What is it? “Literal, explicit meaning” “Factual” “Dictionary Definition” Denotation of a word/image conveys information
Types of Denotation (Images) According to philosopher C.S. Peirce (1839-1914): -Icon: Direct representation (e.g. Image of the car in car ad) -Index: representation by association (e.g. Group of friends laughing in disposable camera ad) -Symbol: representation by convention, (e.g. “Golden Arches” logo of McDonald’s) – Advertisers want their symbol to become indexical
Use in advertisements, consider: Portraying/presenting the ad to the audience - How is the denotation of the images in the ad helping to achieve the aims of the advertisers? -What is the image of? Multiple? Pack shot? -What type of representation? -Camera angle? -Image type/effects? -Non-verbal messages? (Body language of the model?)
Camera Effect: Sepia-Tone, Icon representation of band members but as babies (possible messages and connotations) Also Font: Antique cursive fonts – attracts attention but not so much so to detract from image Sepia and cursive perhaps normal for the time, or perhaps suggesting nostalgia
Camera Angle: Here the audience is put into a low viewpoint, looking up at the ad. Authority and Power given to Batman over audience. Colour: Black and Orange/Red Nighttime, contrast, helps it stand out Text: “The Dark Knight”, could denote colour or the nature. Juxtaposition of dark and knight (traditional connotations). Slight word- play conveying info about the movie themes
What is it? “Figurative, implicit meaning” “Emotional & Imaginative Associations” “Additional suggestive meanings” Connotations of a word/image create connections May depend on personal & cultural context, social mindsets of the time
Use in Advertisements: -Transferring/Creating connotations for the product -Diverting/replacing connotations -“Short-circuiting” unwanted connotations Advertisers want to make their product evoke desirable connotations. A product may become associated with a life-style or a quality.
Denotation: Jessica Alba using this skin make-up Also consider, angle? Looking side-on, seductive? Index Connotation: J. A. associated with beauty, glamour and sex appeal, transfers connotations to product
Denotation: Image of a waterfall next to pack shot of KOOL cigarettes (recognition) Trying to make the waterfall image indexical Connotation: Cigarettes -> hot, dry, cancer, disease Waterfalls + Green -> Natural, Clean, Refreshing “short circuit” – Cigarettes instead become associated with nature and cleanness
Linking Denotation and Connotation e.g.: Cosmetics ad featuring a female model Denotation: Signifier – Image of female model Signified – Female model Connotation: Signifier – the signification of the female model Signified – Beauty, glamour, sex appeal
Denotation and Connotation Exist Together Denotation: Hollywood – A location in LA, center of American film-making Cigarette – Rolled up dry tobacco leaves Connotation: -Glitz, Glamour, Celebrity, Dreams of Stardom -Death, Cancer, Dry, Sick, Illness
Same Denotation, Different Connotations Home – Both denote: “Dwelling Place” House But Real Estate Ads like to use “Home” instead of “House” Because “Home” carries connotations of family, security, warmth, comfort & love
What is “bandwagoning”? A wagon used for carrying a band? Political jargon? Is it positive or negative? Examples
The Bandwagon Effect It is when people tend to do what others do, without considering what their actions entail. This effect becomes more pronounced as more people adopt the same idea (also known as groupthink). For example, PSY’s Gangnam Style was affected; people danced to it because lots of others did as well.
Bandwagoning in Advertising Advertisers often “jump on a bandwagon” to appeal to social values, improving the product’s image. These social values are often emerging or resurgent, because most people like being unique. Statistics and superlatives are usually used to jump on a bandwagon.
Example 1: Toothpaste #1 toothpaste brand Recommended by doctors Use of superlatives such as “only” Weasel words are used to impress without facing legal problems “Triclosan” is a widely used and controversial substance
Example 2: Guitar Hero This advertisement appeals to the fans of the then- emerging musical video game genre As it piggybacks on the massively successful Guitar Hero franchise, it has a huge audience and causes groupthink.