Ideological Assumptions and Covert Communication in Christian Advertisement Discourse

Jeremiah Anene Nwankwegu


Advertising communication relies considerably on inferences and assumptions which help proceed towards eventual interpretation(s). It is the task of the audience to supply those implications based on the presumption of optimal relevance. Christian advertising as a specific domain draws largely from Christian ideological assumptions and communicates certain overt and covert messages.  The audience’s background knowledge and assumptions are crucial factors in the relevance-theoretic interpretation of advertisement messages. This work examines how ideological meanings and implicatures are communicated, what they communicate and how they are interpreted in Christian advertisements. The Relevance theoretical framework is employed for the analysis of the data. Seventeen (17) textual samples of Christian adverts drawn from handbills, posters and billboards in Abakaliki, Nigeria, are analysed. It is observed that Christian advertisers and their target audience share common values, which usually form the background, based upon which they both interact within the platform of language of advertising. The advertisers appeal to the audience through the offer of some benefits, mostly abstract, for which they cannot be held responsible if not fulfilled.

Keywords: advertising, ideological assumptions, covert communication, Christian advertisements, relevance theory

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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