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Semiotic Textual Analysis

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Semiotic Textual Analysis Advertising is a very important and prominent tool that exists in our world today. Advertising takes products and turns them from something normal and ordinary into something desirable, something that people associate with being trendy, popular and fashionable. This results in ordinary products turning into "name brands'" as people feel that they cannot be successful or happy unless they own these products. To get these brands to change from being ordinary to being called "name brands" is hard work on the side of the advertisers, but with the use of semiotics we are able to see the coded messages that the advertisers are sending, making us want to have that brand. Semiotics began as a method for analysing language but now it is used for analysing how all sign systems work. Semiotics is concerned with meaning and with the ways in which meanings are produced. Semiology is defined as the science of signs, it suggests that all communication is based on sign systems , which work through certain rules and structures (O'Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2002:80). The advert that I will be 'decoding' is for the new fragrance of Donna Karan New York (DKNY). Before understanding the advert you need to understand the context of where it came. This particular advert came from the UK April 2005 edition of Cosmopolitan. It is a generally known that Cosmopolitan sells sex, so it is no wonder to see this advert inside the magazine. ...read more.


Unconsciously when we see this woman biting into the apple we get the message that what she is doing is illicit, but she is so tempting that it is almost impossible to refuse her. It appears that she knows what she is doing is wrong, but she is still trying to tempt you. If one takes a closer look at this models hair one would notice that she has one curl in the middle of her forehead. As children many of us were taught the rhyme "there once was a girl, who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid." What this curl of hair is doing is sending out a message that although this woman appears to be sweet and gentle, once you get past that young, innocent side of her, there is a wildcat waiting for you. This is going to make me want to buy this fragrance for women, as well as women buying it for themselves as the men would love to have the sex kitten, and most women would love to be one.. After noticing the woman you cast your eyes down to read the caption, "Be Delicious". This caption cleverly picks up on ideas from the woman's expression. It is almost certain that all heterosexual women like receiving attention from men. The caption sends us the message that if we use this fragrance, we too will be delicious like the woman depicted. ...read more.


The advertisers are trying to make women think that to have a man to want you, or to feel delicious and sexy you need help, you cannot just be yourself. The viewer is supposed to look at this model, see everything that she has got, and realise that if you have this fragrance you could have those things too. The very bottom line of text on the advert reads "experience the fragrance at DKNY.com". This implies that this is much more than just a fragrance. This is something that could change you life, and thus must be experienced. One also gets the feeling that this is not like anything else one has ever tried before, again making it unique, making it special, and most importantly making it desirable. Most fragrances say that they can be tried or tested, but for this one to say experience implies that with this fragrance comes a whole new attitude and lifestyle. Semiotics are very powerful tool that are used in advertising every day. For advertisers to change a product from being ordinary to something special, a "name brand", takes a lot of time and effort and especially knowledge of the deepest desires of most men and women. Focusing on issues such a women being the most desired are issues that advertisers know apply to a lot of women. If advertisers can convince women around the world that to be more sexy and to be desired they need a specific perfume, then they must be reaching them on a deeper level. Semiotics are the tool that help advertisers reach those levels. ...read more.

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