The Narrative Paradigm in Advertising Persuasion

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Topics: Narrative
Martina Javellana 03/19/10 COM 324: Communication Theory and Society

The Narrative Paradigm in Advertising Persuasion

I. Definition of the Theory The Narrative Paradigm Theory is grounded on Fisher’s explanation of storytelling as something natural to man stating that men as “homo narrans” are the “storytelling animals” (Wood, 200). This is an activity most basic to humans and an activity that is distinctive to them. Men relate their experiences in the form of stories possessing a setting, characters, a plot, point of view and a theme. The formation of these stories is what constitutes most of a person’s communication with others as it gauges the person’s depiction of reality and perception of the world in a story-like form. Wood says, stories, more often than not, are associated with written literary works such as novels and fairytales, visual entertainment like movies and other forms like songs. Fisher claims that these aren’t the only sources to find stories (200). From typical conversations with friends, to a student’s presentation, a teacher’s lecture, a church sermon and a convicts plead, the use of narrative and stories is found. According to Fisher, people formulate our stories in a narrative form, narration taken in the context that it includes symbolic words and actions that people may use to assign meaning (Wood, 2000). Drawing from this, narration then allows man to relay messages in a form that captures his subjectivity and those he relates to putting into play the importance of emotional and aesthetic elements. A core principle in Fisher’s paradigm is the element of persuasiveness. Drawing from the fact that humans are naturally storytellers, they are, then, persuaded by compelling or good stories. It is not in the enumerated rational and logical arguments that persuade an audience but rather it is more in the use of a story that gives them “good reasons” for engaging in a particular action. Theses



References: Wood, J. (200), Communication theories in action: an introduction, 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co. Adaval, R., & Wyer, R. (1998). The Role of narratives in consumer information processing. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 7(2), Retrieved from http://www.bm.ust.hk/~mark/staff/mkadaval.html

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