Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Linguistics

Subject Categories

Advertising and Promotion Management | Language Interpretation and Translation


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


English and Applied Linguistics

Thesis Adviser

Rochelle Irene G. Lucas

Defense Panel Chair

Jennifer Tan-De Ramos

Defense Panel Member

Leah E. Gustillo
Jose Cristina M. Pariña
Eden Regala Flores
Alejandro Bernardo


This study is anchored on the principles of Multimodal Discourse Analysis (MDA), which is theoretically based on Fairclough’s (1995) textual analysis, Cuddon’s (1999) and Goddard’s (1998) sound techniques classifications, Linghong’s (2006) word and sentence categories, Cuddon’s (1999) figurative languages types, Halliday’s transitivity model, Anurekha’s units of analysis for TV commercials and Kress and van Leeuwen’s multimodality. The study is quantitative and qualitative in nature. A corpus of 507 automobile advertisements (492 static ads and 15 television commercials) randomly collected from various sources such as newspapers (Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, and Manila Bulletin), brochures, flyers, billboards, posters, wall displays, online/ internet, television commercials (aired either in ABS- CBN, GMA, or TV5) and magazine (The Top Gear Magazine Philippines) from January 2013- January 2018. The main focus of the study is to investigate the linguistic (in terms of phonological, lexico- grammatical, semantic, and syntactic levels) elements/ aspects of the automobile ads discourse and the transitivity processes as well as the hidden themes of advertising goals. It also focuses on the examination of television commercials through units of analysis such as content/ concept and presentation style which includes format, appeal, jingle/ music, setting/ costumes, and special effects/ animations, the discourse strategies prevalently employed and the visual compositions of the ads. Results reveal that as regards the four pertinent language levels, the most prevalent features are: alliteration and assonance (phonological level); nouns and monosyllabic verbs (lexical level); personification and metonymy (semantic level); and minor sentence and imperatives (syntactic level). Combinations of sound repetitions are also evident such as alliteration + assonance, alliteration + consonance, and alliteration + assonance + consonance. The six types of transitivity processes are found in the auto ads however, relational, material and mental processes are the most dominant. The use of relational process reveals the creative writers’ goals such as underscoring the following: the features, qualities, and purposes of automobiles, the perks of purchasing cars, their perceived testimonies of car consumers, the decision- making of customers, the worth or value of having a car, the customers or consumers’ characteristics or traits, the time of doing an action for or with the car, the recognitions or achievements, legacy or years of existence, and integrity or credibility of automobile companies as well as the emergence of new and old car models. Furthermore, material processes are used by advertisers to show the duties and responsibilities of car consumers or owners, the obligations and functions of automobile company, the developments and innovations of car products, the advent of company’s latest car models, the attributes of automobiles, the personal satisfaction of car consumers for having cars, the legacy, achievements or awards and number of years of existence of automobile companies as well as the car choice or preference of customers. The usage of mental processes brought out their advertising objectives of highlighting the customer’s assumed strong emotions or feelings towards cars, customers’ cognition in relation to consuming cars, the ways customers perceived cars, and the customers’ desires to do and future plans for or with cars. For the television commercials, the prevailing promising themes that the creators of the commercials wish the target audiences to understand are as follows: a) sense of inspiration and optimism and suitability of the product for people from all walks of life; b) gender equality in relation to car ownership and use; c) happy-go-lucky mood and adventure, sense of pleasure and fun, life’s fulfillment and enjoyment, and reminiscence of good memories; d) portrayal of the

endorsed car’s attributes; e) speed and endurance; f) speed and space; g) lifestyle; and h)relationship or relational bond which is represented in various forms such as relationship between parents and a child/ children; between and among parents, grandparents, and a child; between a husband and a wife; between a father and a son/ daughter; between a mother and a son/ daughter; between and among friends; between opposite sex (lovers); between and among workmates; between a delivery boy and a client; as well as between a driver and the passenger/s. Further, the TV commercials also brought forth several values of Filipinos. These are: a) close/ strong family ties; b) pakikisama through leisure or relaxation; c) romance and love; d) resilience towards achievement and success; and e) sense of gratefulness for blessings. Contrariwise, in the face of the positive standpoints pointed out, one negative concept discerned across the data is the objectification of a woman. In spite of the fact that reaching the general public or people from all walks of life is the ultimate aim of automobile television commercials, the analysis also put on show the specific people the commercials wish to target. They are family customers especially the heads, breadwinners or providers of the family; adult customers; adventurous millennials or young people; students; young professionals; young couples; people who have the urge/ inclination for extreme adventure and thrill; and people who tend to tour or to outing by a car. With regard to presentation style, the major formats recognized are choice of model, slice of life, and fantasy. Emotional appeal is the overall appeal used which at times intertwined with sensual and humour appeals. Love and pleasure are the prevalent emotions existing in the ads. The commercials are also equipped with specific jingles or soundtracks. Even background music with fast, rough, fine, cool, and subtle tunes and tones are incorporated. Some have upbeat, cheerful and happy tones while some are slow at the beginning of the commercials but gets louder towards the end. Some just simply used instrumental music with sounds of drums. Moreover, the strong aesthetic power of the TV ads is also attributed to the colours used which are vibrant, lively, and energetic. The featured cars are also available in various hues which indicate specific characteristics. The colours of the settings and costumes contribute to the artistic value of the ads. Advertisers prefer bright, vivacious colored backgrounds and costumes. For temporal settings such as daytime and nigh time as well as fine and gloomy weathers, white and dark colours show disparity but are imperative in bringing out the endorsed cars’ special attributes. The commercials also featured verdant trees and grass, the use of flamboyant clothes or get-ups of the actors or endorsers and the use of light and bright colored garments. In some, the use of dark ones is more fitting to show a sense of balance. In a way, the integration of various colours also show diversity within Philippine culture. The colorful choice of advertisers illuminates present- day and modernization. As regards settings, most of the TV ads are set in various places in the Philippines. The bulk of the commercials are shot in outdoor locations such as in a field, in a lush, in a tunnel- road, in tree-lined roads, in seaside roads, in off- roads and in on- roads. The inclusion of beach (seashore), country side camp site, and mountain top locales also offer a distinct image of the cars for its ability to have a premium and excellent performance. Other settings like school compound, village, homes, inside the company building, flower shop, cakes shop, outside and in the façade of

a building, and in an event venue also meaningfully manifest where the daily routines and practices of Filipinos take place. In addition, the choice of daytime or night time is also apparent as temporal setting. Further, the costumes in the commercials reveal casualness, informality and day-to-day lifestyles. As to the use of special effects or animations, majority of the ads have really no special effects aside from the use of sound and visual effects. Among the remarkable effects used in some of the commercials are motion control photography and computer- generated imagery. In terms of editing style, the TV commercials are governed with the normal or standard paced type. Some of the commercials purposefully tend to use fast pacing to underscore action or force. Other advertisers also deliberately combined these pacing types in which the automobile commercials start from a slow one and continues to be slightly fast until it totally becomes rapid. For the commercials that contain numerous shots, they package them all in a fast- paced scheme using montage editing style. In addition, the textual analysis of the corpus has identified some discourse strategies consciously and firmly applied by producers/ creative writers in producing and fashioning the texts of the ads. These are the use of: direct address; emotive, sensory and cautive words; word cline; different texts’ font styles and sizes; sense of informality; redundancy/ repetition; acronyms; code- switching and code- mixing; innovative word- formation; full stops and dashes; positive self- representation; irrealisis representation; puffery; testimonial evidence; statistical evidence; accolade evidence; advertising jargon/ technical words; special holidays, dates, and events representation; as well as intentional typographical error. Lastly, the multimodality enquiry discloses that in total, the compositional analysis of automobile advertisements displays the preference of advertisers on the use of top/ bottom information. In terms of salience, the marketed car/s is/ are mostly found in the center which is usually the one being foregrounded with the nature or environment specifically outdoor places (i.e. mountain ranges, on- road, off-road, city places, etc.) as the frequent backgrounds. The colors employed contrast to balance the two grounds. The temporal setting is normally in daytime with bright colors used to show bright physical locales. The use of different font styles and sizes is also evident in the corpus in which the texts are either written in small letters, capital letters or combination of the two. Bold printing also exists for grander weight based on the level of importance the verbal component has. On the other hand, the frames of the advertisements come also in different sizes. While it is true that advertisers prefer most the presence of dividing line/s, they tend to do it either vertically, horizontally or diagonally but not to forget that the absence of separating line/s still emerges.

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Linguistic analysis (Linguistics); Corpora (Linguistics); Advertising—Automobiles

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