Presupposition in Advertisements

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Since a long time ago, almost everybody has had the feeling that advertisements are everywhere.

Even if you do not find them outdoors, they are found in magazines, TV, and you simply can assert that they are part of our lives.  They have a great influence on our behavior and they reveal our cultural traditions and values.

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With the accelerated development of technology, advertisements have become very influential on the consumer. Advertisement now is one of many means of communication in which they deliver messages to the public almost every single minute in our daily life.

In such kind of communication, the important aspect is the presuppositions. Its importance is derived from the necessary precondition for the processing of any communication.

Advertisements often convey ideas indirectly rather than asserting them overtly. As a simple person, one may not be aware of the presupposition in advertisements, but it is there. Presupposition is an important part of any message leaving the person’s mind provides the meaning. For example, ‘What’s great about our food?’ Although what exactly is great about the product is left open, the message still presupposes that there is something great about that particular food.

Presupposition is often employed in the language of advertising. One important function of it is to make an advertisement comparative and most importantly, avoid breaking the law. An example of such use of presupposition is the one labeled at Cave restaurant located at our neighborhood: “We are not the only ones, but we are the best”.

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This statement presupposes that the restaurant is the best when compared to the other restaurants of the same product type. To make it legal, the advertisements cannot directly assert that their product is better than other restaurants of the same product types, so they presuppose the message.

Regarding the restaurant ad above, the advertisement cannot directly assert, “Cave restaurant is better than KFC”, otherwise Cave restaurant would probably get into legal disputes. Therefore, they simply state that it is the best without explicitly comparing it with others. Presupposition is used in this particular advertisement to indirectly compare Cave restaurant with its competitors and to state that Cave restaurant is the best, thus to persuade consumers to buy its products rather than those of its competitors.

Another important function of applying presupposition in advertisement is to convey the message in a short and memorable way. In this case, the information will be shared between the customer and advertiser without explanation or any other way of convincing.

One of good examples of presuppositions in short advertisements is ‘PEPSI Max’. Instead of making long statement explaining what ingredients included, ‘PEPSI Max’, unlike the international beverage, it presupposes that the drink contains nearly twice the caffeine compared to diet Pepsi.

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The statement presupposes that this particular drink contains extra quantities or elements, though what exactly is left open for the audience to think about and to find out by buying the product. Presupposition also helps to shorten the message that ‘PEPSI Max’ has more elements or quantities added. However, listing all those elements would be lengthy. Therefore, in order to deliver the message presupposition is used.

In conclusion, advertisement is primarily persuasive in its nature. The crucial part of advertisement language is presupposition. There are many functions of presupposition use in advertisement.

Some use it to persuade consumers to buy their products, others use it to shorten their messages and grab public’s attention. Finally, presupposition is multi-functional in commercials. It is considered one of the most effective communication means between the consumers and the advertisers.

 

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By

Nora Abdullah Al-Mulhim

Email: hn-al-mulhim-at-hotmail.com

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