Culture & Metaphor in Advertising

Why do adverts work? Can creativity cross continents? How does language shape thought? If you want to explore these questions and more, come to the Library of Birmingham (Heritage Learning Space) on 12th March from 2.30 to 4.30 pm for a friendly chat with the EMMA team. We have organised a workshop on Culture & Metaphor in Advertising as part as the 2016 British Science Week.

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In this workshop we explore differences between customers according to their cultural background. We report the results of an experiment that looked at the speed of processing, depth of understanding, and perceived persuasive power of several advertisements by a representative group of men and women from UK, Spain, and China. Our aim is to outline the reasons for the existent differences, thus highlighting how advertisers can improve the outreach of their campaigns. This involves addressing women’s specific needs but also making adverts more coherent from a cognitive point of view. Additionally, we aim to strengthen a critical and conscious consumer attitude.

This workshop involves three different parts:

  1. Introductory talk and discussion: We will explore the strategies that advertisers use and look at how these may facilitate or hinder consumer’s understanding of the advertisements. We will illustrate our talk with examples of advertisements and people’s responses to them and will discuss with the audience issues such as the existence of implicit gender and cultural bias.
  2. Demonstration: We will show how we obtained our data by inviting two people from the audience to take part in some of our lab techniques: a sample reaction time test, an electrodermal activity test, and a qualitative interview. We will display the results and will explain their significance and relevance for advertisers.
  3. Experiment: We will report the results of an experiment we carried out last year at the University of Birmingham in which we tested whether cultural background and gender play a role in establishing significant differences in men and women’s responses to a selection of advertisements. We will also discuss whether differences in the linguistic and cultural background triggers significant differences in consumers’ interpretation of adverts.

Save the date!! We look forward to seeing you there. Don’t forget to register at:



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