Kenneth Burke developed the theory of "perspective by incongruity" in which he claimed that oddly juxtaposed symbols influence audiences to have new perspectives by challenging their habits of thinking. This study applies Kenneth Burke's rhetorical theory of perspective by incongruity to the Adbusters anti-consumerism campaign. Twenty "spoof ad" postcards created by the Adbusters Media Foundation were analyzed to see how they utilize the technique of incongruous juxtaposition. The analysis concluded that the cards either juxtaposed two incongruous images, two incongruous phrases or words, or a combination of incongruous words and images in order to create new insights about consumer advertising and corporate practices. The study found that the "spoof ad's" messages could be broken down into four general topic categories: branding, over consumption, body image, and product origination.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Media Foundation (Organization); Mass media criticism; Incongruity in art; Incongruity; Advertising--Social aspects; Advertising--Psychological aspects

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Communication (CLA)


Diane S. Hope

Advisor/Committee Member

Anne T. Demo

Advisor/Committee Member

Bruce Austin


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at P96.C76 G67 2006


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