Metaphors compare two distinct things using figurative language to draw direct comparisons. It is a common linguistic tool leveraged in marketing due to the opportunity metaphors provide to produce vivid and memorable associations.
Marketing metaphors can create strong connections between products, brands, or services and the desired emotional responses when used effectively. Metaphors go beyond the literal meaning of a word or phrase to create imaginative and compelling comparisons.
Metaphors are all around us. There are probably numerous phrases you've heard that you didn't realize are actually metaphors. Here are a few common metaphor examples:
1. Life is a journey.
2. The world's a stage.
3. Love is a battlefield.
4. Her smile was a ray of sunshine.
5. The city was a symphony of sirens and horns.
6. The bookshop was a time capsule of forgotten stories.
These metaphor examples take complex ideas and emotions and equate them in an imaginative and memorable manner. These examples get readers and consumers thinking metaphorically by providing unique meaning to creative ideas.
There are a plethora of types of metaphors. Whether in a poem, literature, or a marketing campaign, different types of metaphors can help provide powerful detail to your messages. Understanding the different types of metaphors and how to use them in your marketing efforts will help your campaigns shine.
These are some of the most common types of metaphors:
There are certain cliches that you've heard over and over again. "Head over heels". "Heart of gold". "Hold your horses". These overused metaphors are repeated so often they lose their original meaning — hence, the term "dead metaphors" was born.
A dead metaphor is a figure of speech, often used in idioms, that became so popular and widely used that it lost the original sense of imagery it was meant to convey. Although dead metaphors don't convey information as uniquely as other types of metaphors, they are still used consistently throughout the language.
A figure of speech combining multiple metaphors is a mixed metaphor. It often involves mixing two or more metaphors that result in a humourous or illogical image.
Mixed metaphors are not always intentional but are often used purposefully for comedic relief. However, use mixed metaphors sparingly to avoid confusion and overly convoluted expressions.
Here is an example of a mixed metaphor: "He's a loose cannon with a chip on his shoulder."
In this case, "a loose cannon" is a common figure of speech denoting someone who exhibits unpredictable or reckless behavior. "A chip on his shoulder" is a metaphor describing someone harboring resentment.
The two metaphors are unrelated in nature, but the combination paints an odd picture of an unpredictable person holding a grudge. Depending on the context of this mixed metaphor, it could come across as humorous or confusing.
An extended metaphor is used throughout the entire passage of work as opposed to a regular metaphor which makes a single comparison. Extended metaphors are drawn out over multiple lines or paragraphs, providing additional depth and imagery to the underlying concept.
Employing an extended metaphor allows the writer to elaborate on the main concept by drawing multiple parallels throughout the text. Similar to an analogy, extended metaphors provide thought-provoking comparisons throughout an entire piece of work. Marketers can employ extended metaphors in their efforts by building several marketing campaigns around one central metaphor.
A visual metaphor leverages vivid imagery to showcase comparisons and is commonly used in the marketing world. Rather than using words alone, visual metaphors rely on images to represent figurative ideas.
Imagery and artwork are used to symbolically represent the main concept. When successfully employed, visual metaphors create lasting mental connections between the images and concepts.
Picture a ladder reaching into the sky. This is an example of a visual metaphor representing the concepts of growth and reaching new heights. The imagery suggests that as you climb and work towards higher goals, the lengths of your achievements are limitless.
Conceptual metaphors play a fundamental role in human cognition and how we understand and view the world. A conceptual metaphor goes beyond literary devices and becomes deeply ingrained concepts used to describe how we relate to the world.
Like an implied metaphor, a conceptual metaphor makes direct comparisons with certain things or objects with a deeper concept.
"Rising to the occasion" is a conceptual metaphor example that has become a staple in the English language. These types of metaphors are used to talk about abstract concepts and put them into terms that are relatable and easy to understand.