produce questions, complex sentences, etc. and thus to account for every possible sentence of a language (Webster's New World College Dictionary). Thus, the aim of the linguistic theory expounded by Chomsky is to describe syntax, that is, to specify the grammatical rules underlying the construction of sentences (1957), and to explain all of the linguistic relationships between the sound system and the meaning system of the language (1965). Hence, according to Chomsky, language is a system of rules or principles which guide the construction of sentences (Book4, p.18).

As a result of this detailed examination of the different methodological tools in which research aims can be addressed, and in order to cover the

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identified aspects of my research topic, Halliday’s approach, the systemicfunctional linguistics, will be the main frame in conducting an interpretative analysis, as it concentrates on explaining language use in terms of meaning (Book4, p.17). I will also combine qualitative and quantitative approaches following the incremental research approach to help build on other research work or studies (Book4, p.11).

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In advertisements, the verbal mode of the message is communicated through linguistic choices, while the visual mode is communicated through forms, depths, colors, and other physical features. The language features of English Advertisements are divided into subgroups, which are the lexical features, the syntactic features, and the rhetorical features, in addition to other distinctive ones. Studying and analyzing these features in Dove’ advertisements will identify the role of words in producing an effective message.

At lexical level, nouns are widely used as brand names. They are considered as an essential element of advertising’s influence on consumer memory; in other words, brand names help the consumer to always remember the advertised product, and therefore to continue to repurchase it. Monosyllabic and simple words, such as get, pair, check, join and new, are often used. Compounds and coinages are constantly invented, and even some of them are added to our modern English vocabulary.

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At syntactical level, simple statements are often used. Sentences in advertisements are usually short. Some of the short sentences are elliptical sentences, which are used to improve the effectiveness of advertising. Imperative sentences and interrogative sentences are also common in advertisements. In addition to exclamatory sentences which are frequently used in order to deliver the information of an advertisement in a more interesting way, and thus advertisers can successfully encourage the consumers to buy their products. At the rhetorical level, similes and metaphors are used in advertisements to vividly highlight the characteristics, or special features or functions, of the advertised products or services. The effectiveness of personification, in English advertisements, lies in its ability to provide products with emotion and liveliness. Puns make advertisements more meaningful and interesting, while alliteration renders advertisements more effective and rhythmical. Through the use of hyperbole, advertisements become also effective, emotional and humorous. Lastly, repetition is often designed to make advertisements more attractive, impressive and memorable.

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No matter which structure and what words are used in an advertisement, they all serve the purpose of attracting the audience, conveying necessary information to them in order to increase the effectiveness of the advertisement, and urging them to purchase the product or to use the service, which would increase its sales. Thus, advertising not only has an important effect on a country’s economy, society, culture, and political system but also has as a tremendous impact on international marketing.

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Data Analysis and Interpretation

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Quantitative Interpretation

Research Tool Questionnaire design Questionnaire questions Respondents Gender

Questionnaire Simple Random Design 4 General Questions 100 Anonymous Participants Female & Male

The main advantage of questionnaires is that they allow the researcher to focus on a predetermined range of questions in a systematic way (Book4, p.41).

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Graphical & Percentage Analysis

1. Do you consider advertisements as a source of information or a source of entertainment?

Answers Information Entertainment

No. of respondents 62 38

Interpretation: 68% of my respondents consider advertisement as a source of information rather than a source of entertainment.

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2. Does information provided in advertisement affects your opinion about the advertised product?

Answers Yes No

No. of respondents 87 13

Interpretation: 87% of my informants admit that information provided in advertisements affects their opinion about the products they purchase.

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3. Does language used in advertisement affects your opinion about the product?

Answers Yes No

No. of respondents 63 37

Interpretation: 63% are aware of the important influence that language used in advertisements has on consumers’ behavior.

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4. Do you think advertisement helps in increasing sales of any product?

Answers Yes No

No. of respondents 87 13

Interpretation: Advertisement is an essential factor in increasing the sales of any product, as 87% of my respondents affirmed that by filling the box marked “Yes”.

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Qualitative Interpretation

According to Leo Burnett, “the secret of all effective originality in advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships”. However this analysis will be based on the effect that verbal mode has on the relationship between an advertisement and its audiences. Halliday’s (1994) Systemic Functional Grammar offers an innovative process of text analysis and interpretation, in a range of different contexts in which it is possible to determine the choices that users make either consciously or subconsciously by means of three discursive parameters called Field, Tenor and Mode. These variables are realized by what Halliday (1994) has referred to as ‘metafunctions’, namely, the ideational, interpersonal and the textual metafunction.

Field: The ideational function is to express ideas or viewpoints through categories of participants, processes, and circumstances that all relate to the field of the discourse or its subject matter (Al-Khatib, 2009).

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Transitivity is a grammar form expressing an action carried from the subject to the object; requiring a direct object to complete meaning. It identifies the relations between participants, processes and circumstances. There are six types of processes: material, mental, verbal, behavioural (mental and verbal), relational (attributive and identifying), and existential. Each process has different types of participants. The following table summarizes the different transitivity patterns - types of processes and participants - of the ideational metafunction.






Verbs of doing and happening

Actor, goal

“Dove repairs damage”


Verbs of thinking, knowing, sensing, perceiving and

Experiencer, experience

“At Dove, we want to help free ourselves”

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feeling Verbal Verbs of saying, signaling and showing Behavioral Verbs which combine the mental and verbal processes Relational Verbs of being, having, possessing, consisting of and locating Existential Verbs by which the existence of an entity is indicated Entity Token, value “Dove is proage”; “Beauty has no age limit” Behaver Sayer, receiver, verbiage “we want you to tell us about it”

Transitivity Patterns - Types of Processes and Participants (Book4, pp. 128-129)

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Tenor: The interpersonal function relates to the roles and relationships between the participants in the texts (hypotaxis relations) and outside the text, meaning between the writer and the reader and known as parataxis relations (AlKhatib, 2009). In my chosen data, Dove’ ads, the writer is the advertiser and consequently the reader is the consumer. The relative social status (equality/inequality) is revealed, through language, by whether or not the people communicating are able to make statements, ask questions, make commands, or pass judgments (Book2, p.17). For example, in advertisements: by making statements, advertisers provide information and position themselves as possessing material worthy of communication, which their consumers don’t possess and need to know it: “Dove beauty bars with moisturizing lotion cleanse skin deeply without leaving soap scum”; while by asking questions, they present themselves as seeking information from their addressee: “How did our idea of beauty become so distorted?” and lastly, by making commands, advertisers control or influence the actions of the audience: “Get involved in Raising Girl’s Self-Esteem”.

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The writer’s persona is the status or the position of authority which the writer occupies. Therefore, persona means looking at whether the writer employs language that can be seen as assertive or as demonstrating expertise, whether they present themselves as in a position to give advice to readers or to direct or control actions of others (Book2, p.22). In Dove’ ads, advertisers stress on seeking the real beauty within the self, through presenting personal experiences, to convince consumers to buy Dove products. Thus, the interpersonal function is to indicate, establish, or negotiate the social relationships between participants.

Mode: The textual metafunction reflects all the characteristics of formal writing, such as nominalization, passive structures, information flow, the end weight principle, thematization, repetition of key words, cohesion, lexical cohesion, and so forth (Al-Khatib, 2009).

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was launched in 2004, after Dove concluded a global study on beauty, called The Real Truth about Beauty. The advertising texts were published in fashion magazines, on billboards,

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and so-on (mode). This implies that the text advertises Dove’ products (field), to all audiences throughout the world (tenor).

In advertising, there is an approach used to advertise a product, called the marketing approach. In order to achieve a successful marketing, such as the worldwide marketing campaign of Dove for Real Beauty, advertisers adopt a strategy or a plan which consists in creating a professionally designed ad to influence consumers in buying the advertised product. However, to invent an effective advertisement, advertisers tend to use specific lexical, syntactic, and rhetorical features.

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A. Use of Monosyllabic and Simple Words

Monosyllabic and simple words are preferred in advertising, for they are easy to read and to understand. The 20 most common verbs in English advertising are: make, get, give, have, see, buy, come, go, know, keep, look, need, love, use, feel, like, choose, take, start, taste. In advertising, these simple words can help attract consumers to purchase the promoted product. As for the adjectives, about 89% of the adjectives in English advertising are considered as monosyllabic words. The most frequently used adjectives are as follows: new, good/better/best, fresh, free, delicious, sure, full, clean, wonderful, special, crisp, real, fine, great, safe, and rich. Consider these examples taken from Dove’ advertisements: (1) “I feel great”; (2) “Dove is looking for real faces for its TV commercial”; (3) “Get double the freshness”; (4) “Pair your favorite go fresh deodorant with the matching body mist for a clean, fresh feeling that lasts all day”;

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(5) “Dove repairs damage from root to tip making your hair beautiful”.

B. Use of Nouns As Brand Names

There is no doubt that nouns are most widely used in advertising. Nouns are the key words; they are crucial and indispensable. The most representative use of nouns in advertising lies in the brand names of the products or the services. A good brand name can help develop consumers’ loyalty to a specific product. For example: “Dove” gives the consumers a feeling of purity, simplicity, cleanliness, elegance and natural beauty.

C. Use of Pronouns

Pronouns of the first and second person (we, I and you) outnumber the other pronouns in advertisements as they help create a friend-like, intimate atmosphere between advertisers and consumers, in order to persuade them to buy their products more easily. The use of the second person pronoun (you) tends to shorten the distance between the promoters and the consumers, thereby it would appeal to the consumers that the promoters are making sincere promises, and providing

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 48

honest recommendations to their benefit. In doing so, the ad slogans stand a better chance to move the receivers to action; because the consumers would feel that they are being thought of and taken care of. For example: (1) “Test and help us make your first brush with Dove one that you’ll cherish forever”; (2) “New Dove Volumizing Mousse with our Weightless Moisturizers gives you the body and lift you need with the natural movement you want”; (3) “Dove brings you a range of products that addresses the real problem”. Admen use the first plural pronouns (we, our and us) to introduce their ideas or viewpoints to the potential customers in order to let them know, recognize, and believe in the effectiveness of their advertised products. For example: (1) “How did our idea of beauty become so distorted?” (2) “We see beauty all around us”; (3) “At Dove, we want to help free ourselves”.

D. Use of Emotive or Evaluative Adjectives or Adjectival Phrases

The use of emotive or evaluative adjectives can stimulate dreams and desires by evoking the look, touch, taste, smell, and sound without actually

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 49

misrepresenting a product. Among the adjectives, “new” is probably the most utilized one in advertising, because it reflects the original and fresh concept of the advertisement. It is also said that the most powerful words an advertiser can use in a headline are free and new. For example: (1) “FREE Dove Self-Esteem shirt”; (2) “That’s why new Dove Therapy System contains a precious repairing serum”; (3) “New Dove Anti-Frizz Cream. A new movement in hair is here”; (4) “8 out of 10 women agree: New Dove Cream Oil Body Lotion feels more moisturizing than their current lotion”; (5) “Its unique blend of rich hydrating cream and skin nourishing oil turns extra dry skin into extra soft, extra smooth, extra beautiful skin”; (6) “Get your free sample today at”.

E. Use of Negation

Admen often use negative words such as no, none, nothing, never, etc. to show the uniqueness and unparalleled quality of the product. For example: (1) “There’s nothing I would strive to change”; (2) “Dove is pro-age, not anti-age”;

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 50

(3) “Beauty has no age limit”; (4) “Will society ever accept that old can be beautiful too?”

F. Use of Inclusive Words

Apart from negative words, the admen are also fond of the inclusive words such as all, every, always, etc. to indicate that the reference is universal. For example: (1) “Every girl deserves to feel beautiful”; “For healthy and beautiful hair every day”; (2) “We see beauty all around us”; “Fresh feeling that lasts all day”.

G. Use of Compound Words

Advertising aims to transmit as much information as possible to the consumers within the shortest possible time. Compound words just meet this requirement, in that they condense two or more words into one and thus function as a single word. Compound adjectives are often seen in advertisements because they give an exact description of a certain feature or

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 51

function. They have the flexibility in word building, which satisfies the need of creativity in advertising. A compound word in ads can be: adj. + n.; adv. + n.; n. + adj.: n. + v. + ing; etc. For example: (1) “New Dove Hair-minimizing anti-perspirant”; (2) “Feel stubble-free for longer”; (3) “Damage-free hair by Dove”.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 52


A. Use of Simple Sentences

In advertisements, complex sentences are not often used because of their long length and obscurity. Therefore, short and simple sentences are more often used in advertising, as they are easy to be understood and more effective in transmitting the messages to the readers. As an example, read the following advertisement: Real women seek Dove. And vice versa. Dove is looking for real faces for its next TV commercial. And who better than you? Give us half your face. Take the Dove Face Test. If your experience with Dove bar is memorable, we want you to tell us about it. And before you know it, you could be the one who tells all of India through billboards and a television commercial. Simply send your photograph and contact details along with 1 empty pack of Dove Cream Bathing bar to the address mentioned below. Take the Dove Face Test and help us make your first brush with Dove one that you’ll cherish forever.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 53

Notice that the longest sentence has no more than 22 words. Another example: “The difference is really beautiful”.

B. Use of Interrogative Sentences

Interrogative sentences are usually short in advertisements. Hence they are employed very often. For example: (1) “And who is better than you?” (2) “Are you a Colorer?” (3) “Fat? Big boned? Does true beauty only squeeze into size 8?” (4) “Grey? Gorgeous? Why can’t more women feel glad to be grey?” (5) “Ugly spots? Beauty spots? Does beauty mean looking like everyone else?”

C. Use of Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences are used to give a command or make a request. They are usually short but powerful sentences. They are used to arouse the

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 54

audiences’ needs or desires and so far encourage them to buy the advertised product. For example: (1) “Nourish her self-confidence everyday”; (2) “Drench your skin in a burst of juicy goodness”; (3) “Try Dove Ultimate Clear”; (4) “Give your hair what it needs now”; (5) “Shower your skin in the richness of Dove CreamOil”; (6) “Enjoy a FREE set of Dove products; look & feel your best”; (7) “Join the beauty debate”.

D. Use of Minor Sentences

The adoption of minor sentences in English advertisements, can spare more print space, and take less time for the audience to finish reading, thus it can make advertisements short but more clear, concise, distinctive, effective and memorable. Consider the following examples: (1) “Be yourself. Be individual. Be happy. Dove”; (2) “Real women seek Dove. And vice versa”; (3) “Soap leaves soap scum. Dove doesn’t”; (4) “New Dove Firming. As tested on real curves”.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 55

E. Use of Active Voice

In daily communication, passive voice is seldom used and so is in advertising because it gives the audience an indirect and unnatural feeling. Thus, advertisements are usually written in the active voice. For example: (1) “At Dove, we want to help free ourselves and the next generation from beauty stereotypes”.

F. Use of Present Tense

The present tense prevails in most advertisements because it implies a universal timelessness. The simple present or the present perfect is used in advertising to emphasize the reliability of the product. For example: (1) “We continue to create provoking ads, confidence-building programs and messages that embrace all definitions of beauty”; (2) “I work out and eat healthy and I feel great”.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 56


A. Use of Pun

Advertisers usually play with words to make the advertising language interesting and attractive. Pun is an amusing use of a word or phrase that has two meanings. In advertisement, a pun is usually closely related to the characteristics of a certain product or the brand name of the product. For example: “Go fresh”. (Dove’s new deodorant name) Go fresh, literally means to feel fresh or cool, thus Dove’s new deodorant promises the consumers that by using this product they can feel the freshness that no other deodorant can afford to.

B. Use of Alliteration

Alliteration is the use of words that begin with the same sound in order to make a special communicative effect. The repetition of the beginning sound emphasizes the meaning the advertisement wants to express. This kind of

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 57

stress encourages the audience to pay more attention to the advertisements and therefore to purchase the product. The following are examples picked from Dove’ ads: (1) “Get softer, smoother underarms in just five days”; (2) “Feel stubble-free for longer”; (3) “A new movement in hair is here”.

C. Use of Repetition

Repetition means using the same word or phrase again. In advertising, repetition is applied to emphasize the important features of the products or services. It can also make the advertisement more impressive and more persuasive. For example: “5 days of restoring moisture and you’ll have smooth hair. That’s smooth as in really smooth”. Considering the following example, You is repeatedly used, in advertising, to build a close relation between the product and the audience, which would influence the audience to purchase the advertised product. Dove is looking for real faces for its next TV commercial. And who better than you? Give us half your face. Take the Dove Face Test. If

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 58

your experience with Dove bar is memorable, we want you to tell us about it. And before you know it, you could be the one who tells all of India through billboards and a television commercial. Simply send your photograph and contact details along with 1 empty pack of Dove Cream Bathing bar to the address mentioned below. Take the Dove Face Test and help us make your first brush with Dove one that you’ll cherish forever.

D. Use of Parallelism

Parallelism between two or more sentences means that there are similarities between them, and that they are equally important. Parallelism adds balance, rhythm and clarity to the sentence. Thus, it is often seen in advertising. For example: (1) “Be yourself. Be individual. Be happy. Dove”; (2) “I feel great. I feel healthy,

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 59

I feel happy. I feel energetic, so I’m feeling that way and this is how my body is going to be”.

E. Use of Simile

Simile is a figure of speech which describes a person or a thing as being similar to someone or something else. The simile is usually introduced by like or as. Consider this example: (1) “Dove brings you a range of products that addresses the real problem – damage and not just symptoms like dryness, dullness, hair fall and splitends”; (2) “Dove repairs damage from root to tip making your hair beautiful. As beautiful as you”.

F. Use of Personification

Personification is a figure of speech that gives human form or feelings to animals, or life and personal attributes (attributes of form, character, feelings, behavior, and so on) to inanimate objects. Ideas and abstractions

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 60

can also be personified. Personification can make an abstraction clearer and more real to the reader by defining or explaining the concept in terms of everyday human action. In advertising, inanimate objects are personified to enhance the emotion impact and appeal of the product For example: “Hair too, is looking for love”.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 61

Conclusion and Evaluation

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 62


So far, we have analyzed the prominent language features of advertisements at three levels: the lexical, syntactic and the rhetorical one. Both, the qualitative and the quantitative analysis, showed that the verbal mode is effective in delivering the intended message directly to the audiences; and thus what really matters in a successful and influential advertisement is a convincing content through the use of words that have enormous impact upon the readers. However, this interpretation has a number of limitations, since there are probably more points deserving to be analyzed and presented, regarding the lexical, syntactic and rhetorical features of advertising language and the three metafunctions: ideational, interpersonal and textual; and due to the fact that the discussion ignores the semiotics of visual image, which can also contribute to the meaning of the text because visual symbols are able to express what verbal cannot.

Advertisement is necessary for both, advertisers and consumers; companies can increase their products’ sales and eventually boost their market position

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 63

through a well-written and a well-designed advertisement, while consumers can get more information about the product or the service they’re attracted to, and which can have a great effect on them as to purchase it. From past to present, advertising went through many changes starting from the shouting of announcements, to today’s use of internet in marketing. Its appeal and impact also increased under the influence of globalization and the development of the world through the centuries, and hence people’s desires and beliefs changed; nowadays, most of the consumers seek a fake image of human’s figure and body perfection that advertisements provide, promote and encourage them to imitate. In contrary to most of the current beauty advertisements, Dove does neither show professional models nor does portray images of impossible perfection, as stated in the beginning of this research project. On the contrary, the message of the campaign could be summarized with “stay as beautiful as you already are”. However, another hidden message is transmitted to their audience which could be decoded into “stay as beautiful as you already are, only by using Dove’ products”; or in other words, that Dove itself upholds the beauty myths and expectations. Thus, it is proven that Dove exploits women’s desire for such an inclusive message, and that the appeal of the campaign works to create a deep brand loyalty. Such hidden message is

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 64

decoded through the analysis of various linguistic mechanisms of a text, which demonstrates how specific lexicogrammatical features can be related to the world view which motivates and is reflected in each text (Book4, p.124). Hence, the lexical and grammatical choices, employed by admen, are of great importance in advertising language, as their function is to convey the essential information about the advertised product, attract the audience, influence them to purchase it and finally to develop-brand loyalty, by continuing to repurchase the same product. After all, as quoted by Jef I. Richards, “Advertising practitioners are interpreters. But unlike foreign language interpreters, adpeople must constantly learn new languages. They must understand the language of each new product, and speak the language of each new target audience”.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 65


Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 66


ARENS, W. F. (1996) Contemporary Advertising, USA, Richard D. Irwin, A. Times Mirror Higher Education Group Inc. Company. BIBER, D., CONRAD, S. and LEECH, G. (2004) Longman: Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English, The Arab Open University. BOVEE, C. L. and ARENS, W. F. (1992, 4th edn) Contemporary Advertising, Homewood, IL, Irwin. COOK, G. (1992) The Discourse of Advertising, London, Routledge. CHOMSKY, N. (1957) Syntactic Structures, The Hague, Mouton & Co. CHOMSKY, N. (1965) Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press. GOODMAN, S. and GRADDOL, D. (2003) Redesigning English: new texts, new identities, London, Routledge, in association with The Open University. HALLIDAY, M. A. K. (1978) Language as Social Semiotic, London, Edward Arnold.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 67

HALLIDAY, M. A. K. (1994, 2nd edn) Introduction to Functional Grammar, London, Edward Arnold. HALLIDAY, M. A. K. and HASAN, R. (1985) Language, Context and Text: aspects of language in social-semiotic perspective, Victoria, Deakin University Press.

KOTLER, P. (1988) Marketing Management: Analysis Planning and Control, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, Eaglewood Cliff. WALTON, H. and MILTON, K. (2004) English Grammar in context, Book1, Getting started, Describing the grammar of speech and writing, The Open University.

WALTON, H. and MILTON, K. (2004) English Grammar in context, Book2, Getting inside English, Interpreting texts, The Open University.

WALTON, H. and MILTON, K. (2004) English Grammar in context, Book4, Getting down to it, Undertaking research, The Open University.

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 68

Internet References:

A Brief History of Advertising, Author: MediaKnowAll, Copyright © 2009 by Karina Wilson, URL:

Campaign For Real beauty, Copyright © 2010 by Microsoft, URL: (accessed 4 March 2010).

Dove ads pictures, Copyright © 2010 by Google, URL: (accessed 25 February 2010).

Dove Skin, Beauty and Hair care Products, Advice, Offers and Samples, Copyright © 2010 by Microsoft, URL: (accessed 4 March 2010).

Effective Advertising – influencing the world, Copyright © 2007 by Daniel, URL:

Functional Analysis of “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” 69








URL: (accessed 9 March 2010). Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Tutorial References:

Al-Khatib, H. (2009) E303 Sessions, Arab Open University.

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