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Country tourism slogans: linguistic elements to persuade potential tourists


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María Luisa Blanco GómezUniversidad Rey Juan Carlos


The current study focuses on the linguistic aspects included in tourism slogans from numerous countries in the world. To attract potential customers to visit a foreign country, marketers and advertisers make use of certain techniques where words are selected with greatest meticulousness; therefore, the objective of this paper is to analyze the use and purpose of some linguistic devices in country advertising slogans and their effect on potential tourists. In order to do so, we will break down the structure and words included in country tourism slogans examining the reasons why some tourism slogans work and make people want to visit a specific country, which is directly related to slogan persuasiveness. For this paper we have used a corpus of slogans written in English corresponding to almost 150 countries in the world. Most of the slogans chosen satisfy the basic prerequisites of effective slogans, that is, they pursue the following requirements: simplicity (short and easy to remember), memorability (impact and catchiness), emotion (luxury, safety, adventure, inspiration) and differentiation (to stand out).

In order to find out the most frequent devices used in country slogans, and to check their persuasive power, we have analyzed the syntactic and lexical aspects on the one hand and the sematic aspects on the other, but we have also considered the phonological aspect (for example, rhyme and alliteration), which also plays a significant role when dealing with slogans. It is true that globalization as “the process of growing worldwide interconnectedness and interdependency, adds extra layers of complexity to the way touristic representations are created and circulated” (Salazar, 2006: 833) but we have found that, to a certain extent, country slogans share some common characteristics while we have also observed several differences depending on the area of the world, which point to some cultural contrasts. Therefore, the results make clear that the most prevalent linguistic features found in the analyzed slogans are the following: use of positive words, which connect with potential tourists and transmit positive emotions that tend to stay for a while; comparative and superlative adjectives also pointing to a positive feeling; imperatives employed to leave a deeper impression than an affirmative sentence; deixis; ellipsis, as well as rhetorical figures -such as hyperbole and metaphor- also taking into account their phonological aspects. Findings show that this kind of slogan is usually very simple and raise a special interest by appealing to the affective component of potential customers, thus confirming that well-chosen devices can make advertising slogans more powerful and persuasive.

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    • profile avatar

      Ana Cristina Antunes

      Comentó el 12/04/2023 a las 18:13:10

      Congratulations for a very interesting presentation!
      It was striking to see all these different strategies applied by tourism advertising.
      I would like to ask you if in your future research you consider examining these slogans through another linguistic lenses, for instance by using the Linguistic Category Model (LCM) developed by Semin and Fiedler.
      Thank you so much, Ana Cristina

      • profile avatar

        María Luisa Blanco Gómez

        Comentó el 12/04/2023 a las 18:39:17

        Thank you for your words and your suggestion, Ana Cristina. The thing is that it would be really interesting to go through some slogans using the LCM, an excellent tool for a systematic analysis. I will keep that in mind, thank you again for your insightful comment.
        Kind regards, María Luisa

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      Alba Merino-Cajaraville

      Comentó el 12/04/2023 a las 10:45:12

      I find your presentation very interesting!
      As a communicator, I am very struck by the way different regions of the world are publicised through linguistic issues.
      I would like to ask you if for future research you plan to study it at the internal level of a single country, for example Spain, to find out the differences in the way of communicating that may exist between the north and the south, for example.
      Thanks and congratulations, María Luisa.

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        María Luisa Blanco Gómez

        Comentó el 12/04/2023 a las 11:15:34

        Thank you for your kind words, Alba, in fact this is something I have in mind, not only comparing the different slogans used in different regions of a country but also their target audience, depending on whether the message is addressed to Spanish or foreign potential tourists. I’m glad you liked my presentation. Thank you and kind regards.

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      Elena Cristina Tudor

      Comentó el 11/04/2023 a las 17:32:20

      Congratulations! I find your exhibition very interesting but I have this curiosity: Is there any study that analyzes the weight or importance of slogans in tourism advertising in contrast with other types of advertising? I think that a tourist advertisement (which sometimes implies the payment of significant money) is not the same as the commercial advertisement of a yogurt or that which we can see in a context of political elections. Thank you very much.

      • profile avatar

        María Luisa Blanco Gómez

        Comentó el 11/04/2023 a las 17:44:05

        Marketing in tourism is usually different because most of the time the tourism industry tries to sell a service, not a physical product, what is more, what tries to be sold is an intangible experience, and sometimes the tourism experience of visiting a country is a huge combination of different services. Moreover, slogans sometimes change based of potential tourists since the potential tourist visiting a place today is probably different from the one that will visit the country in a few months or years.
        Regarding your question, I do not know a study that focuses on a comparison between tourism slogans and other types of advertising in general, but it could be a good idea for future research. Thank you for your question and comment.

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