In putting together an advertising campaign for a particular product or service, advertisers are typically only focused on how that advertisement can work to better promote their product or service over their competition. Subtle clues within the action or dialogue can indicate…
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f the ad design, not only can the careful observer learn much about the company, but can also assess how the advertisement is impacting or contributing to the general thought and behavior of society as a means of assessing the campaign’s overall effectiveness. These elements are also used to help unite an advertising effort across a variety of media to emphasize a given message. This examination of the signs of a given advertising campaign is what Roland Barthes referred to as semiotic analysis. This process of looking at an advertisement for its deeper cultural meanings and associations enables us to gain a better understanding of the relationship that develops between the product or the advertiser and the viewer or consumer. After examining a little bit about what Roland Barthes meant by semiotic analysis, this process will be applied to the 2010 Lexus advertising campaign to determine what Lexus is attempting to communicate and how this message changes from one form of advertising to another.
Roughly speaking, semiotics refers to the process of analyzing the ‘signs’ of a given culture for indications of meaning at varying levels. “Semiology therefore aims to take in any system of signs, whatever their substance and limits; images, gestures, musical sounds, objects, and the complex associations of all these, which form the content of ritual, convention or public entertainment: these constitute, if not languages, at least systems of signification” (Barthes, 1964). Thus, semiotics refers to language, image, color, shape, expression, placement and a number of other contextual clues that combine together in some unique way so as to convey a sense of meaning to a particular cultural group. To discuss these various elements, Barthes and others have provided us with specific terms that help to keep things within an understandable framework.
The primary elements that will be concentrated on in this study include signifiers, signified and sign. The
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