In a quest to find out about typical visual, linguistic and multimodal patterns of genres, corpus-based research can be useful. For a recent study I have compiled a two-year (2017 & 2018) corpus of social advertising, which I annotated for selected categories such as, for instance, layout structures, rhetorical figures (verbal and multimodal), image types, text structures (using Rhetorical Structure Theory), and text-image relations etc. I plan to expand the corpus (add 2019) and increase/fine-tune its annotational scope. I would then like to use it for exploring certain bundles of analytical categories, always zooming in on the rhetorical strategies and designs behind the multimodal patterns. The ways in which arguments are constructed from a calculated combination of claim – request/question + image forms a focal point of my enquiries. Here is what the abstract of a finished chapter submitted for the Handbook of Advertising Rhetoric (de Gruyter) says:
Based on an annotated multimodal corpus, the present chapter sketches out a rhetorical portrait of social advertising. The analyses address visual, textual and multimodal aspects of the genre’s rhetoric and specifically attend to the ways in which social advertisements construe arguments from the strategic inter-semiotic linking of text and image. Results show that the rhetoric of social advertising is quite distinct from commercial product advertising. This reflects in images with a negative affective impact, direct and semantically explicit appeals to the ethics of responsible recipients, and longer copies that engage in multimodal argumentation essentially based on example and comparison.
Stöckl, Hartmut (in press): Rhetorik der Sozialen/Not-for-Profit Werbung. in: Nina JANICH/Kersten Sven ROTH (eds.) Handbuch Werberhetorik. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter.