Manipulation of teenagers through advertising: a critical discourse approach

María Alcantud Díaz

Abstract

The possible harmful effects of advertising in magazines aimed at teenagers have not lost relevance.Thus the aim of this article is to explore the linguistic characteristics used as foregrounding devices in a corpus of English advertisements aimed at teenagers. My underlying premise is that some linguistic messages or images convey information which is picked up by teenagers creating in them the desire to obtain certain products. In my analysis I attempt to ascertain, if any, what kind of linguistic control and what linguistic devices advertisers use to achieve their goal. Additionally, I try to find out to what extent the power of advertising has something to do with social problems related to compulsive consumerism, health disorders and behavior which affect teenagers. Hence, in my research, I gathered linguistic data from four magazine advertisements and identified the strategies used by prestigious brands to create in teenagers artificially constructed necessities on the basis of Donald Gunn’s classification of manipulative techniques in advertising.

Keywords

Advertising; discourse and power; manipulation; teenagers

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