Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by kateedwards » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:17 pm

The Lake & Stars Advertisement


These two ads are for the lingerie company, “The Lake & Stars”. Their content spurred much controversy in the media, and related interviews and articles can be found under “sources” of this post.

Linguistic: The linguistic message in these advertisements is sparse—a simple inclusion of the company's name in the bottom right corner is the only visible text. Other than to provide branding, the text doesn't do much to influence the iconography of the image, and unless the viewer knew the brand already, the name itself does not seem to relate to the product being sold. The name “The Lake & Stars” could be for a myriad of products, yet it is attached to these images of women in lingerie, suggesting the sale of clothing or undergarments to be the company's primary goal. The ads originally appeared on the company's website as part of their Fall campaign, which is perhaps why the text is so limited (people viewing the original ads would also see the surrounding website text and product descriptions). The fact that there is not an elaborate linguistic message allows for the photos to speak for themselves, therefore encouraging the viewer to read into them however they so choose. Such ambiguity led to controversy and debate about the true meaning of the ads.

Non-coded Iconic: In these advertisements a mother and daughter are seen posing intertwined while wearing lacy lingerie. In the first ad they are in an embrace, with the mother making direct eye contact with the camera while the daughter nestles into her mother's arms, eyes closed. The second advertisement displays the mother laying on top of the daughter, whose eyes are now making the eye contact. Their limbs are tangled together in both images, and their partially nude bodies are very much in contact. The mother appears to be in her middle-ages, with greyish hair and an artificial tan to her skin tone. The daughter is very pale and has red hair. Despite these distinctions their facial features show them to be related. The mother wears a two piece set in each photograph, while the daughter remains more covered up by a corset and slip. The mother and daughter, as well as their attire, are the primary focus in the ad, as the empty light blue background does not provide any extraneous detail.

Coded Iconic: The Lake & Stars campaign managers intentionally left these images up to viewer interpretation when they released promiscuous photographs without a clear reason as to why they chose a mother and daughter in these seemingly unusual positions. They were aware of the implications such poses could have, yet consequential debate on the topic made their company more well known. These ads connote a variety of messages to the viewer depending on one's stance on familial relationships and what is considered appropriate. Many viewers were enraged and felt disturbed by the photographs because they claimed they promoted incest and inappropriate contact between a mother and daughter. This opinion stems from society's negative opinion toward overtly sexual interactions between adults and children, parents and children, and even just two women. The mother's embrace of her daughter can be read many ways. For instance, it could be interpreted as a caressing gesture, implying a level of attraction between the two women. Laying down on top of her daughter can also be seen as a sexual action, as such a position is usually suggestive of lust or desire. Viewers who interpreted these images to have this sexual aura reflect society's rejection of relationships which make us uncomfortable. The use of two female models is common in fashion photography and is typically utilized to promote these feelings of desirability or sexuality, yet when executed with a mother and daughter, the poses take on a deeper level of sensuality and force our own values (i.e. regarding lesbianism, incest, etc) to influence how we perceive their relationship.

However, in interviews the company claimed they were not promoting inappropriate mother-daughter relationships and in fact were attempting to highlight a positive connection between the women. The same embrace which could be seen as sexual can also be seen as protective—the mother stares at the camera defiantly while clutching onto her daughter's shoulder and waist, bringing her close. The daughter's serene facial expression conveys she is being comforted rather than exploited, and she hugs her mother back with the same love. In this first image the mother seems to be empowered and looking after her child. In the second photograph, the roles have reversed. The daughter now holds onto her mother's arm and looks at the camera. The mother's facial expression seems almost distressed, and her horizontal pose connotes a frailty or weakness not shown in the first photo. The women are not touching each other sexually but rather expressing their close relationship and familiarity. The use of lingerie also connotes notions of what it means to be a woman, both young and old, and how beauty and femininity change as we age. How we perceive young women in lingerie is much different than how we see an older woman in the same garment. Typically we associate young, scantily dressed models as objects for desire and attraction, yet the girl in these ads appears innocent, and any sexuality exuded from her being is almost by accident. The interaction between the mother and daughter while wearing these items is suggestive of a strong female bond, a unifying element to what it means to be a woman in this culture. Depending on one's own personal opinion, these ads can be seen as either inappropriate or simply as an expression of care and love.

Personal Photograph


This is a photograph of my mother and me eating at a restaurant during one of our vacations. I chose this image to juxtapose with the Lake & Swan advertisement because of the similarity in theme—i.e. mother-daughter relationships and physical appearance of the younger versus older generation.

Linguistic: There is no linguistic message in this photograph other than the words on the menu, which are difficult to read—practically the only words that are legible read “Soups & Salads”.

Non-coded Iconic: This photograph was taken inside a vacant restaurant adorned with tiled walls, spherical light fixtures, and swirl patterned dividers. My mother and I are seen seated side by side while looking at our menus and spreading butter on the bread at the table. The position of our hands on our knives is practically identical. Since this is a candid shot, neither of us are looking at the camera, and do not seem aware the photo is being taken. My mother is caught mid-sentence, hence her mouth being partially open. We are wearing cloth hats, scarves, and long sleeved t-shirts. Even though the photo is in black and white, my clothes are notably lighter in color, whereas my mother's are darker hues. There is an untouched place setting toward the bottom right, and our water glasses are completely filled. To my left there are numerous alcohol bottles along the bar, and behind my mother the restaurant extends back into more empty tables. The perspective of the image suggests the photographer is seated on the opposite side of the table.

Coded Iconic: The parallels in our clothing and mannerisms suggest that we have a very close relationship. Looking from one figure to the next creates a strange sensation of looking into the future—I can see what I may grow into as I age because of the similarities between us in this moment. Our lack of eye contact with the camera and with each other suggests we are consumed by our own thoughts, yet despite our minds be disconnected from one another, our actions are mirrored unintentionally. The atmosphere of the restaurant appears high end while our clothing is casual, a disconnect which implies we may be out of place. We both read our menus intently while simultaneously reaching for the bread, thinking about what comes next before even enjoying what is immediately before us. This photo shows us acting as if we are twins despite our large age difference. However, since my mother appears young (as connoted by her fashion, eye makeup, and accessories), we could potentially be seen as sisters rather than mother and daughter. One could assume I am trying to mimic my mother's appearance by dressing and acting like her, or the opposite may be true—she could be imitating my style in an effort to seem younger. Her painted nails, sparkled hat, and jewelry seem glitzy in contrast to my plain attire. Overall the image conveys our physical resemblance and similar tendencies when in fact we have very distinct personalities.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/1 ... ml#s467563
http://nymag.com/thecut/2011/11/fox-new ... e-ads.html

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by rdouglas » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:12 pm


This is an aging Volkswagen advertisement released simultaneously with the Volkswagen Beetle in the 1950s.

Linguistically, there is one very short sentence in bold and some smaller sub-text beneath it. The text is pushed to the bottom of the document and directly borders the bottom of the image of the advertisement. The bolded sentence reads, "Think small." The subtext below goes on to state the effective economic benefits of owning this particular car. The subtext is in place to provide practical, literal details of the car, but the bolded, larger text exists for a much simpler and more powerful reason. "Think small." directly challenges the statement "Think big.", meaning to think beyond what is normally thought or to embrace all possibilities. Such a stark statement juxtaposed with such a stark image makes, ironically, a big statement just the same. The same statement conveys to the audience the unique qualities that a small car possesses such as fuel economy, small actual size or easy maintenance. Also, the viewing of the advertisement is rapid and easily digestible. With such an effective, yet small phrase, the audience may be more inclined to read the provided sub-text in wanting to know more about thinking in terms of "small".

Visually, there exists the text area on the bottom of the document, but more immediately there is the seamless white or grey background that dominates the majority of the page. In the upper left of this background is a Volkswagen Beetle that is seemingly greeting the expanse of this background while appearing rather visually overwhelmed. The only detail that indicates a flat surface or depth is the shadow directly beneath the Beetle.

I believe this advertisement or campaign was successful due to its sheer simplicity and almost inviting aesthetics. The combination of all these elements that I have described gives the audience a look into a possibly different automotive lifestyle than they be used to. Cars of that time period (the 50s) were generally large, long vehicles that gulped gasoline, required extensive maintenance and were not very maneuverable. Instead of thinking big, the ad asks the audience to think inversely of what they may be typically accustomed to. In doing so they can experience savings of money, space and most importantly, simplicity.


The text or linguistic messages in this image are very fragmented and cryptic. On the wall in the foreground we see the text "1987" followed by "FUCK 1817" below it. Behind my friend we see a symbol for the shoe company DC, "ACE 2011", "2010", and the names Jacob, Mikayla and Rob. Linguistically, these messages or words have no obvious meaning for me. The more recent dates may indicate when an individual visited this building, but the date 1817 may indicate something else entirely. The names may also be the names of those who came upon this derelict structure.

In more detail, my image shows my friend Jack pointing out the window of a very much abandoned, aged room. The room is dark, but the daylight from outside strikes his white shirt and causes a shadow of his lower body on within the shadow of the window frame. Text in the form of graffiti adorns the walls and no furniture or fixtures of any kind can be seen. On the right side of the photograph calcium stalactites hang from the cement crossbeam in the ceiling. Also, while Jack's right arm is pointing to something outside and elevated, his left arm is barely touching his left hop as if he was in the process of moving it somewhere else.

The implications of this image are many. The most curious aspect is the identity of the entity of which Jack is pointing towards. Additionally, the darkness in the right of the photograph hints that Jack is in an abandoned building of some sort with no electricity or cleanliness. The calcium stalactites on the cement crossbeam signify the age of the building or the date of abandonment, which is very old or a very long time ago. This photograph is very good example of an image that gives no strong context, but one that does offer intrigue. All of these elements tell the viewer that the building may have experienced a rapid evacuation some 50-60 years ago, but the physical artifacts of human presence like the graffiti or Jack indicate that there are other parties interested in discovering and pursuing the building's past.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by orourkeamber » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:39 pm

Amber O'Rourke
Dose equis ad.jpg
The advertisement that I chose was for Dos Equis beer. This particular brand of beer uses lots of linguistic messages. The first is displayed at the top and says “on Happy Hour: Happy Hour is the hour after everyone from” happy hour has left.” For those who are familiar with the Dos Equis beer ads it is clear that these are supposed to be the opinions of the Dos Equis spokesperson aka “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” However for someone who is unfamiliar with this company’s previous advertisements this statement seems out of place. Perhaps it can be interpreted that those who are “in” enough to stay at the bars after hours are superior to others, by drinking Dos Equis beer you too can be in this exclusive circle. As we move down to further inspect the ad we see the Dos Equis logo and slogan “Stay thirsty, my friends” By asking the viewer to “Stay thirsty” it reminds them to not forget about their thirst and there for not forget about their “need” for Dos Equis. It is not surprising that it also addresses the viewer as “my friend” again reminding them that they are welcome in this exclusive group (if the drink Dos Equis). Though almost unnoticeable is yet another linguistic message. This message is to the right of the ad along the edge reminding customers to “Enjoy Dos Equis responsibly” probably required but made small not wanting to deflect attention from all the implied good things that will happen to you if you drink this brand of beer.

The non-coded iconic message of this advertisement shows four people sitting at a table in what is probably supposed bar or restaurant. The wall behind them is wood paneled and from what the viewer can see the place looks clean and well taken care of. The main character is an older man who is smoking a cigar and dressed in a suit. He looks directly at the viewer. The man and woman sitting next to him are clearly focused on him well the third looks knowingly off into the distance. They are all nicely dressed and attractive. In the foreground are two bottles of beer clearly displaying the Dos Equis label as well as one very elegant beer glass and an ashtray.

Lastly, we will look at the coded iconic message of this ads implied meaning. As I said before the main character of this add is clearly the older man with the beard, we know this because he is the only one looking directly at the viewer and the other two characters are focused on him. The female’s stare as well as her body language is flirtatious and suggestive of desire. The man to right is also engaged perhaps to suggest his need to learn more about the main character in order to be more like him. The relations ship between these three characters implies the idea that he is a man that woman want and men want to be him. The fourth characters stares away, it seems she is looking at the others in the bar with an air of superiority because she is a part of the inner circle. The ad makes it clear that they are drinking Dos Equis because they are high class. Though some of the beers are shown in bottles one is poured into a fancy beer glass letting the viewer know that this IS a very classy beer. Because the viewer is placed on the opposite side of the table it makes them feel as though they are part of this group. The overall message of this ad is to suggest that if you drink this particular brand of beer you too can be part of the beautiful elite in crowd.
new years photo.jpg
The linguistic message of my personal picture is slight but reveals an important piece of information about this photo; on a few of the party goers’ paper crowns you can read the words “Happy New Year.” This linguistic detail let the viewer know the time of year this photo was taken as well as why this group of people has come together.

In the frame of this picture the non-coded iconic message can be describe as a group of about sixteen people who all seem to be smiling and enjoying themselves, some are even making silly faces at the camera. They are dressed casually (some even wearing paper crowns as said previously) and many of them are holding drinks in their hands. One of the women on the right hand side holds her glass in the air; another person who can barely be seen does the same on the left. In the background we see a table with some bowls. The large panoramic windows and city lights reveal that it is night time. Above the window we see a string of colored lights.

Based on the viewer’s context of culture the coded iconic message can be read. One might recognize the string of lights to be Christmas lights and the paper crowns to be those worn by people when celebrating New Years Eve, thus revealing the viewer with understanding of the context of this photo (this is not just any ol' party). Based on the way that the people are dressed as well as their body language it is shown that this is not a formal setting but rather a casual gathering of friends. The woman and man holding their glasses in the air are making a gesture of good faith (cheers), this is something someone coming from outside the culture might not pick up on.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by juliacurtis » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:44 pm

The McDonald’s wi-fries advertisement demonstrates how the literal and symbolic messages work together. Before piecing together how they work lets just break down what we see. “Love free wi-fi” in tiny font at the bottom right hand corner is the only written text. “Love” is in yellow font with “free wi-fi” in white to distinguish the two as separate statements. Above the text the universally known symbol of McDonald’s – the double golden arches. The main part of the ad is the frenchfry wi-fi bars on top of a red background. The small white text enforces the symbol. This advertisement draws upon the fact that the viewer will know what airport wi-fi bars look like and will recognize McDonald’s. The universally assumed knowledge of the brand can be seen in the decision to not even write it anywhere. Instead just the word “love.” I asked a friend what he took away from the ad. His response was that McDonald’s had free internet. Upon further glance he realized that the wi-fi bars were made out of french fries. The linguistic message fixes the message we take from the ad. Even without the linguistic message though, the airport wi-fi symbol and the McDonald’s symbol serve as coded iconic messages for the intended message of the ad using the lexicons familiar to the Industrialized world. Replacing the wi-fi bars with french fries and writing love both serve to associate McDonald’s as a loving environment with free wireless internet and their classic fries. The linguistic and symbolic measures complement each other in conveying the intended significance of the advertisement.
To begin, a simple identifiaction of the represented scenes is a woman talking at a podium for some Goddard College function. If you know that I took this photo one would probably assume that the woman is my mom and it must be some kind of special event or I wouldn’t have taken a picture of the event. My mom’s body language, the water on the table and the lack of awards or an award presenter imply that she is doing some kind of reading. The linguistic message serves an advancing function by fixing the location in Plainsfield, Vermont or Port Townsend, Washington. We also can gain a vague perception of the dimensions of the room, aided in part by the presence of the speaker, and realize it is not a large auditorium but still substantial in size. From this one might infer that the audience was sizable but intimate. The photograph re-presents a scene, and upon looking at the cultural bits of information encoded in various aspects in the photo, the scene develops more context.
Screen shot 2012-10-22 at 6.40.55 PM.png
http://bp.uuuploads.com/minimalist-ads/ ... -fries.jpg

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by rosadiaz » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:42 pm

After reading Roland Barthes' article "Rhetoric of the Image", select an ad and a personal photo and discuss both separately using Roland Barthes' system of the three messages. Your ad should come from the corporate world, something like an ad, a news picture, can be a scientific illustration, etc, and then select an image that is of a casual nature: snapshot, family, etc.
- The linguistic message
- A coded iconic message
- A non coded iconic message

Linguistic Message:: Almost all Americans would know who Flo is. She is the picture perfect, wide eyed and a bright smile female who advertises for the insurance company Progressive. The company boasts of low rates, best policies from home to auto insurance and catchy commercials appealing to the younger audience who need insurance. She holds a box of Auto Insurance, ‘Progressive’ on her shirt and the side of the box, along with pointing it with a laser barcode gun. The ad is minimalistic, straight and to the point as most Americans prefer a clever ad or an easy to read ad that can be seen and taken in at a glance and not thoroughly examining it. The word ‘Progressive’ itself embodies the insurances’ policies of moving forward; to get things going when insurance is needed.
Other insurance plans connect to the mature audience of the ‘what ifs’ that can happen to them or their loved ones. From floods, car accidents, burglary, AAA or All State insurance has got their fellow customers worries safely covered. They also use serious tones and real life enactments to demonstrate the seriousness and the security of having insurance. But they also play on the humorous side, like the ‘Mayhem’ guy, while still directing to the audience all the possibilities that can happen and the coverage that is provided. On the other hand Progressive stays on this chic white modern design, with puns, centaurs and comical ads. This appeals to the younger audience or new insurance buyers as the rates are cheaper, the feminine beauty boasting of great Auto insurance and any bundle provided.

Denoted Message:: This white, clean modern ad lead the eyes to easily spot what to look for. The horizontal structure is used and read from left to right as the English language is read from right to left. So it starts from a bright beaming smile complimented by a ubiquitous gaze. Then onto a ‘futuristic’ laser gun to scan the insurance package being held up front to the viewer with confidence. The whole ad sums up the clean-cut easy to read advertisement implementing the simple to sign-up insurance company.

Coded Message:: From the start ‘Progressive’ has always aimed for a more futuristic setting aiming for the younger generation as they seek more of a sleek design with this fast paced world. It’s easy to read for the eyes of an ever wondering technology intrigued young adult. The commercials are the same as the ads are all white, with some blue, not too chaotic and with futuristic technology. This symbolizes the innovative ways that Progressive will try to maintain an appeal to the younger generation with technology and a futuristic mindset. The laser gun held prominently by Flo signifies the quick and efficient steps taken to get Progressive auto insurance. It no longer has to be heavily drenched in jargon, loop-holes, constant paperwork and everything can be done online or with one easy step. No human being wants to spend hours with paperwork for an insurance company when all they can do is follow these easy steps to insure a faster and time saving set up. The watch is another signifier of their fast, always on time and on top of their work.
In reality from indirect experience, it is a slow company to respond back. Even an AAA agent will scoff at the name and the slowness of their networking. Progressive boasts with its commercials and advertisements its efficiency and loveable insurance but covers up its sluggish responses once a real emergency happens with ‘quick quotes’ and ‘low rates.’

Linguistic Message:: ‘Nebraska State Capitol’ is the only text on the picture of a postcard held by a plush toy. Then there is small unreadable text from a photo-bombing receipt. The text is in cursive san-serif font in front of the state capitol government building in Lincoln, Nebraska. The plush toy called Mashimaro some say is the Korean fat bunny equivalent to Japan’s Hello Kitty. So some may know about him and some may not. Travel photos have become fun in a way where plushies, toys or objects substitute the human being in the picture as they are the ones enjoying the area. Like in the French movie Amélie where the main character’s father’s gnome is taken on a journey and photographed around the world and anonymously being sent back to the father. Just like the Gnome was enjoying site seeing and these new wonderful places, so was this plush.

Denoted Messages :: There is a postcard of a beautiful Spring sunny day, with lush green trees, fluffy white clouds and a prominent capital. With an expressionless face the postcard is being held by the plush toy Mashimaro. There is a receipt intentionally or unintentionally placed there, who knows. It happened around five years ago. Then there are lights above, a wooden table, chairs, ficus trees, a guy with a green shirt in the background going along well with the pallet of green throughout the picture.

Coded Messages:: Mashimaro is promoting Nebraska to come to this middle state and enjoy what there is to offer. The receipt can mean that there are things to do and things to buy in Nebraska the state of Corn! It is a simplistic and minimalistic where the image is not paraded by other figures and human beings other than inanimate objects. But even then the oobjects don’t bombard the viewer. It resembles the simplicity of promoting a place, person or company with a popular way to memorialize a moment in time. The viewer can easily identify what Mashi is doing and for what purpose.
In reality I took pictures of him in replacement of me since I don’t like to take photographs of myself. I took him as a throw pillow on the Grehound and he became in a way the mascot to our fifteen something group of students and staff all going to the Thespian Festival, from LA, CA to Lincoln, Nebraska. It was a fun journey as he commemorated those wonderful weekends such as that one time he met some new friends, or that other time where he was drained and needed to fill up on coffee. And let’s not forget all the love and popularity he received even with a stoic expression. The plush toy served its purpose to commemorate the land of corn.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by pumhiran » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:00 pm

Linguistic: This is a Disneyland advertisement with a quote, "Where every moment leaves you hungry for more." The texts is use corresponding to the action of the image. The ad also use Disney Font. On the bottom left, there is a name of actor and which role he is portraying. On the bottom right, there is link to Disneyland website.

Denoted: In this advertisement, Captain Hook (Russell Brand) is trying his best not to be eaten by the graphic design crocodile. The images look like it is taking place in the cave. There is a bright sun ray coming in from the front of the cave. The expression on the actor face is screaming and nervous. This image look completely unrealistic despite the fact that the actor is an actual person in the image. However, creating fantasy like images is exactly what Disney is all about.

Connoted: Disney advertising campaign often portray Happiness as part of their marketing strategy. Not saying that being eaten by crocodile is a happiness thing to do, but the fact that there is fantasy waiting for young boy and girl at Disneyland. Using cartoon character can attract young boy and girl, but using famous actor would get anyone attention does not matter if they are young or old. There are many reasons why people have decided to visit Disneyland such as: Family Day out, date, celebration, etc. However, another reason should be the fact that we want to escape from reality and go to the world that everything is joy and cheerful.


Linguistic: This is a photograph straight out of a digital camera, so there is no text in this picture.

Denoted: The picture show one man and one woman offering food to a monk in a bright orange robe. The man who is wearing a military uniform is holding a bowl of rice. On the other hand, the woman is scooping the rice and attempt to put rice in the stainless steel bowl that the monk is holding. The background is dark, but the lighting indicate the used of flash. The monk is looking in the silver bowl instead of looking at the man and woman. An addition to this image, the man and woman are my parents and the Monk was me. This picture was taken in Summer 2012 while I was in Thailand.

Connoted: In Thailand, it is a custom of Buddism to offer foods to the buddhist monk. One of Monk's dairy routine is to walk out of the temple in the early monring and getting food offering by the civillians. People believe this will be a great way to gain merits. On the other hand, it is in the 227 rules that monk cannot get his own food. Any foods or drink(beside water) must come from the offer of others. This daily routine is only occur once a day. The reason for monk to be giving food is so that it won't cause the corruption in the Monk's mind. Not to mention Monk can only eat from sunrise to noon. From my point of view, endure the starvation is just another way of meditating.

Last edited by pumhiran on Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:37 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by jaehakshin » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:27 am

Linguistically, there is little bit of language within the ad. "adidas.com/football", "Impossible is nothing", and "Adidas" with logo. There is a website address on the ad to make the viewers to check out their site and attract consumers to buy their products. Similar to how Nike came up with their signature quote, "Just Do It", Adidas also quoted "Impossible is Nothing". This quote makes the viewers to want to play sports. To play sports, they would need to buy gears and to get those gears, they would go to Adidas store. To remind viewers which ad they are looking at there is an Adidas logo.

The denoted message is bunch of soccer players ready to play soccer. The color of the ad is very saturated and that makes the viewers to feel the energy. In this ad, Adidas targeted young male customers. The boy stands there with a soccer ball in his hand and he is staring at famous soccer players. To the boy those famous soccer players are role models and most of boys would feel the same way.

Connotated message is that every boy can become one of those famous soccer players through Adidas. Young boy would want to be the boy in the ad and to get the feel of it, he would buy the same soccer ball that he is holding. If the boy really likes soccer, he would purchase the same shoes, pants, or shirts that one of the soccer players is wearing. The ad implies that all you need is a soccer ball to become one of those famous players. Whether you live in third world country, you can still become a famous soccer player. Overall, soccer ball and passion to play soccer is the only key to becoming an excellent soccer player.
Linguistically, the numbers on the right corner, indicates that the location isn't just a playground or park. It implies that its a school playground. Since elementary schools have school playgrounds, this place can be predicted as Isla Vista Elementary.

Denoted message is mainly from the blue playground and the kids near it. People are not posing for the camera, which means that they did not notice I was there. Oddly there is a girl with a soccer ball and group of boys staring at something else. In common scene, you would find boys with soccer ball and girl staring at them.

Connotated message is that the school is on a break or the school ended. If it was a recess, there would be more kids at the playground. In addition, there is only one adult and that adult seems to be watching the baby only.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by aleforae » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:48 am

Christin Nolasco - Report on Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Linguistic Message:
The linguistic message of this comedic ad, "reality sucks", is purposefully done in bold type-face in order to shove the concept behind this ad right in the viewer's face and set the unsatisfied tone. It is not meant to be subtle. The phrase "reality sucks" paired with the couple attempting to do the famed Titanic pose whilst being attacked by a bird and the dreary backdrop strongly imply that real life cannot compare to the movies. Movies are glamorized and even look aesthetically better, especially if one were to compare the actual scene from Titanic, in which the lovers Jack and Rose do this iconic pose, to this ad. The fact that this ad is brought to viewers by Utopolis: Group of Cinemas further ads to the humor of the ad and also, reveals the business inclination behind it. A cinema company telling people that "reality sucks" is nearly the equivalent of them telling them that since reality isn't so great, come watch a movie to escape this fact and live out the "movie life".

Coded Iconic
The cultural information that is presented to us in this ad was carefully placed by Utopolis: Group of Cinemas. First of all, front and center, we have a couple attempting to do the iconic Titanic pose. Though there is no actual mention of this movie anywhere on the ad, it is assumed that most people will recognize this pose right away. Thus, the creators of this ad obviously had knowledge of the fact that Titanic was once one of the most-watched movies of all time. The bird, which is also front and center, attacking the woman ruins this attempt at the iconic pose and is a form of manifestation of why "reality sucks". It sucks because attempts at movie moments like this never go well. In addition, the rather gloomy and grey backdrop of the sky only strengthens the tone already pre-determined by "reality sucks". On a minor note, it is interesting to note that the man remains safe from harm and is actually smiling behind the woman while she is the one actually attempting to hold his arms up though he is the one behind her. Perhaps this ad is subtly targeting women. The woman is the one actually initiating the iconic pose and she is the only one to get attacked by the bird. So perhaps "reality sucks" for her moreso than it does for the man and is thus telling her to go watch movies at Utopolis: Group of Cinemas in order to escape reality, especially since women are generally stereotyped as the daydreamers in comparison to men in most societies.

Non-Coded Iconic
Regarding the image itself, without cultural knowledge, one simply sees a couple on a boat. If one has no knowledge of the movie Titanic, their pose can probably be seen as a bit strange, which probably also makes the ad that much more hilarious. Then, there is the bird which is seen headbutting the woman as she scrunches her face in agony. Lastly, there is a grey sky and harbor in the background which is suitable considering they are on a boat in the ocean.

Linguistic Message:
Linguistic-wise, one can make out various signs in the background in bold letters such as "Five Guys Fries", "Willy Wonkas of Burgercraft", "Five Guys Serves Heaven On A Bun", and "Order Online". Based on the relativity of the content of all the signs, even if you didn't know what Five Guys was, it is easy to infer that I am in a burger place. Thus, the signs set the setting.

Coded Iconic:
Taking in the background first, one will observe a red-and-white color scheme in addition to the signs mentioned above which strongly imply that I am in a burger place. In most cultures, red is often associated with dining/restaurant schemes because the color is so attention-grabbing. Through the windows, one can also see that there are tables with umbrellas on a patio. Again, most people generally associate this type of outdoor furniture with some sort of diner or restaurant. Focusing back on the people, both my friend and I are seen eating a french fry with rather neutral expressions on our face so it is hard to tell whether or not we're actually enjoying it. In addition, my other friend is not seen eating anything and is covering his face from the photo. So, he obviously does not want his picture taken but the fact that he is not eating implies that he either already ate or does not like the food here. It is somewhat ironic to note that it is the two females who are seen eating in this photo while the only male in the photo is eating nothing when it is generally assumed by society that males have the bigger appetite. Thus, there is a possible implication that my friend and I have break this stereotype and actually have the bigger appetite. The act of my friend and I eating french fries itself solidifies the implication that I am in a burger place. As a whole, this image is unintentionally the exact stereotype of what the typical American eats. Especially if one has knowledge of the fact that everyone in this picture is American. The subtly-seen grease spots on the bags put the final touch on that stereotype of the "fat American" who eats burgers and fries along with other generally unhealthy foods.

Non-Coded Iconic:
Taking away cultural knowledge, one sees two females eating fries from a greasy bag while the male hides his face from the camera. The place it is set in has a color scheme of red and white with "Five Guys Fries", "Willy Wonkas of Burgercraft", "Five Guys Serves Heaven On A Bun", and "Order Online" signs hanging on the walls. Through the windows, one can see tables with umbrellas that have people sitting at them.
Last edited by aleforae on Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by dslachtman » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:02 am

Using Roland Barthes' system, an image can be analyzed by being broken down into linguistic, denoted and connoted messages. The first image under scrutiny is an advertisement for the deodorant company Secret.

The denoted linguistic message is describing the product. "Kuku Coco Butter" is in large type on the top of the page, with "When you're strong, you sparkle" as the smaller tagline above the larger text. Towards the bottom of the page is the "Secret Platinum" deodorant label with the text "Scent Expressions" in larger type below it, as well as all the "flavors" or scents in the deodorant; "jasmine orient, arctic apple, vanilla chai, french lavender".

The connoted linguistic message is showing exoticism. With descriptors like "orient", "arctic", and "french" the consumer is supposed to see the product as scented with exotic and rare flavors as opposed to simply "apple, chai, and lavender." The tagline "When you're strong, you sparkle" is directly related to the product "platinum", connoting that when you use such a strong, exotically scented deodorant, then you as a consumer sparkle like platinum.


The denoted message is shown through a computer generated image involving a lot of different tropical elements. Center of the image you see a rather exotic looking woman in what would appear to be a coconut gown. Around her are vanilla flowers, coconuts, sea horses, starfish, palm trees, venus fly traps, parrots, and even a monkey with a ukulele. Beneath her are two kaleidoscopes and a floor of sand and sea shells. The entire image is bright and shimmery, with little beams of light hitting each object and sparkling in what would appear to be the light of a sunset over the ocean in the background.


The connoted message is that of exotic beauty. For centuries, Anglo saxon people have been obsessed with the exotic. The orient, Hawaii, and the tropics are sought after for the delicious fragrances and beautiful exotic people. There is an age old desire to seek what is foreign. In the earlier half of the 20th century it was in a more demeaning and perhaps racist way than it is now, but the idea of seeking the exotic still stems from the same origin.
By showing us these tropical plants, animals, scenery and vaguely ethnic woman in a coconut dress, Secret is playing on this old idea of seeking the exotic. The symbolic message is that you too can smell like a tropical island if you buy this deodorant, you too can look as beautiful and tan as the model that is front and center of the picture. The kaleidoscopes symbolize seeing sparkling, colorful, and beautiful imagery, as well as playing on the idea of discovering something new like a pirate or pioneer may have done through a telescope lens.
The second image is a a snapshot that was taken on a bus to go to downtown Santa Barbara on a thursday night last Spring.


The linguistic message is on the money that my two friends Mari and Tiffany are holding in their hands. The image shows that they have 5s and 20s in wads in their hands, and that the money is American. There is also a small "no smoking" sign in the left hand corner. While there is no words on this sign, it is an internationally known sign for no smoking, so we will categorize this as linguistic.


The main focus of the image is on two girls who look overwhelmed with the situation at hand. The rest of the people in the picture are not ready for the photo or are cropped out of the frame, showing a bus that is pretty crowded with people who are nicely dressed, standing in the aisle or up on the seats. My friend Meghan has a pink crown on her head and a sash across her body. The black windows lets the viewer know that it is night time.


The crown and sash on Meghan suggest that it is her birthday. A common thing to do in our youth culture is to make the birthday girl look like a princess, so that people who she meets will know it's her birthday and will act accordingly. This lets us know that Meghan is celebrating and that this event is most likely a celebration with her friends. The look on Tiffany's face suggests that she is in mid laughter or has no idea what to do with all the bills in her hands. She was collecting money to pay for the bus we were in, and clearly is not used to having that much cash with her at once. The nicely dressed people in the bus let us know that we are going somewhere that requires us to look nice, and the night time windows let the viewer know that we are probably going clubbing and to bars.
The people who are not ready for the photo or are cropped out show that the picture was not a posed picture and that it is actually an action shot. The people in the image are in the process of collecting money for the bus when I happened to shoot the picture of them holding all of the money.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by jacobmiller » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:41 pm


linguistic message:
The linguistic message in this advertisement is "www.france24.com" and "the first news channel available live on iPhone". This tells us that the ad is for a news service that is available for iPhone and it provides us with the web address if we wish to find more information. The text also leaves me with a question as to whether or not the news channel is strictly for iPhone or if it was a channel that now offers live iPhone feed as well. The name france 24 leads me to believe that the channel covers news in france 24 hours a day. The text however is not the focus of the ad as it is used to inform the viewers after the photo has grabbed their attention.

The denoted message shows us a man covered in ash with a man with a gun standing over him. There are onlookers in the background and what appear to be other bodies next to the man covered in ash. Rubble is spread around near the men, some of which is still smoldering.The blue building in the background appears to be run down. There are also fingerprints on the image itself.

The connoted message brings in quite a bit of information. For starters, the man with the gun appears to be wearing a uniform which would imply that he is some sort of police force. His body language does not appear to be consisting with helping the men on the ground which tells us that he is either part of the devastation or that the area may not be deemed safe yet. A closer look will reveal that his finger is off of the trigger which I take to imply that he is simply securing the area. He appears to be yelling to someone off camera.
The man on his knees seems to just have gained consciousness since the event. The piece of wood flaming in the bottom right of the photo leads me to believe that the event had just taken place. The man on his knees has had much of his clothes apparently burnt off. The ash, flame and degree lead me to believe that this was a bombing. This photo uses the same tactics that news in general uses to gain interest. The negative and scary stories are the ones that receive ratings so it only makes sense that an advertisement for a news station use such a negative and scary photo. The fingerprints on the photo represent the touchscreen capability of an iPhone. It is supposed to be as if you accessed the photo on your iPhone.

For my second photo I decided to analyze a picture I took at a club meeting.

The only linguistic information that I could make out in the photo is the word barbara written on the leg of a girls sweatpants. Of course anyone who goes here would tell you that the rest of the words on her pants say "university of california santa barbara" but I could not make them out. someone else's shirt has the numbers 981 written on it.

The photo shows a large room with stadium seating filled with people. many of the people are engaged in throwing paper airplanes that are made of a blaze orange material. the door is open in the back of the room and some people are standing in the back. there is a projector in an av booth in the back of the room.there is a backpack and a skateboard on the floor in the front of the room. some seats are empty but there are still people standing in the back. some people are not yet engaged in throwing the airplanes yet. some of the people have the desk portions of their chairs down with paper and pencils on them.

The apparent age of the people tells us that they are likely to be the age of students. since they are most likely students it would seem fitting that this is probably a classroom. in fact most people that have attended this school would be able to tell you that this is the large lecture hall in Broida (1610) I believe. The skateboard in the front suggests that it is an acceptable form of transportation on the campus. judging by the attire worn by the students we can deduce that the school is either located in a warm climate or it is near summer time. the people standing in the back of the room are likely to have shown up late considering that there are still empty seats to be filled. considering that the airplanes appear to come in different shapes and sizes we can infer that they are self folded and most likely paper airplanes. all eyes from the throwing individuals are on the same area which suggests that they are aiming at a specific spot, maybe a target. many of the students have smiles on their faces implying that this is a fun activity to take part in.

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