Anatomy of Metaphors:
the ultimate guide to creating
a powerful metaphor
by LUCIA TREZOVA
Prague, April 2014
Metaphor is originally a figure of speech
based on resemblance = one thing is used
to refer to another thing in order to s...
WHAT ABOUT VISUAL METAPHORS?
Since metaphors don’t have to be only verbal,
the essence of the metaphor is:
experiencing one thing
or thinking about one...
What is a metaphor’s
structure ?
EACH METAPHOR CONSISTS OF TWO
ELEMENTS: A TARGET AND A SOURCE
Both: target and the source are part of, in principle, infin...
The target and the source are parts of networks of connotations.
Consider the metaphor: „LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD“
„Love“ is ...
By metaphor we are
invited or forced
to see and think of
a TARGET „A“ in terms of a SOURCE „B“
...BECAUSE „A“ IS LIKE „B“
How are metaphors
construed ?
To understand the metaphor „Love is a battlefield“ we
must make an imaginative leap to recognize the
resemblance to which ...
There must be some sort of similarity between the
target and the source which enables metaphor-making.
That is, at least o...
When the mapped feature is recognized and transferred,
then all meanings related to both domains: the source
category and ...
TO CONSTRUE A METAPHOR REQUIRES 3 STEPS:
1. Identify mappable feature common for the source and the target
3. Put the mean...
These networks of connoted meanings must be „stored in our heads“ in
order to produce or to understand the metaphor.
Some ...
Sometimes metaphor suggest mapping the single feature, but mostly, it
is not an isolated feature, but a number of features...
What causes that metaphors are understood
and interpreted rather consistently?
CONTEXT
4 CONTEXTUAL FACTORS
GUIDE
RECOGNITION OF THE MAPPABLE FEATURES
AND PRODUCTION OF RELEVANT INFERENCES
Metaphors are always pragmatic:
they function is either argue or
persuade or to instruct.
Identifying the goal of the auth...
Genres are formed by
conventions, and the grammar
of the genre, its style, we are
familiar with, gives us important clues
...
is created by all discourses to
which metaphor alludes, or against
which the metaphor demarks: e.g.
other ads, other brand...
Since it is often connotations
rather than denotations which are
mapped from the source to the
target and the source may h...
In advertising business metaphors are often
multimodal.
Multimodal metaphors are those whose
targets and sources are rende...
Lets’ analyze the following multimodal metaphor:
There are 2 modes: the pictorial
representation and written words
Metapho...
Lets’ analyze the following unimodal metaphor:
There is just one mode: the
pictorial representation
Metaphor Target: Mini ...
9 steps to creating
a powerful
metaphor.
Choose your product or your service you
want to depict, explain, describe, make meaningful
by using the metaphor. It will ...
Decide which benefit, characteristic of your
product or service you want to stress and
highlight by the metaphor.
2.
Select the source (domain) which will
communicate your intended feature best.
Make sure your source domain have at least o...
Remember, that the source domain, apart from
the selected feature, might convey also a
variety of other meanings due to it...
Make sure your target domain (product or
service) and the source domain belong to
disparate categories. Talking about your...
Decide on your mode.
Your communication channels might be
visual or written language or spoken language or
non-verbal soun...
Check the context.
Investigate the local context: how your
metaphor’s meaning fits to the code system of
your market segme...
Test your metaphor on your target audience.
The fact that you or your creative agency like and understand the metaphor is ...
Be creative. Try to avoid clichés and
conventionalized metaphors.
Let your lateral thinking fly!
9.
Go ahead and good luck!
Special thanks to Charles Forceville whose work on pictorial
metaphors was extremely inspirative f...
Anatomy of Metaphors - the Ultimate Guide to Creating a Powerful Metaphor
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Anatomy of Metaphors - the Ultimate Guide to Creating a Powerful Metaphor

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How to make an insightful metaphor? What is metaphor's structure? How are metaphors construed, understood? How to use them effectively in marketing communication, in advertising?

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Anatomy of Metaphors - the Ultimate Guide to Creating a Powerful Metaphor

  1. 1. Anatomy of Metaphors: the ultimate guide to creating a powerful metaphor by LUCIA TREZOVA Prague, April 2014
  2. 2. Metaphor is originally a figure of speech based on resemblance = one thing is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are somehow similar. METAPHOR IS A TYPE OF ANALOGY „Knowledge is power“ „You are my star“
  3. 3. WHAT ABOUT VISUAL METAPHORS?
  4. 4. Since metaphors don’t have to be only verbal, the essence of the metaphor is: experiencing one thing or thinking about one thing in terms of another
  5. 5. What is a metaphor’s structure ?
  6. 6. EACH METAPHOR CONSISTS OF TWO ELEMENTS: A TARGET AND A SOURCE Both: target and the source are part of, in principle, infinitely expanding networks of related meanings, necessary for producing metaphors, called connotations. The target is what we try to describe, to make a meaning of by using metaphor. The source is a „vehicle“, the concept that is used to predicate something about the target. Metaphors connect two conceptual domains: the target domain and the source domain.
  7. 7. The target and the source are parts of networks of connotations. Consider the metaphor: „LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD“ „Love“ is a target „ Battlefield“ is a source. These networks of connotations are based on individual meanings and cultural meanings. Love concept includes connotations such as: „lovers“ and „passion“, and „sex“, „inspirations“, „creativity“, „respect“, „marriage“, „children:, but also „sacrifices“ and „cheating“, „disappointment“, „reason to revenge“, „losses“, „grief“, „misery“, etc. Battlefield concept includes connotations such as: „war“ „soldiers“, „victims“, „wounds“, „pain“, „sorrow“, „victories“, „defeats“, „weapons“, „fighting strategies“, ally-making, etc.
  8. 8. By metaphor we are invited or forced to see and think of a TARGET „A“ in terms of a SOURCE „B“ ...BECAUSE „A“ IS LIKE „B“
  9. 9. How are metaphors construed ?
  10. 10. To understand the metaphor „Love is a battlefield“ we must make an imaginative leap to recognize the resemblance to which a metaphor alludes. Thus, using and understanding metaphors involves a function of „transference“ - transferring certain qualities from one object – the source to another object – the target. THE FUNCTION OF TRANSFERENCE from „Battlefield“ to „Love“
  11. 11. There must be some sort of similarity between the target and the source which enables metaphor-making. That is, at least one feature, of all their features, the source and the target must have common. This common feature tightly associated with the source is then projected = mapped into the target. THE FUNCTION OF MAPPING from „battlefield“ .......................... to „love“ war making victims, causing losses and misery, being costly in terms of material or in terms of lives, = A HIGH CHANCE OF BEING HURT ... to be a victim of grief love causing depression, losses and misery = A HIGH CHANCE OF BEING HURT
  12. 12. When the mapped feature is recognized and transferred, then all meanings related to both domains: the source category and the target category must be called in a play. That is, each category is mentally expanded to include connotations linked to it: all emotions, attitudes, knowledge, etc. creating the dense networks of meanings. THE FUNCTION OF EXPANDING CATEGORIES ONLY THOSE RELATED AND INTERCONNECTED MEANINGS ENABLE US TO CONSTRUE THE WHOLE COMPREHENSIVE METAPHOR
  13. 13. TO CONSTRUE A METAPHOR REQUIRES 3 STEPS: 1. Identify mappable feature common for the source and the target 3. Put the meaning of a mapped feature into the dense network of other related meaningsassociated with both: the target and the source domains - in order to make inferences to „love“lovebattlefield Mappable feature from „battlefield“ Expanding categories and making inferencesProjecting mapped feature 2. Project mappable feature/s to the target
  14. 14. These networks of connoted meanings must be „stored in our heads“ in order to produce or to understand the metaphor. Some of them are purely personal, some are widely shared: cultural. SHARED MEANINGS ARE CRUCIAL... Individual meanings are rooted in a specific person’s background, his/her personal experience, education, autobiographical history, beliefs, knowledge of a particular person, etc. Cultural meanings are rooted in culture of a specific society: in its values, norms, in hegemonic knowledge and attitudes, based on history of society, its literature, art, pop-culture, etc. To construe a metaphor for the wide audience „shared meanings“ – those known to both: to producer of metaphor as well as to its interpreter are the crucial. Those shared meanings are, therefore, mainly cultural connotations.
  15. 15. Sometimes metaphor suggest mapping the single feature, but mostly, it is not an isolated feature, but a number of features which might be mapped. It is up to interpreters which feature they decide to project on the target. Since mappable features are not always made explicit, different interpreters may select different features for mapping and therefore infer slightly or vastly different meanings. Even the same mapped feature may lead to different meanings because of specific personal connotations for the interpreter. Moreover, if the interpreters may not recognize a mapped feature they will not catch the meaning of the metaphor at all. INTERPRETATION OF METAPHORS DEPENDS PURELY ON THE WORK OF THE INTERPRETER THIS ALL MAKES METAPHOR THE RISKY WAY OF COMMUNICATION
  16. 16. What causes that metaphors are understood and interpreted rather consistently? CONTEXT
  17. 17. 4 CONTEXTUAL FACTORS GUIDE RECOGNITION OF THE MAPPABLE FEATURES AND PRODUCTION OF RELEVANT INFERENCES
  18. 18. Metaphors are always pragmatic: they function is either argue or persuade or to instruct. Identifying the goal of the author is the first clue to interpret the metaphor: who made it and why. Metaphors are often highly ideological: they convey specific meaning and impose a rigid structure on the target, but contrary, sometimes they are poly-semantic and open to wider interpretation. INTENTIONS OF THE AUTHOR
  19. 19. Genres are formed by conventions, and the grammar of the genre, its style, we are familiar with, gives us important clues how to interpret the metaphor. Medium, in which metaphor occurs, gives us also hints what kind of a message we might to encounter. Our ability to read the codes of different genres as well as codes of a particular medium correctly is, therefore, essential. GENRE AND MEDIUM
  20. 20. is created by all discourses to which metaphor alludes, or against which the metaphor demarks: e.g. other ads, other brands and their benefits, etc. Broadly speaking – by all other „texts“ used in the product category, in neighboring categories, in a product segment or in a market generally, which are assumed to be available and known to the metaphor’s recipient. All these texts are used as clues to interpret the metaphor. LOCAL CONTEXT
  21. 21. Since it is often connotations rather than denotations which are mapped from the source to the target and the source may have very different salient connotations from one culture to another, cultural differences can matter a lot while interpreting a metaphor. Specific cultural meanings or meanings limited to given sub- culture are often the most important clues for metaphor’s interpretation. BROAD CONTEXT
  22. 22. In advertising business metaphors are often multimodal. Multimodal metaphors are those whose targets and sources are rendered in at least two different communication channels= modes: 1. visual or 2.written language or 3.spoken language or 4.non-verbal sounds or 5. music
  23. 23. Lets’ analyze the following multimodal metaphor: There are 2 modes: the pictorial representation and written words Metaphor Target: Heineken beer Metaphor Source: a ventilation fan Source domain connotations: bars, nightclubs, „busy days“, films Noir, lone wolfs – cynical, but honest private eye detectives, urban setting, femme fatal, love affair, sex, cigarette smoke, etc... Common = mapped feature: refreshing Metaphor is simple: Heineken beer is like ventilation fan - will refresh you in your gloomy or „hot“ days
  24. 24. Lets’ analyze the following unimodal metaphor: There is just one mode: the pictorial representation Metaphor Target: Mini Cooper Metaphor Source: a boxing glove Source domain connotations: box, competition, tough guys, winners, celebrations, beautiful women, money, recognition, etc.... Common = mapped feature: power, strength Metaphor is simple: Mini Cooper is like a boxing glove, rather small, but able to make a strong hit
  25. 25. 9 steps to creating a powerful metaphor.
  26. 26. Choose your product or your service you want to depict, explain, describe, make meaningful by using the metaphor. It will be your metaphor target. 1.
  27. 27. Decide which benefit, characteristic of your product or service you want to stress and highlight by the metaphor. 2.
  28. 28. Select the source (domain) which will communicate your intended feature best. Make sure your source domain have at least one (and that desired feature) common with your target. It will be your mapped = projected feature. 3.
  29. 29. Remember, that the source domain, apart from the selected feature, might convey also a variety of other meanings due to its other connotations. Make sure that any connotation of your selected source (domain) will not harm your product or your service image. 4.
  30. 30. Make sure your target domain (product or service) and the source domain belong to disparate categories. Talking about your mobile phone in terms of mp3 player would likely be silly. And definitely not a metaphor. 5.
  31. 31. Decide on your mode. Your communication channels might be visual or written language or spoken language or non-verbal sounds or music, or employ a multimodal metaphor. 6.
  32. 32. Check the context. Investigate the local context: how your metaphor’s meaning fits to the code system of your market segment or to meanings of the messages sent by your competitors. Get to know the potential interpreters of your metaphor – their culture and also subculture. 7.
  33. 33. Test your metaphor on your target audience. The fact that you or your creative agency like and understand the metaphor is not enough. 8.  Make sure your audience understands the metaphor.  Make sure the all metaphor’s meanings are in line with your brand image (neither contradictory, nor harmful).  Make sure the metaphor’s message is perceived as consistent with the rest of your brand communication. Use semiotic research, free associations technique, etc.
  34. 34. Be creative. Try to avoid clichés and conventionalized metaphors. Let your lateral thinking fly! 9.
  35. 35. Go ahead and good luck! Special thanks to Charles Forceville whose work on pictorial metaphors was extremely inspirative for me.

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