‘Reason’ and ‘tickle’ as pragmatic constructs in the discourse of advertising

Paul Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores certain pragmatic features of advertising discourse. It focuses on and expands upon a binary distinction between types of advertising discourse which was proposed initially by Bernstein (1974) and which has been touched upon more recently by other commentators such as Cook (1992). This is the distinction between reason advertisements (those which suggest a motive or reason for purchase) and tickle advertisements (those which appeal to humour, emotion and mood). It will be argued that Bernstein's distinction can be accommodated relatively systematically within contemporary frameworks of language and discourse. Drawing on a range of work in pragmatics and in systemic-functional linguistics, this paper takes some tentative steps towards the development of a theoretical model with accounts for this particular communicative-cognitive dimension of advertising discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-607
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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