The continuous interest in and concern with business communication can be detected in the way critical aspects of this kind of communication are represented and debated in a wide range of discourses in a wide range of contexts. Drawing upon a social semiotic perspective, this paper explores the persuasive counter discourse of Media Bites videos: http://griid.org/category/media-bites/. The videos are a part of GRIID organization’s efforts directed at revealing misleading communicative strategies employed in various business contexts. In these instructive videos, the viewers are made familiar with the characteristics and potential fallacies of the advertising discourse of commercials. The original advertising discourse is deconstructed and reconstructed with additional visual material in front of the viewers’ eyes who are instructed by a voiceover narrator what to look at and how to identify and decode the misleading strategies employed. The viewers are also instructed where else they can find information about these strategies and the consequences of misleading advertising discourse. The argumentation framework of the Media Bites videos is also persuasively articulated for engaging the viewers as active and critical participants in the process of message understanding. In this paper, I explore the Media Bites videos that identify and discuss problematic gender issues in commercials advertising various products. I adopt a multimodal approach in my discourse analysis and I establish which semiotic modes are given prominence in the argumentation by examining their complex interplay and functional differentiation. The ways in which speech, writing and images articulate the counter discourse occupy a central position in the analysis. A special focus is put on the multimodal configuration of specific argumentation elements. The persuasive role of each multimodal configuration in the dialogic progression of the counter discourse is also explained. This paper concludes that multimodal analyses of such counter discourses provide the means for a more nuanced understanding of both traditional business discourses and new multimodal ways of discussing them. References Kress, G. 2010. Multimodality. A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. London: Routledge. Van Leeuwen, Theo. 2008. Discourse and Practice. New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chouliaraki, L. 2008. Mediation, text and action. In Bhatia V.K., J. Flowerdew and R. H. Jones (Eds.) Advances in Discourse Studies. London: Routledge, pp. 211- 228. Santulli, F. 2007. The rhetoric of multimodality: the persuasive power of visual-verbal interplay. In G. Garzone, G. Poncini and P. Cantenaccio (Eds.) Multimodality in Corporate Communication.Web genres and discursive identity. Milano: FrancoAngeli, pp. 31-55.
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Sixth International Conference on Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise, 2011