Can Be Linguistic Or Iconic Cultural Studies Essay

Most ads have the intention to make people aware of a product, service or concept followed by the purchase and therefore (Reschke: 1998, p. 1)

To grab the attention and flame desire to buy ads started using attracting pictures, sounds, signs etc. this lead to more and more provoking and emotional images.

The key to understanding these adverts or relating to them is understanding the semiotic langue of the ad. It relies on the reader having prior knowledge about images/symbols. They rely on you making associations to understanding the ad. Semiology was a science which studies the role of signs as part of social life (saussure). The members of a community of sign users or a ‘language community’ agrees on signs and can therefore communicate meaningfully. Semioticians can look at how meaning is made through spoken or written language or image and how society has changed those meaning over the years.

Images gets explained by knowing figurative language, metaphors, similes and by understanding connotations and denotations.

Gender is a constructed thing passing either for the extreme or binary.

Traditionally men are associated as the head of the family and breadwinner, physical strength and the ideological position of men's superiority over women.

Modality here strategically symbolizes men and women as homogeneous groups, legitimizing a power difference (Thompson 1990). Also Hearn (1992: 4) notes that 'not only do men dominate women, but also different types of men dominate other men – able-bodied over men with disabilities, heterosexual over gay, and so on'.

In relation to this advertising becomes symbolization in a consumer society. Diesel adverts (which I am going to discuss) are good examples of this. They use obscure expressions and strong visual impact to get consumer attention they are the type of ads that advocate life style, modes of conduct and ways of thinking.

Diesel - Fuel For Life - Fragrance print ad campaign

This image present a male figure that stands upright and he seems very self-assured. His body is tanned(burger ways of seeing)- meaning he is hard working and traditional perceived as working outside (being the bread winner). His revealed body appears rough and well-defined which also accentuated the physical strength of men over women. His shirt is purposely unbuttoned showing that he has the power to choose to cover himself up again should he desire and allowing the viewer to see his body.

He confidently looks straight at the viewer, but the viewer is unable to gaze back because of the shadow over his eyes-this gives a very mysterious feel to the image. He holds the bottle of perfume as if it were a weapon, or as if he took it as a object of his desire because he has the power to do so.

Also a bottle is shown placed directly over his genital area forcing the viewer to look there and to relate the product to his sexual organs - seen as a tool to be used with powerful function. The male figure is a thought processing person, with intentions and capabilities.

The catch phrase reads "finally legalized" ,which establishes a sense of mystery and danger. It suggest the product would allow a man to do whatever he chooses by providing power. His image allows men to put themselves in his place.


In relation to femininity, Talbot (1998: 171) makes the following comment: Femininity is articulated in and through commercial and mass media discourses, especially in the magazine industry and in the fashion industries of clothing and cosmetics. But most of all, it is articulated on women's bodies, by women themselves.

In adverts, women are partly represented as liberated and at the same time, they are treated as commodities to be consumed with the products being advertised.

Diesel - Fuel For Life - Fragrance print ad campaign

The second image to the diesel campaign is a female who represents a motif of cabaret performer. She looks as if she is on display on stage or as ;n poster pin-up in a provocative pose she pleases the viewer. Her body is curvy, smooth and pale which suggests that she keeps indoors "as women should" - looking after children and cleaning the house and up to no physical challenging tasks. These signs are also typically associated with weakness, feminine frailty and a sense of he being confined to bed - to pleasure men.

Her long open neck and arms suggest that she is open to be taken by a man and purposely reveals herself to the viewer. The perfume bottle is set aside and is dressed much like the women in lace and looks soft and transparent.

The bottle is placed in such a manner that it creates a line that follows the fabric between the woman's legs and draws your eyes up to the necklace following through to her breasts and open mouth lined with red lipstick - a color associated with passion. All of These elements exaggerates the thought that women are merely a sexual object, to be looked at and thought of and used in a sexual manner.

The posing woman draws up connotations of being a show girl or brings up thoughts of prostitution. Both visual and linguistic references to cabaret/prostitute girls unites the image of women with a commodity because they have become fetishized.

The female is mythologicaly seen as mindless, and an object have the quality of a thoughtless sex object. The main signified concept is the use of the product as an gateway for achieving something desired.

The females narrative has already been decided for her where as in the male advert it looks like the man is in control and has the power to decide his narrative. She is limited to desire in a sexual manner.

(McQuarrie, Mick, 40) Perhaps one can say that through its various constructions and conveyances of meaning, the product and its gender specific advertising texts are concerned mainly with one thing: Pleasure.

Connatation, denotation, myth, mataphor, similie, figurative

copied notes

This woman is placed in a high street shop window, with for greasy bikers staring fascinated at the miniature motorbikes placed at her feet. She stand elevated above the bikes looking directly into the camera. Here they have reversed the concept of women always being the admired object, since the men know pays her no attention. It is ironic because this would never happen in real life and is why the ad is successful. The ad works within the stereotypical systems of both bikers and women.

Althusser [1971], cited in Fiske [1990 : 175], makes an good point about women wearing heels. The wearing of the shoes is a ideological practise of patriarchy in which women participate, the shoes accentuate the parts of the body that have been trained to be regarded and to be "put on show" in a sexual manner ( buttocks, breasts, legs ). Women wearing them means the woman is participating in objectifying herself for male gaze, and therefore placing herself under male power.

Also high heels limit physical ability and therefore strengthens their ideological gender purpose of being inactive, weaker etc.

But even though the woman is wearing heels in this advertisement, she seems superior to the negative connotations that we know about her. She is placed behind a sheet of glass, seeming knowledgeable and independent in her facial expression and stance; she is placed aside from the crowd and seems untouchable; she is strong enough to resist intimidation and lechery. Yet, at the same time, she remains an attractive and feminine woman.