Semiotics: Advertising Analysis

After researching flirtatious body language I realised that many of the gestures associated with flirtatious body language are included in advertising to help sell products. I found that this technique was particularly used in high fashion and perfume advertisements. To investigate this association between flirtatious body language and advertising I have analysed the two advertisements below. Not only have I noted the gestures displayed, but I have also looked at the context of the advert and the other semiotic devices used as these are also important in forming how the advert is interpreted as a whole.

‘Heat’ Women’s Fragrance by Beyonce

  • Beyonce is a well known American singer known for being strong, confident and seductive, these traits are imbued onto the perfume
  • Directly looking at the camera, is a strong sign that someone is interested when flirting
  • ‘Heat’ and ‘catch the fever’ are associated with heat, sizzling, steam, these words all have sexual connotations
  • Hand raised to her face drawing the viewer’s gaze to her face
  • She is wearing silk which is associated with luxury, wealth and is sexual
  • Connotations of red include heat, love, lust and sensuality
  • A low camera angle makes her appear powerful and confident
  • Her dress is short and ends at her upper thigh conveying seductiveness
  • ‘Catch the fever’ is written on top of her breasts, immediately drawing attention and making the perfume appear sensual
  • Her mouth is open which connotes sexual desire, temptation and playfulness

‘Miss Dior’ Women’s Fragrance Advert Featuring Natalie Portman, Photographed by Tim Walker, 2013

  • Dior are a French brand known for class and sophistication, ‘Miss’ suggests that this perfume is for younger women who aspire to the brands identity
  • Natalie Portman is smart, sexy, charismatic and sophisticated, these traits are applied to the character Miss Dior, as well as the perfume
  • The pink rose connotes romance, love and flirtation
  • Directly looking at the camera, eye contact is a strong sign that someone is interested when flirting
  • Biting a rose and holding her hand near her face is a way of drawing attention to her lips and face
  • Open mouth connotes sexual temptation, desire and seductive playfulness
  • Seemingly naked women leaning on a chair signifies confidence, sexual desire and playfulness
  • Her eyes draw the viewer down to the rose

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970 Reflection

Essay

In DecemberĀ last year I submitted an essay as part of my cultural and critical studies module. This essay was looking at the how the information presented in text at an exhibition supports the key ideas and concepts presented within an object on display. The exhibition I chose to analyse for my essay was “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970” which was hosted at the V&A, which looked at the many revolutions that occurred in the sixties and their influence on fashion, music, film, design and political movements. The focus of my essay was a series of four psychedelic posters by ‘Haphash and the Coloured Coat’, I analysed how the information presented in text supported the ideas of psychedelia, the influence of psychedelic drugs at the time, and how members of society in the sixties were searching for new ways of freeing their mind.

Today I was given by my essay along with my grade which was a B. I am very proud of this grade as it had been a year since I last wrote an essay andĀ I initially struggled trying to structure and word my essay in a cohesive, reflective and analytical way. There will be another essay brief set in semester 2 and I am hopeful that after writing this essay and reading the feedback given to me, the next essay will be a lot easier.

Direct Feedback

“Good image analysis and very good essay structure. However, the quality of the discussions focusing on the chosen theme needs to be improved by drawing upon academic sources.”

In order to improve my essay it was suggested that I utilise my sources more. I listed books in my bibliography however I did not use them fully within my essay which will help to strengthen my discussions. Furthermore within my essay there were places where I included factual information but did not reference the sources.

General Feedback

After receiving our essays with personal directed feedback attached, we had a short lecture on general feedback and areas for improvement.

Improving on a grade B

  • Consistently introduce quotes and significant authors
  • Write an essay plan (think through your line of enquiry, how will you meet all of the brief criteria and the order of material)
  • Use images and your analysis of them to clearly support your line of enquiry
  • Make sure for every point or assertion you provide evidence in the form of a quote, reference or an image
  • Include summary sentences through out that link back to your line of enquiry / to the question you are answering (an introductory sentence and concluding sentence for each idea / paragraph)
  • Reflect upon the limitations and implications of the references and interpretations you are including (how the sources could be developed, include other sources to support your analysis)
  • Leave time to do a close read of your document to check for spelling errors, grammar and informal language
  • Caption your images to influence the readers interpretation in time with your argument

Improving on a grade A

Despite achieving a grade B I also noted down the points for improving on a grade A for future reference.

  • Be aware of your reader, make sure you are clearly communicating every point to your reader
  • Keep bringing your reader clearly back to your line of enquiry
  • Make sure you have a good bibliography, including a number of current references (the last year or two) and a range of sources
  • Clearly and consistently integrate images into your analysis to support your line of enquiry
  • Caption your images to influence the readers interpretations in line with your argument