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2016/2017  KAN-CCMVV5152U  The language of advertising: Perception, cognition and communication

English Title
The language of advertising: Perception, cognition and communication

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Second Quarter, Fourth Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Per Durst-Andersen - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Co-coordinator: Anna Cabak Redei
Kontaktinformation: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt eller Contact information: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt
Main academic disciplines
  • Communication
  • Marketing
  • Cultural studies
Last updated on 11-04-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the different approaches to understanding advertising, including the fields of semiotics, perception, cognition, logic, and rhetoric.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the essential elements of Product-Consumer Communication.
  • Analyse various ads from different countries by using different methods from semiotics, linguistics, logic, communication and rhetoric and by applying the notional apparatus attached to these methods.
  • Provide illustrative examples of ads from various fields.
Course prerequisites
The Language of Advertising: Perception, Cognition and Communication:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group max. 5
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter and Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
* if a student is absent from the oral exam due to documented illness but has handed in the written product she/he does not have to submit a new product for the re-take.

* if the student fails the ordinary exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have to hand in a revised product for the re- take or a new project.
Description of the exam procedure

A group of students represented by one of them picks a specific theme among the various topics dicussed during the course. Every theme involves an advertisement. The group describes the theme and analyzes the advertisement in a written assignment. During the oral examination each student gives a short presentation followed by a discussion between the student and the examiners.

Course content and structure
  1. Week: Introduction
  • Presentation of course, teachers and students
  • Division of students into eight groups


2.  Week: Language, culture and cognition

  • Language and the human body
  • Different ways of thinking depending on mother tongue
  • How the consumer is persuaded to buy a product
  • Assignment 1: Racism takes many shapes


3. Week: Pictorial semiotics

  • Introducing semiotics and semiotic analysis in a rhetorical context
  • Assignment 2 +3: KappAhl + Björn Borg


4. Week: Perception

  • How and why different cultures look at the same picture in different ways
  • Different naming and framing strategies and their importance to adverticements
  • Assignment 4 + 5: IKEA + Volvo


5. Week: Cognition

  • The logic and rhetoric of advertisements
  • Fashion photography and psychology
  • Assignment 6 + 7: Dolce Gabbana + Duncan Quinn


6. Week: Pragmatics and communication

  • Pragmatics and modality
  • A model of product and consumer communication
  • Assignment 8: Four different scenario-descriptions


7. Week: Narration in advertising

  • When advertisements tell a story
  • Introducing a complete semiotic model of analysis
  • Assignment 9 + 10: Two ads from Mulberry


8. Week: Sex in advertising

  • Aestetics, design and culture 
  • Assignment 11: Advertising campaign


9. Week: What did we learn and what did we achieve?

  • Each group selects a theme involving an advertisement



Teaching methods
Lecturing combined with discussion and student presentations with discussions from opponent groups
Student workload
Teaching 33 hours
Preparation - teaching 90 hours
Preparation - assignment 60 hours
Written assignment 20 hours
Preparation - oral examination 3 hours
Expected literature

Chandler, D. (2007). Semiotics: the basics. London and New York: Routledge.


Sonesson, G. (2013). Two strands of rhetoric in advertising discourse. International Journal of Marketing Semiotics 1: 6-24.


Ottobring,  T., Shams, P., Wästlund, E.,  and Gustafsson, A. (2013). Left isn’t always right: placement of pictorial and textual package elements. British Food Journal, 115.8: 1211-1225.


Reichert, T. & Lambiase, J. (eds.) (2003). Sex in advertising: Perspectives on the erotic appeal (2003). London: Lawrence Erlbaum associates, publishers.


Reichert, T. & Lambiase, J. (eds.) (2006). Sex in consumer culture: the erotic content of media and marketing (2006). London and Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.


Goffman, E. (1997). Frame analysis of gender. In The Goffman Reader. Edited by Charles

Lemert and Ann Branaman. Oxford, UK, and Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers Inc.


Vladimir Propp (1968). Morphology of the folktale. Transl. by Laurence Scott. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press. 

Last updated on 11-04-2016