Examples of Metaphors in Advertising

By Jorina Fontelera

You could say a detergent gives clothes a dose of summer and freshness.
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Companies use metaphors in advertising -- using words or pictures -- to convey a certain feeling or claim about their products without directly saying what it is they want consumers to know or feel about their products. Metaphors appeal to a consumer’s imagination and allows him to come up to his own conclusion, albeit suggested in the advertising. This type of advertising isn't exclusive to large, national campaigns and can be done on a smaller scale through print ads in local papers and magazines to TV commercials in regional network stations or local cable channels.

Play-Doh Is Safe

Play-Doh ran a campaign in Singapore to show parents that Play-Doh is a safe product for their children. It showed a range of items shaped out of the compound such as pills, a cleaver and a chainsaw that, were they not made with Play-Doh, would be dangerous. The ad concluded that because they are Play-Doh pills, they are perfectly safe for children.

Land Rovers Are Exciting

Land Rover ran an ad campaign that shows a man driving a Land Rover with a lion riding in the backseat, head out the window, just as a dog or traditional household pet would. This ad shows, through the lion metaphor, that Land Rover owners are exciting or extraordinary, as they don't have mere domestic animals as pets.

Shoes Are a Treat

Kapiti’s Designer Ice Cream campaign compares Kapiti shoes to the frozen treat, going so far as to label the ad "Designer Ice Cream" even though the image clearly shows shoes. The visual of shoes that are melting gives the impression that these shoes are a treat, just like ice cream, but also that they are going fast, as ice cream melts quickly. Consumers get the idea that this is a luxury and that it is not going to be around forever, so if they want this treat, they'd better get it soon.

Allegro Is Competitive

For its 10th anniversary, Allegro launched a campaign called “Climb on Anything.” The ad for this Polish equivalent of eBay showed a person rock climbing using various household items you would find on its site as handholds and footholds. The rock climbing metaphor shows that Allegra is competitive and adventurous and are on a continuous quest to get to the top. People should want to partner with a company always striving to be the best.