Semiotics - Essay Example

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A Semiological Analysis Of an Advertisement by DKNY Fragrances [Name of Student] [Name of Institute] Abstract This paper will seek to analyse an advertisement by the popular brand Donna Karan New York (DKNY) featuring a perfume for women. It will look into the specific ways in which this ad uses textual, connoted and denoted messages to sell its product…
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Download file to see previous pages It will lastly conclude on the ways in which the language of the advertisement serves to sell its product and whether or not this accomplishes its goal effectively. Keywords: semiological analysis; rhetoric of image; semiotics in advertising Semiological Analysis of an Advertisement The image under semiological analysis is an advertisement by DKNY for a perfume for women. This paper will analyse the way in which this advertisement uses symbols, visual cues and other coded ‘language’ to sell its product effectively. The theoretical basis for the analysis will be drawn largely from Roland Barthes’s essay ‘Rhetoric of the Image’, appearing in his 1977 book Image Music Text. Following a quick summary of the ideas from Barthes’s essay that are relevant to this paper, we will look closely at the advertisement itself for the different layers of meaning within it. The aim will be to try and identify elements and see whether they correlate to each other and ultimately join to promote the product as saleable or not. There will also be an attempt to locate this advertisement within the larger context of high-fashion advertising and the imagery deployed therein. In his foundational essay, ‘Rhetoric of the Image’ (1977) Barthes proposes that images have a language of their own that signify many layers of meaning to the viewer that may or may not be apparent right away. Barthes advances his idea of the three layers of meaning through which an advertising image, or any image, conveys its message. He calls the first layer of such meaning as the ‘linguistic’ part of the message (p. 33). By this, Barthes refers to the actual text or words present in the advertisement. In his example of the Panzani ad, this would be the French writing at the bottom of the advertisement. The second and third messages contained in an image, according to Barthes, are the ‘coded iconic message’ and a ‘non-coded iconic message’ (p. 36). The distinction between these two is hard to make and does not happen at first glance. Basically, the first coded message is the ‘connoted’ message of the image while the non-coded message refers to the image as purely ‘denotative.’ The first meaning of the image is derived from the way in which it is presented, its context, the specific audience it targets and so on; while, the second kind of meaning derived from the image is only an act of identifying the object. Applying this style of analysis to the DKNY Advertisement, we find that this too yields itself to different layers of meaning. At the level of the linguistic message, the most prominent text in the ad says: ‘Be Delicious.’ These two words serve firstly, as an injunction, or almost as an order to be desirable that serves to subtly pressurize the audience into feeling inadequate and therefore desirous of buying the product that will make them attractive. They also promote a solution by saying essentially that this product is what one needs to be ‘delicious.’ The text therefore creates the need to be desirable in the audience and simultaneously provides the way in which to fulfil this need. This brings in the ideology and implied narrative of this ad which will be discussed in our conclusion. But the word ‘delicious’ itself also serves a two-fold purpose. On the one hand, it serves the purpose of ‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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