An analysis of four advertisements

What do you do exactly? How does one get into that line of work? How much do you travel? Is it a good career path?

An analysis of four advertisements

The ad he uses is the Panzani advert, within which he finds a rich layering of meanings.

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Do they really constitute a language, and if they do, how does meaning work within this language? He uses an advertising image to analyze these questions, as advertising images clearly have intended meanings. The image used is the Panzani ad which is reproduced below.

He starts by identifying three classes of message within the image: The linguistic message text He sees two kinds of linguistic messages at work: The symbolic message or connoted image Four signs are then identified from the non-linguistic part of the image and the constitute the symbolic message, or connoted image: The half-open bag signifies return from market tomatoes and peppers signify Italianicity the collection of objects signifies a total culinary service the overall composition is reminiscent of, and therefore signifies, the notion of a still life.

An analysis of four advertisements

The literal message or denoted image This is non-coded in that the image of the tomato represents a tomato, the image of the pepper represents a pepper, and so on. He remarks that in this case we have a signifier An analysis of four advertisements a signified which are essentially the same — this is a message without a code.

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Panzani advertisement He then proceeds to look at each of these three types of messages in turn and attempts to untangle the precise nature of their operation and the relationships between them.

The linguistic message Almost all images, in all contexts, are accompanied by some sort of linguistic message. This seems to have two possible functions: Anchorage — images are prone to multiple meanings and interpretations.

Anchorage occurs when text is used to focus on one of these meanings, or at least to direct the viewer through the maze of possible meanings in some way Relay — the text adds meaning and both text and image work together to convey intended meaning e.

He sees this as being revolutionary, as a means of eluding history. Nothing funny going on here! The connoted image Analyzing the connotations of the image is a challenging task fraught with a number of difficulties. One of these is that each image can connote multiple meanings, we saw four earlier and there are probably more.

Which ones are taken, depends on the viewer. A meaning is derived from a lexicon, which is a body of knowledge within the viewer.

A single lexia stimulates multiple lexicons which may or may not be shared among viewers. A further difficulty with analyzing the connoted signifieds is that there is no apt language for expressing or articulating them. How do we talk about this, other than through language, which is itself a system of signifiers and signifieds, and hence subject to all the ambiguities this entails?

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So, the connotators within an image are all the visual elements that can be used to connote signifieds. The entire set of such connotators is the rhetoric, so the rhetoric of the image is all the visual elements within an image that can be employed as signifiers.

He stresses that not all the visual elements are connotators so there always remain purely denoted elements within the frame. My main issue when going through the text was a question about to what extent this approach to the analysis of images extends to non-advertising images.

Advertising images have clear intentionality at their core — they are constructed to convey specific meanings and specific messages — and Barthes is quite upfront about the fact that this is why he uses one.

An analysis of four advertisements

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