Publication details [#11979]

Van Mulken, Margot, Andreu van Hooft and Ulrike Nederstigt. 2014. Finding the Tipping Point: Visual Metaphor and Conceptual Complexity in Advertising. Journal of Advertising 43 (4) : 333–343. 11 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Taylor & Francis Ltd


The article discusses the role of visual metaphor in advertising. The authors depart from the assumption that visual metaphors constituting a moderate challenge are likely to have a bigger impact on appreciation than simpler or more complex metaphors. The study is thus an attempt to test this claim and identify the tipping point. In an experiment conducted by the authors, 485 participants were asked to assess 16 different metaphors (in advertisements for 16 different product categories) with different conceptual complexity. The results demonstrate that metaphors of moderate complexity, despite being understood less that simpler metaphors, tend to be appreciated more than both simpler and more complex metaphors.