The Communication of Meaning in Advertising Essay

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The communication of meaning in advertising is largely attributed to the semiotic representation of mutually agreed signs in a given text (Schirato and Yell 2001:23). Accordingly, the production of these messages relies heavily on these signs and the ways in which they are used to produce a dominant or preferred meaning to the reader (Hall 2001:174). As such, the application of semiotic theory can be immensely useful in understanding just how meaning is constructed within an advertisement; as will be discussed hereafter. In the attached advertisement of women’s fashion brand St John, featuring actress Angelina, the constructs of semiotics can be applied to analyse the significance of certain signs, ideologies, myths, and the influence of…show more content…
Importantly, it is the relation between these concepts, fixed by our cultural codes, which sustains representation within a text (Hall 2001:172). In the St John advertisement, the person of Angelina Jolie, the most prominent signifier, and her elegance and sexual authority, the signified, conceive the most notable thematic concern and sign within the advertisement; the depiction of the desirable female form. In both panels of the text, it can be seen how through non-verbal codes such as expression, gaze, gesture and pose, Jolie connotes the idealised form of beauty and physical womanhood. Accordingly, she stands an image and symbol of what the reader subconsciously desires and seeks to possess (Rojek 1997:110). The signs of the text are made to be largely culture-specific in their production of meaning, given the advertisement’s mode of discourse and the nature of its target audience. Notably, Jolie herself is used as a commodity that promotes the desired ideals St John wish to associate its label with (Rojek 2001: 33). In both panels of the text, Jolie wears fairly conservative black knitted dresses, both of which connote luxury and style. The paradigms of colour and framing too, accentuate this preeminence, as does the setting, of which appears to be an opulent hotel suite or high-class
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