Theory of humor : taboos, humor and ethics

Semiotic advertising strategy,
a subtle rhetoric using taboos, humor and ethics

The League Against Cancer launched a campaign using taboos, humor and ethics

In 2008, the League Against Cancer launched a campaign of six posters showing a semiotic advertising strategy. Using taboos, humor and ethics, the utterer developed a sophisticated rhetoric. A rehetoric from operations and figures (syllepse, implied paronomase, anaplodiplose, …) to encourage friends and relatives. To encourage them at risk of one of these cancers to talk about screening (the backbone of the semiotic advertising strategy). These taboos relate to three types of cancer: colon-rectum, breast and uterine cancer.

Through a semiotic advertising strategy analysis we «dismantle » mechanism of humour. This operation in order to show how humour, ethics, values and taboos are involved in the rhetoric of advertising. The analysis reveals the semiotic generation of sense. The study of  the texts, visuals and composition of the six posters enables us to distinguish between the different styles and rhetorical operations used by the taboo of those employed by humour. This article is from a more comprehensive and more general piece of work on humour. This article deals with its types, its properties and the operations which are specific to it.

Same Subject (in French) : Elastoplast

NAS (Nouveaux Actes Sémiotiques), Université de Limoges, publication numérique en ligne (

Catégorie : Parutions

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