Multimodality’s challenge to marketing theory: a discussion
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This discussion challenges conventional marketing theory regarding posters and billboards in the twenty first century. It argues against the prevailing dogmatic statement that a poster or billboard must communicate its message in mere seconds (Drewniarny and Jewler 2011). It also points out that convergence of traditional media with new communication technologies is challenging the notion that posters and billboards are still most often viewed from a distance by passers-by (Arens 2004). In contrast, it proposes that assessing how people interact with billboards and posters from a mediated and multimodal discourse perspective is more useful. This involves looking at posters and billboards when they are actually in use rather than considering them only as they are present in the environment. The modal density foreground-background continuum (Norris 2004), the concept of a site of attention (Jones 2005) and the idea of the communicative space (White 2012) are multimodal discourse methodology tools that prove particularly illuminating in this context. While no empirical data is analysed as part of this discussion, mediated and multimodal discourse analysis of two specific examples from previous studies serves to illustrate the points made here.