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7Semiotics and Identity

Semiotics and Identity: Adtext Analysis

Semiotics and Identity: Adtext Analysis

According to Thwaites, Davis and Mule (2002) semiotics can be described as the study of meaning making using tools such as signs, signifier, signified, connotation, denotation, myth, representation, icons, ideologies and discourse among other tools as language or communication elements (Chandler 2014). Semiotics are used to enable a person understand or analyse ad-texts, their meaning and related effects. They help in investigating diverse media of communication and providing different views on information reveled from design and experience. In analyzing and meaning making on advertisements, the use of semiotics is well described in this assessment. This assessment paper provides semiotic analyses of three mobile phone brands advertisements including; the Nokia Lumia 710 advertisement, Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone advertisement and the iPhone 4S advertisement.

To begin with, the Nokia Lumia Advertisement is a good example where semiotics have ben used to reveal message to customers. Aprinica (2013, pg. 4) describe clearly the visual message elements on the Nokia Lumia 710 advertisement. The Nokia Lumia 710 image is the sign and signifier. It signifies the product in real life which is the first 4G phone with windows technology. The image has two phones of Nokia Lumia 710 to resemble the company’s obligation in providing this service to customers. The two images of Nokia Lumia 710 have different themes of colour black and white. The black Nokia Lumia 710 represents the menu of the phone, while the white Nokia Lumia 710 represents its superiority in navigation. This signifies that, this phone brand can serve to navigate people’s lives. There is use of connotation in the phrase “America’s first 4G Nokia Windows Phone” that demonstrates the customer curiosity about the product.

Denotation is expressed in this text by describing the real condition that, the first 4G phone with windows in America is the new Nokia Lumia 710. Connotation is expressed in the second text that describes people can only get the Nokia Lumia 710 only at T-Mobile. So, customers can only get original Nokia Lumia 710 at the T-Mobile and no imitation of this phone has been manufactured (Aprinica 2013, pg. 5). The third text “navigate your life not your phone” expresses connotation by describing how the new Nokia Lumia 710 product is amazing. The verbal message is a sign of simplicity of the stated text which is clearly delivered to the American people.

The screen displays the various applications available for the user to navigate like tweeter, face book, email among other applications. This is a clear demonstration of technology advancement of the Company by manufacturing a mobile phone with more advanced features. The camera is a feature that embraces social welfare of mobile phone users. The users of Nokia Lumia 710 can now enjoy taking photos and share them with friends and family members. In the past, people could not enjoy these features that are now available in the new Nokia Lumia 710. Nokia mobile phones are associated with prestige and the Nokia Lumia 710 is not an exception. This is a myth that places Nokia as one of the best mobile phone manufactures all over the world (Aprinica 2013, pg. 5).

Aprinica, (2013, pg. 4) has also described the visual elements of message printed on the iPhones 4S advertisement to demonstrate the semiotic approach used by the advertiser. The phone image and in this case, the iPhone 4S, is the sign and signifies the product in real life which is a new hand phone technology with the capability of speaking by itself.

There is also the hand image holding the iPhone 4S which is a signifier in this advertisement. It signifies that, the iPhone 4S is the only channel through which people can hold the world in their hands. The black colour used signifies the colour of the phone while the pink colour signifies the hand holding the phone. There is a coloured application inside the phone representing the original colour for iPhone 4S applications. The verbal signs in the iPhone 4S advertisement have both connotative and denotative meaning (Aprinica 2013, pg. 5). Connotation was used on the first text “will it be sunny in Brisbane this weekend?” this text describes people’s curiosity in accessing some new products. Denotation is also expressed in this text since it is asking people on the real condition of the weather.

In the second text, it outlines the iPhone 4S capability to help people. Connotation has been used in this text to help people understand that, with the use of their voice, the iPhone 4S is of great help. The third text “say hello to the most amazing iPhone yet” explains the central point of the information. Connotation has been used in this text by emphasizing more information about the company and how amazing the new iPhone 4S is (Aprinica 2013, pg. 5). In this text, denotation is recognized by placing the object at the bottom end of the advertisement. With the use of advanced technology, the manufacture of iPhone 4S upheld the cultural superiority related to iPhone mobile phones. The myth of remaining technologically advanced is demonstrated in this advertisement.

The advertisement about the Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone was intended to convince viewers that this was “The Next Big Thing”. This advertisement was geared towards smart footballers through the use of humor (Shaw 2013).

The showcasing of innovation of the Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone, cultural comments and applicable conversations in the advertisement demonstrate the semiotic approach used by the participants. The text “The Next Big Thing” clearly describes the superiority of the Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone. The use of connotation in this text is clear to customers who are eager to use this new mobile phone product in the market. Denotation is expressed in this advertisement by clearly describing that the Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone is the next best Smart Phone in the market. Myth is well demonstrated through the use of one athlete and two actors who are widely loved all over the world (Shaw 2013). Their use in this advertisement was to appeal more people to purchase the product. Males who are football funs and enjoy watching movies were targeted by this advert.

The use of actors Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd is a sign that these two actors are loved by many. Since they have participated together in many great comedies, many people will love watching the advertisement just like movies. Lebron James (the athlete) in the advertisement was used to target those who love sport. These three famous people are a representation of quality and were used to achieve the best quality of this advertisement. The repetition of the text “The Next Big Thing” more than six times by Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd who are the next big actors in the film industry, is a symbol that the next big thing in the phone industry is the Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone (Shaw 2013). The whole advertisement meets people’s expectations by satisfying their cultural interests. Codes have also been demonstrated throughout the advertisement by the use of jokes and humor. This represents what the audience requires from the advertisement. The audience expects to see jokes and humor in the movies they will watch in the Samsungs “The Next Big Thing” advertisement.

Innovations that have been made on the Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone are expressed in this advertisement. They have been used to signify the culture of upholding technology advancement in the mobile industry. The brand name of the Samsung Company appears many times throughout the advertisement to emphasize on the company description as the manufacture of the Samsung Galaxy Smart phone brand (Shaw 2013).

In conclusion, using semiotics to identify adtexts in advertisements is essential to provide the correct meaning and effects to the target market. The above advertisements have demonstrated clearly how semiotics can be used to make meaning of adtexts and the possible effects of these meanings to the targeted audience. Semiotics used in the above advertisements include; discourse or dialogue, connotations, denotations, ideologies, icons, signs, signifier, myths, representation and codes have been used to bring out the clear meaning and effects to customers.


Aprinica, P 2013, The Differences Between Nokia Lumia 710 And Iphone 4s Advertisements
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Chandler, D 2014, Semiotics for Beginners. Retrieved From Http://Visual-Memory.Co.Uk/Daniel/Documents/S4B/Sem01.Html

Shaw, J 2013, Samsung Mobile “The Next Big Thing” Ad Analysis. Retrieved From Http://Bankofopinions.Wordpress.Com/2013/02/08/Samsung-Mobile-The-Next-Big-Thing-Ad-Analysis-By-Justin-Shaw/ Samsung Mobile USA – The Next Big Thing

Thwaites, A Davis, L & Mule, W (ed) 2002, Introducing Cultural And Media Studies: A Semiotic Approach. Tools for Cultural Studies. Basingstoke, England; New York.