Semiotic analysis of the representation of women in advertising

A sign can be better understood as a signifier, or a symbol that signifies something else. In some cases, the sign can be an exact representation of the thing being signified, while in other cases, it may be a symbol associated with it. Images One of the most frequent symbols used in advertising is the visual image of the product being sold. For instance, a restaurant that sells fancy desserts in addition to their main entrees may take out a billboard advertisement strategically placed two to three miles away from the freeway exit where the restaurant is located.

Semiotic analysis of the representation of women in advertising

Atypically the ad portrays the man as a sexual object, while the woman Minogue is portrayed as the dominant figure without being overly sexualised. This dominance is portrayed through her confident body language and the way she embraces the nude male figure while herself being fully dressed.

It is also enhanced by her recognisability as a brand. The figures in the ad project wealth, success and power — desirable qualities for the consumer, which is one of the most common tools in advertising.

However, the ad also challenges the traditional values and stereotypes associated with gender and the relationship between men and women.

It plays on how masculinity and femininity are seen today and portrays gender as multifaceted. Two perfume bottles are shown in the right bottom corner. Again, this is actually one bottle shown from the front and from the back.

There is a caption just above it. The undressed man in the ad is depicted in a very sensual way, flaunting his physique, which conotes sexuality. His eyes are closed, lips slightly apart.

This shows he is relaxed, but also references sexual ecstasy. Because he is not making eye contact with the audience, he becomes objectified. More commonly we would see women depicted in this way, being presented as sexual objects.

The male model is leaning back against Kylie, his head reclined on hers. This pose is submissive, but also shows a tenderness — a side of masculinity that is traditionally not explored much. In contrast, the dressed man is looking straight at the camera, his expression serious, determined, in control.

This is a more typical representation of men in media. However, it can be derived that the man is metrosexual — well-groomed, his image and physical appearance are very important to him.

It also signifies their relationship, but not as intimately as with his semi-nude double. The ad uses this technique to show two contrasting sides of one man and two sides of his lifestyle: The men are metaphorically linked to the perfume bottle in the right bottom corner.

The label on the bottle is white from the front and dark from the back, mirroring the light body of the undressed man and the black suite of the dressed one.

The connotations that the advertisers want to achieve is that the scent is appropriate for day and night, for work and for the bedroom, for men that are diverse. Kylie Minogue is at the centre of the advertisement, between the two men.

In this case, she becomes the brand like Diesel or Hugo Bossher face is the logo, the recognisable sign. This means she has a large fan-base of homosexual men who appreciate her music, her style and look up to her as a role model.

The way Kylie is portrayed in this ad is interesting. Her body is concealed and all we can see is her arms in the long mesh sleeves and her face, therefore the image of her is not physically sexual.

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Her arms are wrapped around the undressed man in a gesture of affection, but also possession. It is like she has control and ownership of him at this moment. She is looking at the camera in a flirtatious and confident way. Her expression shows that she is enjoying the intimacy she has with this man and is confident about her sexuality.

It almost looks like she is teasing the audience: Kylie is positioned a little behind the men, as if to suggest that they, not her, are the main subject of the advertisement. The text is rather polysemous. Therefore, one connotation can be that the ad is trying to sell the product by selling the concept of a heterosexual relationship with a beautiful, successful woman like Kylie.

Also the male-female interaction in this ad differs from the way heterosexual relationships are traditionally presented in the media.

Although the two men are actually the same person there is potentially a subtle element of homoeroticism in the ad.

However, we can see that they are not holding hands. This, as the name of the fragrance, also reinforces the idea that gender roles in this ad are reversed from traditional norms.

Part of the appeal of the ad to the female viewer is the power and success Minogue is associated with. The ad challenges homophobia in that the straight, metrosexual male model is being portrayed in a way that could be attractive for gay men.

Semiotic analysis of the representation of women in advertising

Although homosexuality is a subtle theme in this ad, the fact that gay men are identified as a distinct market in its own right is a relatively recent phenomenon. This type of representation would not have been acceptable without the success of feminism and gay rights movements.The progressive ‘Free Agent’ is the newest semiotic code revealed by the analysis.

Rather than being about womanhood, the Free Agent recognises the importance of humankind with women participating equally alongside men and being unapologetically themselves.

From my studies of semiotic each text. the aesthetic. all codes can be seen as ideological (Chandler.

behavioural and aesthetic codes of the modern day interpretation of the 21st Century woman. bodily codes due to the appearance of the woman and men.

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