Advertising is a distinct form of communication and the language used for communicating adverts is distinctive and alluring. Advertising as a form of communication requires a lot of imagination, creativity and logical thinking for it to be effective and successful. The aim of this study is to analyse how GSM network providers employ stylistic features in advertising to the target audience. The study explores non-verbal elements such as slogan, colours, logo, celebrity endorsements, pictures, social media sites, contact details that were used by GSM network providers in their advertisements. The research also investigates stylistic features such as: graphology, foregrounding, lexico-semantics, syntactic, phonological and devices such as imperative verbs, positive adjectives, nouns, adverbs and personal pronouns, personifications in the four major GSM network providers in Nigeria. The research revealed that persuasive elements are eminent in advertising language. The findings of this study contribute to the field of research into or in advertising as it examined language, stylistic features and the effects of GSM network providers’ advertising on the target audience.


Title page i

Certification ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgements iv

Table of content v-ix

Abstract x



Background to the study1-3

Aim and objectives3-4

Research questions4

Statement of research problem4

Significance of the study4-5

Scope and delimitation5

Research methodology5

Theoretical Framework5-6




Definition of keywords7-8

Advertising: as a form of communication and its language8-11

Classification of advertising11-12

GSM network providers in Nigeria12-13

MTN Nigeria13-14

Globacom Limited14

Airtel Nigeria14


Newspapers in Nigeria and its functions15-16

The concept of Stylistics, Style and Language16-18

Levels of stylistic analysis18








Theoretical Framework22

Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL)22-23




Research Sample24

Method of data collection24-25

Method of Data Analysis25

Types of Data25-26




Presentation and discussions of MTN advert27

Analysis and Discussions of data 1: MTN XtraSpecial27-29

Analysis and Discussions of data 2: Smartphones Love MTN30-31

Analysis and Discussions of data 3: MTN YafunYafun Bonus32-34

Presentation and discussions of ETISALAT adverts34

Analysis and Discussions of data 4: ETISALAT Easylife34-35

Analysis and Discussions of data 5: Receive calls for free36-37

Analysis and Discussions of data 6: Your favourite club37-38

Presentation and discussions of GLO adverts38

Analysis and Discussions of data 7: Free data day38-41

Analysis and Discussions of data 8: Glo campus booster zone41-42

Analysis and Discussions of data 9: Glo Mega music nationwide tour43-44

Presentation and discussions of AIRTEL adverts45

Analysis and Discussions of data 10: Truly unlimited data plans45-46

Analysis and Discussions of data 11: Do not buy a pre-registered sim46-47

Analysis and Discussions of data 12: 3-in-1 data, voice and sms bundle48-49

Analysis of colour49-50

Analysis of Slogan50-51

General discussion51



5.1 Conclusion 53-54

5.2 Recommendations 54

5.3 References 55-57


Data 1 MTN 58

Data 2 MTN 59

Data 3 MTN 60

Data 4 ETISALAT 61

Data 5 ETISALAT 62

Data 6 ETISALAT 63

Data 7 GLO 64

Data 8 GLO 65

Data 9 GLO 66

Data 10 AIRTEL 67

Data 11 AIRTEL 68

Data 12 AIRTEL 69



This chapter gives background information on the focus of this research work. This chapter concentrates on: definition of communication, advertising as a form of communication, telecommunication in Nigeria, media of communication and types of communication media in Nigeria. This chapter further introduces the aim and objectives of the study, statement of research problem, scope, significance of the study, research methodology and theoretical framework.


Communication is an important aspect of the society. It is believed to be the life blood of human existence. It involves the interaction between two or more people and in some cases it involves one person (intrapersonal communication). Communication, especially modern means of communication has turned the world into a global village because in these modern times, an individual can communicate with another person with ease regardless of distance. Merriam-webster.com/dictionary defines communication as a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs and behavior. From this definition, it can be deduced that there are certain tools, mediums or means that enable communication to take place. These means could be verbal, written or non-verbal and they could be traditional or modern.

The two broad media of communication are verbal and non-verbal. Verbal communication involves communication through words and it could either be oral or written. Oral communication means transmission of messages through spoken words which could be face-to-face or take place telephones, videoconferences, radio or television. Written communication conveys messages in writing through channels such as: brochures, magazines, newspapers, flyers, internet, e-mails, journals, memos, articles, billboards, postcards etc. Non-verbal communication on the other hand is a form of communication that takes the following forms: body language (facial expression, posture, eye movement, gesture etc.), paralanguage means ‘like language’. Suffice it to say that words convey meaning through paralanguage. It takes place through tone and pitch of voice. Another form of non-verbal communication is the use of sign language which involves visual signs and audio signs. Visual signs communicate through: carvings, pictures, drawing, paintings, maps, diagram, colours, posters, charts, graphs, slides etc. while audio signs convey messages through means such as: alarm clocks, siren, bells, ambulance etc. Non- verbal communication supports the notion that human beings do not communicate through words alone.

Language, whether verbal, written or non-verbal plays a vital role in communication. According to Sapir (1921:8), Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols. Since communication is an act of transmitting or conveying ideas, thoughts or messages, it can be deduced that advertising is a form of communication. As language plays a key role in communication, so is language of paramount importance in advertising. Advertising is a form of communication because it involves the sender (advertiser), the message (the advertisement itself) and the receiver (the target audience). The advertiser uses persuasive and creative language to draw the attention of his audience.

Advertising is an audio or visual form of marketing communication that employs certain creative techniques or methods to ‘promote’ or ‘sell’ products and services (source: https//enmwikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising). In advertising, the choice of language varieties influences how advertisements are structured and conveyed to the audience. Okpaleke (1992:21) in Ezejideaku&Ugwu (2010)opines that the language of advertising must be informative, instructive, distinctive, alluring and persuasive. Language has a strong influence over people and their behaviour. The language of advertising is usually positive and it emphasizes why a product stands out in comparison with another. Advertising is a form of communication and it persuades us with the aim of influencing our decision towards acquiring a particular product. The advertiser’s choice of language to positively influence the attitude of the audience is very essential. Advertisement is communicated through various means such as: television, radio, magazines, e-mails, bill-boards, internet, flyers, posters, newspapers etc.

According to Leech (1966:25) in Ezejideaku&Ugwu (2010), the four characteristics of successful advertising are: attention value, readability, memorability and selling power. By attention value, this means that it must provoke the consumer’s attention and curiosity. Readability of advertising means that the message must be easily grasped and assimilated. Memorability involves the features in advertising such as: brand names, slogans that make it to be memorable and easily remembered while selling power refers to grammatical features such as imperative clauses that make advertising saleable. From the foregoing, Advertising as a form of communication requires a lot of imagination, creativity and logical thinking for it to be successful and effective.


The aim of this essay is to carefully examine the language features of network providers in the process of advertising their products. To achieve this aim, this research work would be hinged upon the following objectives.

(i) The choice of language used in advertising

(ii) The effects of the choice on the target audience

(iii) To examine the stylistic features of GSM network providers’ newspapers advertisements.


(i) What is the choice of language used in advertising?

(ii) What are the effects of the choice on the target audience?

(iii) What are   the   stylistic   features   of   GSM   network   providers’   newspapers advertisements?


Communication is an integral part of the society and since advertising is a form of communication, the domain of advertising is a domain where diverse researches have been carried out. Several scholarly researches have been carried out on the area of advertising language, forms of advertising and so on. For instance, Adegoju (2014) examined the verbal and visual signifiers in some GSM advertisements in Nigeria, Ezejideaku and Ugwu (2010) examine the linguistics of Newspaper adverting in Nigeria, Kannan and Tyagi (2013) also investigated the use of language in advertisements, Kadry (2015) explored the creative concept and its role in advertising design and even a stylistic analysis of English online advertisements by telecommunication providers has been carried out by Haulofu (2017). This research work seeks to carry out a stylistic analysis of the language of advertisement of GSM network providers in selected Nigerian newspapers. This research work would focus on the four major GSM network providers in Nigeria: Mtn, Glo, Etisalat and Airtel.


This research work would be of immense value to those who have particular interests in Stylistics and mode of advertisement. Though diverse researches have been carried out on different modes of advertisements, this work is specific in that it focuses on the advertisements of network providers. This present study would focus on four major GSM network providers in Nigeria. It would serve as a referential source for any scholarly research to be carried out in areas similar to the focus of this research work.


As highlighted earlier, there are numerous channels or means of advertisements such as television, radio, magazines, internet, newspapers, telephones, handbills etc. it would be impossible to use all these channels as primary source for the advertisements to be used for this project within the given time. To be able to complete this project in time, the primary source of data would be newspapers. This work would carry out both linguistic and literary stylistic analysis and different levels of stylistic analysis such as: graphology, syntax, phonology, lexico-semantics, references, cohesion, foregrounding, and deviation.


This study is structured within the methodological framework of stylistics. The sampling technique adopted for this research is the purposive sampling technique which is a deliberate selection of data sources to cater for the requirements of the research. Hence, this research work would examine the four major GSM service providers in Nigeria which are Mtn, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat. Three newspapers advertisements on each GSM service provider would be selected, making a total of twelve sources of data for analysis.


The essence of the theoretical framework in research writing is to backup the research work with theories that are appropriate to the study in order maintain the relevance of the study to scholarship. The theory to be used for the study is Halliday’s Systemic

Functional Linguistics (SFL) which is a theory of language that centers on the view of language function


This chapter has provided a general introduction into the concerns and focus of this study. It lays a foundation for identifying the progression of the study.




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