Semiotics in Advertising

save lives (gun keys)

The first ad I analyzed was featured in the Frontier Post. The signifier is car keys displayed in the shape of a gun, and that image, as well as the words, “Takes one life every 25 seconds”signify the importance of safety. The ad is vague in the behavior it istargeting. It could be drunk driving, or it could be texting and driving. The gray background and the dark car keys give the ad a very somber tone, which draws more attention to the seriousness of the issues portrayed. One reason this ad is so effective is because it elicits the use of one of the most recognized symbols ever used: the gun. In this case, the creator draws inspiration from the negative connotation associated with the gun which is danger.

FullSizeRender (2)I discovered an ad for The Diamond Ring Company on a bus in downtown San Jose.The signifier is a couple gazing passionately into each other’s eyes in typical Hollywood romance-scene fashion. The image signifies desire and love. The white background evokes a blissful and angelic tone. Plus it is the color of most wedding dresses. The large diamond ring off to the side, is of course, a well-known symbol of commitment. It is also one of the products the company is using to entice the public.

The TV ad I chose to analyze was called “Doritos Time Machine”. It was one of the finalists for best Super Bowl ads of 2014. In the ad, a little boy tricks the neighbor into giving him Doritos in exchange for a ride in the boy’s time machine which, in reality, is just a cardboard box. I love how humorous this ad is. The sweet, classical music gives the commercial a euphoric tone. It also has a comedic effect when matched with the image of the neighbor shouting “This is the greatest moment of my life!” as he rocks back and forth in the “time machine”. The time machine signifies imagination and childhood schemes. At the end of the commercial, an old man yells at the boy: “Get out of my yard!” This is a stereotypical response for a senior citizen on TV. In fiction, the elderly neighbor is often given the negative connotation of the man or woman next door who does not want to be bothered, similar to the neighbor in the comic strip “Dennis the Menace”. In fact, the little boy in the ad reminds me a lot of Dennis. Maybe the creative had that concept in mind when they designed the ad.

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