Semiotics: A critical analysis of three advertisements

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Ellison 1. Under a Creative Commons license. Abstract Drawing from a collection of over North American print advertisements for anti-aging skin care products from January to December of , this paper examines the discourse of age less ness, a vision of esthetic perfection and optimal health that is continually referred to by gerontologists, cultural theorists, and scientific researchers as a state of being to which humankind can aspire.

Keywords Anti-aging. Recommended articles Citing articles 0. While it has plenty of lofty, academic associations, it has practical implications for marketers, too. This post walks you through the basics of semiotics, its relevance to marketing, and how to apply it to your brand and messaging—with tons of examples throughout. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols.

It explains meaning through our social and cultural background , revealing how we interpret messages instinctively. Our subconscious interpretations rely on emotions, not information. Psychologist Daniel Kahneman calls it the preponderance of System 1 emotional over System 2 rational in the human brain:. Your feelings and impressions are influenced by the world around you [. That powerful but invisible communication is exactly what semiotics can help marketers understand. Marketing is all about communicating the right message, at the right time, to the right person.

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Semiotics helps you do that. Semiotic theories and methods can be used to identify trends in popular culture, to understand how consumer attitudes and behavior are formed in relation to popular culture, including brands, and how marketing and advertising programs can best meet the needs of consumers by improving communication with the end user.

Apple is the quintessential example of a brand that has intertwined itself with identity. Apple sells those traits as much as it sells hardware. Words, images, sounds, gestures, and objects are all signs to interpret. A semiotic analysis can interpret each, then use that information later to persuade consumers. Each sign consists of two parts :. A semiotic analysis decodes the meanings cues that resonate with your audience.

With that knowledge, you can incorporate the decoded elements into your brand and throughout your marketing communications. A semiotic analysis can be part of a checklist when developing a new ad campaign or publishing a core content asset.

Brand Myth

You can run the analysis yourself or with your marketing team. Even better, invite representatives of other departments or, if you have the budget, members of your target audience. The ways to run a semiotic analysis parallel other forms of qualitative research :.


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Start with these three, then develop a chain of sub questions:. Your brand is a sign.

Digication ePortfolio :: ENG :: Critical Analysis and Semiotics

You create it with a mission, values, and meaning in mind. You then code those elements into your brand message, implicitly and explicitly. When you succeed with branding, the target audience decodes meanings as intended, and the brand is ingrained within their identity. To return to Apple, the company has cultivated a culture of knowledge , creativity , and innovation back to , when they introduced their new Macintosh computer to the world. A semiotic branding triangle provides a process to define a brand and its interpretations. There are three aspects:. Attending to all three will help you deliver strong brand messaging that your audience interprets as you intend.

Once identified, adopt the cues of your audience into your brand architecture—symbolic elements such as your logo, brand colors, text content, advertisements, cultural symbols, website, and the physical environment of your brand.

How to analyze a print advertisement

Consider the psychological and emotional associations of colors when choosing a palette to communicate corresponding meanings to the audience. This formula by Matt Ellis can help:. Ellis holds up Coors as an example. Appealing to mature, blue-collar customers, the brand chooses dark blue and and an earthy golden shade to help the target audience identify with beer.

For that matter, take just about every fast food outlet. The shape of your logo has semiotic meaning, too. Circles, for example, communicate friendship, unity, and warmth. Squares are for power and professionalism—lines offer strength as well as tranquillity. The impact of something like font choice is often easiest to understand in the extremes.

Comic Sans, for example, would be the wrong choice for Amnesty International. Shave money. Niantic changed the gaming culture in when Pokemon Go went live and encouraged gamers to interact in the real world rather than online. The semiology study in particular is based on theory developed by Saussure and Pierce and means study of the signs in the text. When media analysis is made it is about to show the relationship between the signs in certain text. Pierce states that everything we do can be seen as sign.

Visual images reinforce traditional gender and sexuality stereotypes through the manifestation of the masculine and feminine miens. An examination of print media advertisements highlights the social and cultural ideologies associated with traditional gender roles that are expected and imposed on by society. They have a strong.

What is semiotics?

Roland Barthes developed a range of semiotic tools to analyse the cultural meanings that are conveyed in advertising images, in a particular context. Using these semiotic tools, select and analyse four magazine adverts. Roland Barthes was a French philosopher who wrote many books about the literary theory and semiotics.

His writing. A year in the life of the African-American male in advertising. Journal of Advertising, 35 1 , 83— A contemporary example of content analysis of advertising. Bales, R.