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ceptualising the building blocks”17 is so important to study the advertising humour from an ‘intrinsec point of view’. For the authors, advertising epistemic status should result from a restrict number of characteristics such as the listeners pragmatic scepticism towards advertising messages, the coordinate and repetitive messages frequency of the media strategies or the textual competitive environment among others. Advertising humour should reflect these specificities and also others: for example, the referential discoursive practices contained in each advertising message or the increasing role played by some ‘advertising actors’ (e.g. the celebrities, the witness or the presenters) in the communication process.

2 – Advertising classification: a taxonomy suggestion The apparent diversity of humoristic messages is easily overcame if they are conceived as a symbolic phenomenon whose attributes closely express a range of advertising characteristics with structural value. Advertising can be understood as a) a mass communication process produced in a increasingly competitive and precarious pragmatic contexts; b) always presenting a referential value; c) implying the utterance of several speech acts performed by several individuals like presenters, actors, celebrities and, d), connected with the dynamics of the markets and their own operating (and communicating) modalities and strategies. These parameters will underpin four different advertising humour categories: the ‘phatic’, the ‘commercial’, the ‘emotive’ and the ‘intertextual’ humour.

a) The phatic humour In this class, humour is specifically peripheral in what concerns the product or brand universe. For example, what is the connection between Bill Clinton and a specific brand automobile named Smart (figure 1)? Brands and goods remain the thematic focus of every advertising strategy, implying its inevitable referential specificity. There is not advertising without a basic meaning about something which has a commercial status. However, in 17 Nan X. and Faber, R.- “Advertising theory: Reconceptualising the building blocks” in: Sage Articles, 2004. Available at www.sagepublications.com [November 2007]

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