n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - Mass media advertisements : responses to selected advertisements in semi-urban Limpopo




This article developed from pilot research in a coursework Master's module in African Languages into combined outcomes of persuasive messages and visual literacy based on semiotics. It tested assertions by various writers about mass media, as applicable to a semi-urban or rural group of (black) South Africans with educational levels ranging from Grade 10 to Honours level. Owing to the fact that interviewees are financially constrained (and therefore cannot always afford television access or the acquisition of magazines), the focus of 'persuasive messages' was on billboard advertising in their living and work contexts. It was found that the consumers (respondents to the questionnaire) reacted positively to billboards that supported products on which they have been relying; that once they have been introduced to a product and found it efficient, competitive campaigns do not impinge on their stance; but also that in this particular semi-urban area traditional values folklore and usages have to be taken into consideration by advertisers for effective communication.


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