5. Personal Pronouns The mode of address needs to be given more attention in studying advertising. Adver- tisers aim to create a relationship between the addressees and themselves and the rela- tionship is more complicated than it appears at first glance. Advertisers are, in fact, addres- sing an implied readership based on what ad- vertisers believe we are like or, more impor- tantly, would like to be. This can be described diagrammatically:Real Writer ---- Implied writer ----Text ---- Implied Reader----Real
Reader / Copywriter ---- Narrator ----Text---- Assumption made about us ---- Real Person (Ronald Carter, 1997:199) The ‘real writer’ is the copywriter, although in the advertisement the‘narrator’ will be mas- querading as the text producer. The advertise- ment is addressed to an ‘implied reader’ whose characteristics may be expressed in the adver- tisement. These characteristics may or may not coincide with the characteristics of the ‘real rea- der’. Advertisers use pronominal forms to ad- dress, through the narrator, the actual writer while directing their text at the implied reader.
In the similar field, for the modes of address, Guy Cook notes (1992:155) that advertisers favor the use of pronouns and tend to use them in particular ways. “We” is the manufac- turer, “I” is often the advisor, the expert and the relater of experiences and motives leading to purchase of the product, “he/she” is very often the person who did not use the product. “You” can, however, refer to many people simultaneously, for example, the advertisers can directtheir message at certain groups
to the exclusion of others. They can create an informal and friendly relationship which is more detached in consumers’ mind. The copywriter widely employs personal pronouns in English advertisements. Just as Merril De Voe put it long ago (1956), ‘ Most valuable are names of people and personal pronouns that enter upon people. All first and second personal pronouns are personal, but your copy should be made up predominantly of the latter. Usually the pronoun you, should occur with the greatest frequency’. In most
cases, you andwe and their possessive and objective forms are utilized. Sometimes the third-person pronouns he, she, and they and their possessive and objective forms are em- ployed. Personal pronouns carry important meanings in advertisements. As the second- person pronoun, you is most frequently used in English advertisements, it is natural that its other forms your, and yourself should turn up in the context. Let’s first look at some exam- ples involvingyou, your andyourself.
The Elegant Continental Tea and • Coffee Maker Is YoursFree When • You Choose to Purchase Johan Strauss • Stylishly designed, you will find the slim, • classic lines of this continental tea and coffee • maker---known as a Cafetiere ---will set the • mood for a relaxing break at any time of the • day. The easy-to-use Cafetiere will give you • the ideal opportunity for indulging yourself • with delicious tea and coffee whileyou soak • up the music of Strauss…The perfect match.20
(2) … All it takes to get a better picture is a better videotape. To enjoy a good picture these days you need more than a good screen. You need a videotape designed to bring out the best in all the video equipment yourown. Youneed a videotape that delivers crisp colors and clear sounds. You need a videotape that looks every bit as vivid on extended playing time as it does on standard. You need a video- tape so technologically advanced that it can keep yourpicture perfect even after hundreds of replays.
In short, you need Fuji video- tape. Because if you want to improve your picture, all you really have to do is improve your video tape. (3) POWERFUL SOFTWARE LINKED TOYOURSPECIFIC NEEDS Knowledge is power. The strength of your management informa- tion system shapes your business future. Is your accounting software designed for the way you work? Can that software deliver the quality of management information that lets you plan and control your business?
Omicron’s DOS, Unix and Xenix Power Products have been molded to work for your business. More than 6,000 ‘Power’ users have turned to Omicron’s power and flexibility. Find out why, call us today. In many advertisements you is repeatedly used. From the examples quoted above, it is easy to see that through the use of you,your, yours and yourself, the advertiser is communi- cating or talking directly to you, which refers to any reader or audience. It sounds as if he or she
is putting across messages or giving desirable advice to you in front of your face. In example (1), the advertiser describes the appearance and ideal functions of Cafetiere, a continental tea and coffee maker, as if face to face with you. In fact, the advertiser is creating a char- ming image of his product, which is fascina- ting and stimulating to you through the use of you, yours and yourself. In example (2), the ad- vertiser actually makes much effort to persuade you to buy Fuji videotape. It is to be noted that in this example, many reasons are given
to suggest you possess Fuji videotape as early as possible. From this example, we cansee that the advertiser makes full use of repetition: here you need is repeated six times and videotape six times too, impacting people’s nerves strongly and repeatedly. Naturally, the most impressive are the two phrases: you need and videotape. They form a sentence with a clear meaning: you need a videotape. Example (3) is an advertisement of the accounting software --- Omicron’s DOS. Here, the advertiser aims to persuade you to buy
this kind of accounting software, but from the text the advertiser seems to consider consumers’ interests, so that the potential consumers might take real action. Why does the copy writer or advertiser favor the use of you in the process of com- posing ads? ‘Because you not only suggests a one-to-one personal relationship, but also implies that the advertiser can not know whom they are reaching…The use of you is powerful because it is slippery, not because it picks up one person…’ (GregMyers, 1944:79).
To sell like a sales person, ads have to address up personally, even when they address millions of us at once. Besides you, we is the second most common personal pronoun in English adver- tisements. Since we often appears in ads,our, oursand ourselves naturally emerge in the context. We has different references in diffe- rent contexts: wemay refer to the advertiser, or the secondary advertiser, or the sales per- son, or the producer, or the agent, and it may or may not include the addressee. Since you
always turns up in ads,wenaturally appears so often. But why is wesaid to be the second most common personal pronoun? This is becausewe is sometimes omitted or implied or need not be mentioned and because you is more often required to express the neces- sary information. It is to be noted that weis always tricky, because it can be used in both exclusive and inclusive senses, that is, either including or not including the person who is spoken to. In ads, one use produces a sense of solidarity with the customer, the other projects
the image of the company as personal’(Greg Myers, 1994:81). Here are two examples: (4) Before you buy a new Skoda, shouldn’t you read the small print? See those little words beneath our badge? The ones that say Volkswagen Group? They are testimony to our partnership with VW. Together, we’ve spent the last three years Challenging and questioning everything that Skoda does. The result of this process is the new Felica.
Like all Skodas, it’s spacious, yet, at the sametime, economical enough to meet the needs of a buyer who wants to make a sen- sible choice. Moreover, it embraces Europe’s highest quality control and safety standards. Free from the constraints of the cold war and with the help of our friends at VW, our work force have built a car that ranks alongside the best in Europe. But, perhaps more importantly, the whole experience has produced a company that ranks alongside the best in Europe.
We’ve changed the car. We’ve changed the company. The question is, are you open enough to change your mind? We’ve changed the car. Can you change your mind ? (5) Lately you’ve been hearing a lot of auto companies talking about safety. And at Ford, we’re proud to say that safety has been a part of our heritage for years. After all, we were the first U.S. car maker to offer safety class stan- dard, and the first to offer a protection package that included safety belts and padded instru-
ment panel. Because to us, safety is more than just the latest trend: it’s a key ingredient in the trust we’ve built with ourcustomers over the years. In the above-mentioned examples, weand its possessive form our turn up several times. It goes without saying that we and our are used in the exclusive sense, that is, the customers are excluded. Through the use and repetition ofwe and our, the advertiser, who seems to be talking face to face with you, the reader or the customer, is telling you what effort the company has made and what successes
it has achieved, thus creating a wonderful personal image of the car company. Of course, the advertiser usually employs we and you in the same context, where the two sides of discourse become quite clear, as can be seen from the examples quoted above. However, the copy writer will prefer using “ You attitude ” to using “Me attitude”, because “You attitude ” rings more cordial to consumers, and it can express readers’ needs, desires, and hopes more effectively.
Let’s observe the following examples. • “Me attitude”: • We are pleased to announce our new flight • schedule from Cincinnati to Philadelphia, • which is any hour on the hour. • (b) We believe this vacuum cleaner to be tech- • nically superior to any other on the market. • “You attitude”: • You can take a plane from Cincinnati to • Philadelphia any hour on the hour. • (b)Your house will be more beautiful because you’ll be using the most powerful, easy-to- • use vacuum we have ever offered.
From the above-mentioned examples, we can come to the conclusion that “ You attitude ” can communicate an advertising idea more convincingly and persuade poten- tial consumers to accept the advertiser’s pro- motion. The first person I is sometimes used in ad texts. As we all know, in some ads, such as book ads, particularly in commer- cials, products or services are advertised through the mouths of famous people like well-known actors and actresses, professors and scientists. Naturally, in such cases, I is used
to bring out the personal experience and feelings or thoughts of the customer whose role is played by a famous person who adver- tises the product or service. The qualities, or properties, or advantages of the product or service made clear by a secondary advertiser through the use ofI are considered more objec- tive, more powerful, and so more believable and more reliable from the psychological point of view. But Iis also tricky and slippery because it can refer to different people in different contexts:
I may refer to the salesperson or stand for an old or potential customer, or speak as designer of a product, e.g. (6) TOM SEAVER Gardener, Baseball Hall-of –Fame Gardening is an important part of my life. I’m often out in my garden by seven. I love the smell in the air, the early mor- ning light. My wife Nancy gave me a bronze plaque. It says: “ He who plants a garden plants happiness.” That’s the way I feel.
I use Miracle-Gro, to make everything in my garden look its best. I learned that secret back when I was a rookie gardener. Tom Seaver In some advertisements what ordinary customers or clients have said is quoted as part of the advertisement to add force to it. e.g. (7) WOMAN: One reason why I bought this Eagle Summit is that I once tried to put all of my luggage in the back of a Toyota Tercel and it just wouldn’t fit.
OFF-CAMERA VOICE: Sounds like a bad experience. WOMAN: Yeah, but it’s all behind me now. Advantage : Eagle (8) “Hi , my name’s Messy Marvin. I got that name because no matter how hard I tried, my room and my clothes were always messy. But then one day, Mom brought home thick, rich, yummy Hershey’s Syrup in the no mess squeeze bottle. And before I knew it, I was making the best cho- colate milk I’d ever had. But I wasn’t making
a mess. It’s fun, too. I just pull the cap and squeeze. Nothing drips, nothing spills. Now Mom’s happy and so am I. My room and my clothes are still a mess, but at least there’s hope. In Example (8), part of the original ad is quoted above----the advertiser has quoted what the woman has said. In fact, what she has said is linked to the advantages the Eagle offers, with the use of the first person pronoun I, the advert becomes much more persuasive and convincing as well as much more reliable and
attractive than if presented by the adver- tiser himself. Example (9) is an advertise- ment of Hershey’s Syrup, which is targeting at the children from six to eleven years old, so the advertiser chooses this boy as a spokes- person. Once the boy, Messy Marvin, appears, he is loved and trusted by consumers, because many families have such a boy who always makes his room and his clothes messy, so what he says will be reliable for potential consumers. It is reported that a lovely and likable
spokesperson can increase the number of positive cognitive responses to the commercial. It is not difficult to find that ads set up relationships with readers or customers by means of use of personal pronouns. Therefore, appropriate applica- tionof personal pronouns plays an important role in bringing about successful adverts.