COM202 Semiotic Analysis Essay

Question:

1.Perform a semiotic analysis of a family photograph. Please provide an image of the photograph as part of your answer to the question. How does the visual representation link to the culture in which you have grown up in?
2.Perform a semiotic analysis of ONE print advert as provided (from Jetstar Magazine June 2018). Who is the target market and how does the visual representation link to Australian culture and society more broadly?

Answer:

Introduction:

The modern world is dominated by advertisements nowadays. It controls the consumer mindsets with the pictorial depiction of their products and services. Every day the consumer gets to notice innumerable advertisements all around them in any every form. A print advertisement focuses on establishing the selling factor of the commodity or service of a given organization in the most concise way possible (Wagner, 2015). Print Advertisements, or commonly known as Print Ads portray many aspects of a product or service in just one shot. Therefore, it needs to be analyzed thoroughly on what makes a Print Ad effectively reach the targeted customers. The following essay would have this aspect of a Print Ad by Travelodge as published in the monthly issue of June 2018 for Jetstar magazine. This will be further fulfilled by the analysis of the visual representation of the advertisement by focusing on its target market the link it has with the Australian culture.

Semiotic Analysis is a concept that analyzes and studies the signs and symbols that contain a particular meaning or depiction. It can be either a synthetically created depiction or a set of naturally used words. It can both be a study of symbols or the nature of the symbols as represented (O'Halloran, Tan & E, 2017). The objective of the Semiotic Analysis is to develop a structured analysis on the special symbols, pictures or text on their representation and how an individual can relate these to the things happening around him. Generally, these special pictures, symbols or texts embody the cultural depiction of an area or even a country. In this case, the printed advertisement in Jetstar Magazine depicts an older woman holding onto a croissant in the breakfast area of a hotel, wearing what seems like workout clothes (Fei et al., 2015). She has her table full with mouth-watering dishes for breakfast and the expression on her face clearly shows how happily surprised she is about the entire situation. The advertisement also has a text at the bottom end of the page, describing the amenities that the hotel serves the customer; the ones which seemingly make the hotels appear different than the others. The proper semiotic analysis of the entire printed advertisement would be carried out in the following way:

Codes: Codes in a Semiotic Analysis are a set of procedural systems that provides a framework of the entire symbolical structures, through which a pictorial form becomes coherent to an onlooker (Sun & Luo, 2016). Just like in this case, the total pictorial form of the woman holding the croissant to her mouth and having other breakfast items at her table makes it easier for an onlooker to understand many aspects of the picture. Firstly, it is not difficult to understand that the picture represents a scenario of a restaurant inside a hotel. At the background, a couple can be seen having breakfast as well (Percy & Elliott, 2016). Secondly, the woman seems to be working out before the meal; therefore, depicting that the product offered to the target audience focuses on getting more services than usual. Lastly, the text under the advertisement clearly signifies what the services the Travelodge hotels provide the customers in their new areas of services ("Jetstar June 2018 Magazine", 2018). Therefore, the picture codes are absolutely coherent for an onlooker.

Conventions: The cultural implication of a sign, symbol or any other form of picture format for analysis is primarily held upon the way in which an onlooker responds to the advertisement. Since, this is part of a renowned monthly tabloid that gets featured once in a month in flights departing from Australia, it focuses on targeting the upper class people of the society who can afford to travel in flights (Lamba, 2016). The entire scenario of the advertisement is set up in such a way that it would attract the upper class people. Eateries inside hotels are quite expensive and they require huge amount of sum; therefore, any person from the cream of the society would easily be attracted to the mode of conduct by the advertisement (Neuendorf, 2016). On the other hand, the breakfast items that are displayed in the picture form the staple breakfast items for both Australia and New Zealand, which clearly stated from which culture the advertisement is derived. It symbolizes the organization’s skill to endorse brand value and also the cultural symbol for breakfast in Australia and New Zealand. The company’s text under the picture clearly says “More of what you want”. This statement conveys the idea that the hotel offers more services with the usual cost as compared to the other residential hotels in Australia.

Connotations: In a semiotic analysis, connotations arise when a symbolical meaning fails to convey any literal definition through the pictorial form of the depiction. This defines the connotative nature of a pictorial form (Al-Attar, 2017). Every day the consumer gets to notice innumerable advertisements all around them in any every form. A print advertisement focuses on establishing the selling factor of the commodity or service of a given organization in the most concise way possible. The semiotic analysis about the print advertisement in discussion is about the residential hotel chains in Australia called the Travelodge Hotels. The printed advertisement featured in Jetstar Magazine depicts an older woman holding onto a croissant in the breakfast area of a hotel, wearing what seems like workout clothes. She has her table full with mouth-watering dishes for breakfast and the expression on her face clearly shows how happily surprised she is about the entire situation (Sunderland, & Denny, 2016). The advertisement also has a text at the bottom end of the page, describing the amenities that the hotel serves the customer; the ones which seemingly make the hotels appear different than the others. This entire scenario do not hold any symbolical evidence in it, rather displays the entire scenario in a much more simple way. This also falls true to the tagline of the hospitality-based organization, which read “Refreshingly Simple”. The target audience that the organization is trying to reach out to through the advertisement, can easily be reached out to given the simplicity of the advertisement placement and picture in display. Therefore, no complicated connotations are used in this case.

Ideologies: If the visual elements of the picture are considered, it can be seen that the photo has several layers. The woman at the front is clearly seen but there is also a couple present at the background that are mostly out of focus, but it can be clearly seen that they are engaged in a warm and happy breakfast meal themselves. They are not in focus like the woman in the picture, but they are also adding to the idea of the selling point that the picture suggests. In addition to that, the colour scheme of the advertisement is also adding to the attraction of the eye (Turner, Fiske & Hodge, 2016). The entire tabloid has a catchy red tinge with mostly white covering the entire picture. Since, red is the colour with the highest frequency, it immediately catches the eye of an individual. Another thing that is to be kept in mind about the entire assignment is the target audience. Travelodge Hotels are specifically dealing with the customers from the upper tier of the society; hence it is strategically placed in the magazine Jetstart, a magazine distributed amongst the people opting for a flight from Australia. The strategic action quite naturally catches the eye of the people looking for a luxurious experience at a comparatively low cost (Danesi, 2017). Thus, it can be said that the print advertisement has been created through semiotic terminology is developed with various effects from a particular ideology, which relate to the photo and context of an article. The article focuses on the age variation of the people featuring in the advertisement, but fails to clear out the racial differences. This can also be a major factor since the culture is Australia has somewhat been hostile to the racial differences in the country. Thus, it follows the ideologies and culture of Australia in full swing.

Thus, it can be concluded that the semiotic analysis for the Print Ad for Travelodge Hotels have proven that the advertisement has been successful as a pictorial depiction. It has been analyzed thoroughly on what makes a Print Ad effectively reach the targeted customers. The essay has focused on this aspect of a Print Ad by Travelodge as published in the monthly issue of June 2018 for Jetstar magazine. Further fulfilment of the advertisement has proven that analysis of the visual representation of the advertisement has been in accordance with the sole focus on its target market the link it has with the Australian culture. The strategic action quite naturally catches the eye of the people looking for a luxurious experience at a comparatively low cost. The advertisement is found to be absolutely successful in reaching the target audience as well as the Australian culture is clearly visualized in the pictorial depiction.

References

Al-Attar, M. M. H. (2017). A Multimodal Analysis of Print and Online Promotional Discourse in the UK (Doctoral dissertation, Department of English).

Danesi, M. (2017). Understanding media semiotics. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Fei, V. L., O’Halloran, K. L., Tan, S., & Marissa, K. L. (2015). Teaching visual texts with the multimodal analysis software. Educational Technology Research and Development, 63(6), 915-935.

Jetstar June 2018 Magazine. (2018). Retrieved from

Lamba, A. D. (2016). Packaging Desire a Socio Semiotic Study of Advertisements.

Neuendorf, K. A. (2016). The content analysis guidebook. Sage.

O'Halloran, K. L., Tan, S., & E, M. K. (2017). Multimodal analysis for critical thinking. Learning, Media and Technology, 42(2), 147-170.

Percy, L., & Elliott, R. H. (2016). Strategic advertising management. Oxford University Press.

Sun, Z., & Luo, W. (2016). Gendered construction of Macau casino: a social semiotic analysis of tourism brochures. Leisure Studies, 35(5), 509-533.

Sunderland, P. L., & Denny, R. M. (2016). Finding Ourselves in Images: A Semiotic Excursion. In Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research (pp. 111-138). Routledge.

Turner, G., Fiske, J., & Hodge, B. (2016). Myths of Oz: reading Australian popular culture. Routledge.

Wagner, K. (2015). Reading packages: social semiotics on the shelf. Visual communication, 14(2), 193-220

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