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Chicken. Jamie Style.: A Semiological Analysis of an Advertisement - Essay Example

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The rising popularity of cooking shows on television like the Masterchef series and films like Julie and Julia (2009) reveal how gourmet cooking has entered everyday kitchens and chefs like Oliver have become household names…
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Chicken. Jamie Style.: A Semiological Analysis of an Advertisement
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Download file to see previous pages In this context, ads like this one are representative of a large chunk of population the world over that is now waking up to the possibilities of gourmet cooking at home. It is thus interesting to note how advertisers are tapping into this new global trend.             Advertisements like this one often rely on meaning being ‘constructed socially’. They aim to connote and denote specific positive traits to sell their products and they do this by evoking certain common memories and experiences that the target audience is likely to share. This vocabulary or ‘lexicon’ of common experiences is termed as a person’s ‘idiolect’ by Roland Barthes in his essay ‘Rhetoric of the Image’ (1977:47). Barthes, in his essay, also speaks of how images, specifically advertising images, carry within them different layers of meaning. He identifies three such layers: the textual meaning, the connoted meaning and the denoted meaning.             By ‘textual meaning’, Barthes refers to the presence of any actual text in the advertisement, like a caption, or the name of the brand being advertised or any similar type of slogan or tag line. ‘Connoted’ meaning refers to the associations that images evoke. Different symbols may unconsciously bring up different connotations. In Barthes’s example, he speaks of how the red and green colour scheme of the Panzani advertisement evokes the colours of Italy’s national flag and thereby gives the advertisement a certain authentic ‘Italianicity’ (1977: 47). While ‘denoted’ meaning would mean the image in its ‘purest’ form, free of any connotations. Although Barthes claims that it is not possible for a drawn image to  reach this state of ‘naivete’, he states that photography is the only art that can achieve this level of pure denotation (McCabe 2009). We shall try and apply this approach to interpreting the subtext of the chosen ad.             In this advertisement of Jamie Oliver, we may apply a similar approach as Barthes does to extract different layers of connotative and denotative meaning and thereby determine how advertising has its own ‘language’ and whether or not this is effective in this case. At the textual level, the first thing that strikes the viewer are the words written in bold: ‘Chicken. Jamie Style.’ The first word ‘Chicken’ is supplemented with the image of a whole chicken marinated and sealed, ready for cooking. The literal message in this case, serves ‘anchorage’ function that Barthes speaks of in his essay (1977: 38).             The word ‘chicken’ has numerous socially constructed connotative meanings – as slang for ‘coward’; in relation to the popular ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ jokes; the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series of inspirational, non-fiction books, and so on. ‘Chicken’, as food exclusively, is also connotative of a general, widely-accepted and homely sort of cuisine. The humorous phrase of ‘tastes like chicken!’ is evidence to this fact. In the advertisement then, the image and text serve to mutually reinforce this latter idea of chicken as a much-loved food and thereby appeal to the audience’s ‘idiolect’ (Barthes 1977, p. 47). The large text also specifies that this chicken is to be ‘Jamie Style.’ This evokes the brand value of a popular TV chef like Jamie Oliver and the word ‘style’ has a twofold function. It refers to the fact that this how Jamie Oliver himself cooks it: it is his ‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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