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Ralph Lauren Ads for Men and Women: A Semiotic Analysis. For the purpose of this essay I have decided to concentrate on four printed advertisements for Ralph Lauren.

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Ralph Lauren Ads for Men and Women: A Semiotic Analysis Compare and contrast the form and content of printed ads for the same product (or a closely- related product from the same manufacturer), which are aimed primarily at women with those which are aimed primarily at men. In the society that we live in today it seems that everywhere we look we are surrounded by advertisements whether they be television commercials, billboards or press advertisements. Obviously, the main purpose of advertisements is to get the consumer to purchase the product in question, the message within the advertisement has to be as persuasive as possible and ensure that certain emotions, feelings and values are awakened in the consumer. Print advertisements are an extremely effective way to reach a mass audience. Obviously- because the advertisements are in print, the use of colour, text and photography are all key factors in ensuring a successful campaign. Advertisements cannot simply attempt to sell the product in question; they must make it appeal to the consumer. It is important that advertisements not only attempt to make clear the attributes of the product they are trying to sell but also ensure that these actually mean something to us the consumer (Williamson 1978 p.12) ...read more.


One thing that did strike me when comparing and contrasting the two advertisements is the chain tattoo on the males arms in figure 2- something that cannot be seen at all in figure 1. The tattoo on the arm of the male draws the audience's attention to his perfectly defined bicep, which connotes masculinity. The tattoo signifies an element of rebelliousness, which is in complete contrast to that of figure 2-, which has elements of goodness and purity mainly due to the stance of the models, which is very innocent. The form of both advertisements is what Ralph Lauren thinks the male and female's perception of romance is. The female advertisement is very gentle and soft was as the male advertisement has connotations of s*x and l**t-, which are extremely stereotypical of the males idea of romance. Let us now move on to the second set of printed advertisements. Figure 3 and 4 are printed advertisements for Ralph Lauren Golf clothes. Figure 3 Figure 4 Both figure 3 and figure 4 were printed for the Spring/Summer collection 2004 for Ralph Lauren. Figure 3 is for ladies golf wear and shows a female model in what seems to be a golf course. ...read more.


For example figure 4 is a man playing golf and the printed advertisement is for golf wear- straight to the point. All advertisements show extremely attractive models- by using such attractive people within the printed advertisements the reader immediately links the product or brand name to the positive connotations that the models have such as beauty, health and sophistication, also there is an element of "buy this product be like this model". Most of the Ralph Lauren advertisements do depict an element of uniqueness. Ralph Lauren clothes are quite unique and this reflects onto the consumers- if they buy these clothes they to will be unique and beautiful like the models within the advertisements. For Figures 1 and 2, the term romance indicates to the consumers that by using this fragrance could make one appear more attractive and romantic to the opposite s*x and they to could be like the models featured in the advertisement. There is no doubt that males and females read and process information from advertisements differently so therefore it is essential that this is taken into account when creating advertising campaigns for the different sexes. Semiotics can help us to decode advertisements and be aware of the underlying meaning within the texts. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is an exceptionally well written essay, that would undoubtedly receive top marks; the student provides thorough, detailed, and all relevant descriptive information to compare and contrast 4 print adverts from Ralph Lauren. Furthermore to this, a very high level ...

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Response to the question

This is an exceptionally well written essay, that would undoubtedly receive top marks; the student provides thorough, detailed, and all relevant descriptive information to compare and contrast 4 print adverts from Ralph Lauren. Furthermore to this, a very high level of evaluation is intertwined throughout the essay, clearly discussing the effects of semiotic techniques on these print adverts as well as inputting their own opinions and analysis. One of the strong points of this essay is the extended introduction – the student provides a typical introductory paragraph to set the scene and explain to the reader what will be discussed – but then also goes on to provide some introductory and background information into Ralph Lauren and advertising in general demonstrating thorough knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Level of analysis

The level of analysis is superb, with the student using many useful references to back up their points (e.g. Beasley and Danesi 2002, Bignell 2002), this is good as it shows not only their opinion but provides further academic support for such an opinion. The analysis of the semiotics used in the advertisements is extremely thorough covering topics such as colour, action, connotations, syntagmatic patterns, text, icons, and so on. One reason for the analysis being so good is the level of detail covered, rather than just saying the colours are different, the student takes this further – e.g. “as one compares both one can notice that the male advertisement has much darker tones” and “the colours used are very interesting as pink is an extremely feminine colour but typically golf is a masculine game.” This is an important technique to master, as students should avoid simply describing the adverts, and ensure they are analysing them instead – as demonstrated throughout this essay.

Quality of writing

Structurally, this essay is essentially ‘perfect’, the student has a good introduction (as discussed) and nice conclusion to summarise the points discussed and reach a judgment on the area (e.g. “Semiotics can help us to decode advertisements and be aware of the underlying meaning within the texts.”). The central part of the essay is clearly laid out, with an intertwining body of both description and analysis throughout – where possible this should be used (rather than describing in the first half of an essay and then analysing in the second half), evaluative points can typically be brought in throughout a discussion creating a more logical structure to an essay rather than separating description and analysis. Relevant media terminology is used accurately and effectively, demonstrating a clear understanding of the topic area, e.g. linguistic sign, positive connotations, syntagmatic pattern, iconic, action shot, and so on.

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Reviewed by lcarter17 28/03/2012

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