The Eye of the Beholder

Due to differing mentalities of individuals, media texts and images have the power to convey various interpretations and because of this, it is crucial to recognise the importance of semiotics within advertising and advertisements.

The first image is an advertisement for Heinz. The signifiers of the image consist of the large amounts of red in the image, the stacked tomatoes, the Heinz logo which is visible on the tomatoes itself and the white text at the bottom of the image. The signified is that the stacked tomatoes (which replicate the size and shape of a tomato sauce bottle) represent the freshness and the good quality tomato sauce that Heinz is trying to advertise. The text at the bottom of the image which reads “No one grows Ketchup like Heinz” clarifies and further reinforces the aim of the Heinz company, to make it aware to consumers that their ketchup is made from freshly grown produce. The bright red colours have been utilised to attract attention and they also set the brand apart as the colour red can be a connotation for tomatoes or Heinz Ketchup itself. Thus, the sign that the responder will be left with is that Heinz Ketchup sells fresh tomato sauce.

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The second image is an advertisement for Phillips and the signifiers of the imagine consist of the hands grasping the coffee mug, the liquid in the coffee mug which is coffee that has taken the form of a music speaker and the white box at the bottom of the image which contains text and the Philips logo. This advertisement is basically saying, that the Philips speaker ‘AS851 Audio Dock’ will allow its users to ‘tune into the right mood’. This is further clarified with the salient feature of the image, the hands grasping the coffee. It is common that coffee is thought to calm and settle the minds of the drinkers, thus bringing them into “the right mood”. However, inside the coffee mug, a music speaker can be seen. Thus, the signified is that music, can act as coffee and can assure you a “right mood”. The sign is that Philips will provide this “right mood” through the purchase of their speaker.

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These two images are read more than one way as at a first glance, they perceive to be a tomato sauce bottle and a cup of coffee but through a closer look, are stacked tomatoes and a speaker in a cup of coffee.

The audience of the Heinz ketchup bottle advertisement might think, Heinz must have been mistaken for an unhealthy, artificially fused tomato sauce which is why they are trying to promote that they grow tomatoes to make their sauce or they might think that Heinz is the only ketchup company that sells real tomato sauce as “no one grows ketchup like Heinz”. Whereas the audience of the Philips advertisement may believe that Philips speakers are the only brand that can create “the right mood” or that to be in a “right mood”, you must drink coffee and listen to music.

Each to their own, the science of semiotics can clearly make a difference upon the interpretations of advertisements as they can definitely be read in more than one way.

Here is a Youtube video which is an advertisement that constructs and de-constructs the messages behind their purposeful interview.


Creative Advertising Posters: 36 Fresh Examples


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