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Beauty Product Advertisements: A Critical Discourse Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 2068 words Published: 28th Sep 2017

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Beauty Product Advertisements: A Critical Discourse Analysis


This study deals with the study of advertisements about different beauty products from critical discourse analysis perspectives this research mainly concern with the use of language in the beauty product advertisements and how these ads influence the costumers. This study is basically focused on Fairclough’s three dimensional frame works. A qualitative research was conducted on the beauty product advertisements of famous beauty products. The main reason to choose this topic was my interest in English language and advertising, for the most part from linguistic point of view. I find advertising language fascinating; therefore, I want to discover its principles, strategies and structure of creative writing and grammatical structures. Advertising has become the part and parcel of present-day life. From everywhere around us, advertisements of different types attack our privacy. In spite of it, there is an attractive power, which is able to control the consumer; an invisible voice of advertisement advocates, encourages, asks, announces and deeply embeds into peoples’ minds.


Advertising is an inevitable part of our modern capitalist consumer society whose outstanding feature is its competitive fight. “…advertising is not some external curiosity which we examine, from which we are separate and superior, but something of which we are part, and which is part of us…” (Cook 1996: 182).

“Advertising, generally speaking, is the promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas, usually performed by an identified sponsor. Marketers see advertising as part of an overall promotional strategy.” (http://www.wikipedia.org/)

The American Heritage Dictionary says that the advertising is:

  1. “The activity of attracting public attention to a product or business, as by paid announcements in the print, broadcast, or electronic media.
  2. The business of designing and writing advertisements.
  3. Advertisements considered as a group: This paper takes no advertising.”

Advertisement is a concrete manifestation of advertising; “a paid public announcement appearing in the media.” (http://www.motto.com/glossary.html)

Another definition of advertising is according to the Investor words glossary:

“Description or presentation of a product, idea, or organization, in order to induce individuals to buy, support, or approve of it.”



Advertisements are seen as media discourse as they involve language and social processes.

Hence fair Clough’s framework is used to show the link between the nature of social practice and the properties of language “texts”. Beauty product advertisements in English Language were analyzed. The sample which I have taken for my research are the several international beauty brands named as L’Oreal, Olay, Garnier, Himalaya, Dove, Vaseline, Lancôme I have taken some ads of these two brands on different products. The data analysis is based on Fair Clough’s Critical Discourse Analysis framework (2001). Hence this framework is used to show the link between the nature of social practice and the properties of language “texts”. His three-dimensional framework includes a conception of discourse as text (micro level), discourse practice (meso level) and socio cultural practice (macro level). Its aim is to explore the relationships among language, ideology and power and to find out how advertisers persuade the women to buy their products. Thus, this study focused on analyzing the linguistic features of beauty product advertisements and highlights how the use of language tends to influence women beliefs based on the content of the advertisements.

Literature review

Cook (1992, p.5) states that advertising is a famous discourse type in practically all fashionable societies, and we live in a society where it is already well established_ or rapidly gaining ground. The important distinguishing feature of ad discourse is its function, because this is always to convince people to buy a particular product. But, this is not the only function.

According to Durant & Lambrou (2009, p.93), at the same time, advertising conveys information, so that consumers know what is available, who makes it, and where and how they can get it.


1 .Substance (physical material of ad)

2. Music and pictures

3. Para language (voice, gestures, type and size of letters, etc.)

4. Situation (“the properties and relations of objects and people in the vicinity of the text, an s

Perceived by the participants”)

5. Co-text (“text which precedes or follows that under analysis”)

6. Inter text (“text which the participants perceive as belonging to other discourse but which

They associate with the text under consideration, and which affect their interpretation”)

7. Participants: senders, addressers, addressees and receivers.

8. Function :(“what the text is intended to do by the senders and addressers, or perceived to

Do by the receivers and addressees”)

(Cook, 1992:1-2)


Textual analysis

This portion of my research deals with the linguistics features of the advertisements to be analysed.At this level we analyze vocabulary, syntax and rhetorical devices use in the ads to be analyzed. In the study there was a great use of direct talk in the advertisements. The use of the second-person personal and possessive pronouns such as ‘you’ and ‘yours’ seek to address the readers directly and personally. When people are addresses individually rather than as part of group viewers, it is considered highly valued. This handling of people on an individual basis is referred as ‘synthetic personalization’ (Fairclough, 1989:62).The ads which I have taken for my research mainly used direct address. Examples are given below

  • Because you’re worth it (L’Oreal)
  • Open up to your beautiful potential (Olay)
  • Why do you want to try Vaseline spray? (Vaseline spray)
  • Can your body wash nourish this deeply? (Dove)
  • Keep your skin pure.(Himalaya)
  • Love your lips.( Lancôme)
  • Tired of whitening promises? We have proof (Vaseline)

In the advertisements there are also questions forced to the readers to create a personal relationship to engage with the readers.

  • Can your body wash nourish this deeply? ( dove body wash ad )
  • Is your volume true? Or “false”? (cover girl mascara ad)

By using questions and imperatives the advertisers are trying to create a closer bond with the readers

Another type of policy to simulate everyday way is the use of disjunctive syntax, that is, sentences without verbs or subjects. These sentences consist of one or two grammatical items only. Examples are:

  • Take care (Garnier)
  • 24 hours of care (Vaseline)

The other important strategy which advertisers use in their ads is use of positive adjectives to manipulate the customers. There are the positive adjectives which were use in those ads which I have taken for analysis these are:

Vibrant, True, Beautiful, Fairness, Pure, Soft, Clear, High Potency, Anti aging, Luxury, long wear, Beauty, Moisture, Touchable soft.


Negative adjectives

Some negatives adjectives are also used in the ads. These are:

Mess, Oily skin, Dark spots, Crow’s feet ,forehead wrinkles, laugh lines, brightness, evenness, Dryness, Dullness, Neck slackening, aging, Dark spot, lines and wrinkles, open pores uneven skin tone.

The use of pronouns in advertisements helps create a friendly atmosphere to persuade the audience. It creates a positive and friendly environment between customers and advertiser. Examples of pronouns in the beauty product advertisements in this study are:

  • Keep your skin pure.
  • Purifies to give you naturally skin.
  • Love your lips.
  • Aura is our science.
  • The skin tone of your dreams.

Advertisers also use technological and scientific words to attract readers. By using such words they hope to imitate an image of professionalism and advancement in technology. In order to impress the consumers, advertiser’s choice to scientific words and information to create an impression that they are new with technology. The followings are extracts from the commercials in this study.

  • Protects skin from UV rays with SPF-18, preventing skin dullness and melasma.
  • with 100% herbal activities of neem.For naturally soft and clean skin

Advertisers use different techniques to make their advertisements more attractive .the main technique which advertisers use in beauty products advertisement is the use of metaphors.

In the ads metaphors are used such as:

  • new cats eyes [ mascara ad]
  • life is a fairy tale [ face wash ad]

The bribery is another skill to attract the customers to the product

Such as:

  • Buy one get one free
  • Get a free sample shop it now.
  • Get a chance to buy a free bottle.

The use of numbers in an advertisement is a technique to catch the attraction of customers towards the product.

For example in following advertisements.

  • 24 hours of care (Vaseline)
  • 200 % more volume zero clumps(mascara ad)
  • ¼ moisturizing cream hydrates skin (dove)
  • Get up to 2 tones fairer in just 7 days.(garnier)
  • 6 hours high potency lip color (Lancôme lipstick)
  • 100% black 100% bold (L’Oreal mascara)
  • Fight 15 signs of ageing (L’Oreal )

The uses of short slogans make it easy for people to remember the brand, the product and the message. For example

  • Go fresh (dove)
  • Take care (garnier)
  • Feel it, wear it ,love it (L’Oreal)
  • Love your lips ( Lancôme)

Strategies used in advertisements

Linguistics devices

Celebrity support


Emotional words

Kajol (Indian actress)

I feel proud to be a part of the brand that has made millions of women feel younger.(Olay )

Ashwaria Roy (Indian actress )

Says about a total repair serum

“5 problems only 1 solution”


Not just a skin care

Revolutionary care (Olay)

Get beautiful ,nourished soft skin (dove)

Strong hairs, fairness ,dark spot prevention, pure skin, pimple-free skin, addictive texture, split–ends free hairs,


Cook, G. (1992). The Discourse of Advertising. 5. London: Routledge.

Durant, A. & Lambrou, M. (2009). Language and Media.93. London: Routledge.

Cook. (1992):The Discourse of Advertising. Londons :Routledge and Kegan Paul


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