Storytelling as modern architecture of narration in marketing communication

Magdalena Zubiel-Kasprowicz


Defining advertisement is difficult because marketing communication is a dynamic phenomenon that is constantly developing and is technologically conditioned. The phenomenon of advertising combines still new spheres of human activity, thus entering the realms of sociology, psychology, linguistics, cultural studies, ethics, aesthetics, law or economics. This diversity makes creating a single, complete and thorough definition of the phenomenon impossible. Certainly, one can say that its content depends on the adopted research perspective. In general, most definitions tend to state that advertising is the information about particular goods and the encouragement to their acquisition.

Advertising as a communication statement includes all statement functions as highlighted by Roman Jacobson, from expressive, to impressive, cognitive, and ending with the metalinguistic and the poetic one. These last two functions of marketing statements are characteristic of modern advertising, striving to cover its external persuasiveness. The persuasive nature of advertising causes its constant evolution, change and adaptation to the times, places or culture within which it operates. Further, advertising is constantly looking for still fresh and innovative means of expression. It also amends the existing system of rules for the valid standards. Using the values that are highly appreciated, such as beauty, goodness, and sublimity through aptly selected narrative techniques tends to an etherisation of the message and elimination of overt persuasion. Persuasion identified with the marketing message with informative and manipulative overtones turns into a coded persuasion, which is the basis for erecting the narrative superstructure in the form of storytelling elements. In the wake of recent changes to generate new trends in designing marketing messages, advertising can be reduced to signification not just appearances but whole stories. Narration in the advertising messages is by no means a modern invention. This type of communication is derived from Ferdinand de Saussure’s theory of signs. Jung’s theory of archetypes, Campbell’s model of monomyth, and Barthes’ concept of the symbol and the meaning together with his theory of the marketing message imperative to be based on a narrative, to concoct a story, because only a story has the potential imprint in memory, all can be inscribed into de Saussure’s system.

Stories in advertising messages combat the indifference of the recipient of these messages. To correctly decipher the content encrypted in the image, the symbol or reference to a myth, the consumer must engage intellectually with the substance of the message. That kind of approach to marketing communication ensures permanent contact with the conveyed information that is memorized and germinates there generating the need for ownership.


storytelling, advertising

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Print ISSN: 1643-8175, Online ISSN: 2451-0955, DOI prefix: 10.19197, Principal Contact: