SEX!!!… and other methods of how ads are secretly appealing to you

The concept of semiotics is one that distinguishes what an image or ‘sign’ depicts and what it actually means. One example is the following video:

As psychologist Geoffrey Millers claims, ” all our acquisitions of personal goods… are motivated by the primal desire for procreation, pleasure or both.”

Essentially Miller argues that everything you own or desire comes from man’s (and women’s!) primal instinct: SEX

Yes it isn’t just men who desire sex, as seen in this Cherry Ripe ad

This concept of semiotics defines signs having both a denotation and connotation. Take for example this:

Advertisement for the 1957 Pontiac Star Chief

Advertisement for the 1957 Pontiac Star Chief

Here is an ad from 1957 presenting the Pontiac Star Chief!

Now the denotation of the image is a beautiful 1950s woman dressed in red sliding  into the backseat of the spacious and coincidentally red Pontiac Star Chief. The  colloquial phrase “Spread Your Legs” alludes to the “maximum leg-room” in the car.

The connotation, however, signifies a completely different story. The woman  dressed in red with bright red lipstick symbolises seduction. Next the very obvious  phrase “Spread Your Legs” combined with “maximum leg room” is a double entendre  for how spacious the car is to… well you know.

Nevertheless, the advertisement leaves the signified knowing three things:

  • That the 1957 Pontiac Star Chief has enough spacious room for you to spread your legs.
  • That the 1957 Pontiac Star Chief has enough spacious room for you to spread your legs.
  • That people had sex in the 1950s

Semiotics is used by advertisers as a clever way of subliminally signifying a message to their audience to convince their audience to buy their product. Yes, it is sneaky. But if your gullible enough to think that that deodorant, or that laptop, or that… burger, will help you to achieve your ultimate desire, then buy away.




Shifting the Blame: An 8 Year Old’s Game

It is highlighted within David Gauntlett’s article that it is often the media that is blamed for the inherent violence within society. As noted in numerous psychological research studies such as American Psychology Association, it seems to be a simple solution to shift the blame to the media. However as Gauntlett details, many of these ‘experiments’ look at the media first, rather than the individual.  Essentially Gauntlett argues that the media effects model “comes at the problem backwards, by starting with the media and then trying to lasso connections from there on to social beings, rather than the other way around”.

Catcher in the Rye

If you have ever heard of Mark David Chapman, the man guilty of murdering John Lennon, then you would know he was supposedly “influenced” by the novel The Catcher in the Rye. This novel is, essentially of teen rebellion. The question is, how does a book about teen angst and rebellion result in the murder of one of the world’s greatest musicians?

From 1961 to 1981 the novel was the most censored book and the second-most taught book in the United States. The book is, however, also considered one of the greatest books of all time. Nevertheless the novel was heavily criticised for influencing Chapman’s assassination of Lennon.

If by taking into account Gauntlett’s argument, a quick google search will let you know that: 

“Following the murder, Chapman underwent dozens of assessments by different psychiatrists. He described his anger toward his father who had regularly abused his mother, his identification with Holden Caulfield and with Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz, and his conferences with the “Little People”, an imaginary set of people with whom he interacted and from whom he took guidance. He also provided a list of other celebrities he had thought about killing.”

Photo taken during arrest for murder.

Photo taken during arrest for murder.

It is therefore evident that, before identifying the novel Catcher in the Rye as a threat to society, that Chapman himself was hospitalised for mental-illness numerously. As such the immediate condemning speculation of the novel was irrelevant as evidence supports that Chapman was obviously mentally disturbed from his childhood.

Once again, to blame the novel you have to ask yourself this question: Would you kill John Lennon if a novel told you to?





The Introduction

Hey Guys,

I guess this is the compulsory introduction… so welcome to my Blog: Valid Issues No Tissues. 

My name is James Keogh and I am a BCMS/Arts student at UOW. I am hoping to complete the Journalism major whilst also studying Mandarin and Politics under my Arts Degree (Ni Hao to any Chinese peeps). The reason I am doing this course is because every opportunity from the BCMS course appeals to me, and I eventually hope to have a career in journalism one day.

If you haven’t noticed I despise tabloid news and hope to blog about Valid Issues within the media. I guess the No Tissues part of the title (apart from rhyming) represents the sensationalised or exaggerated aspect of tabloid news and I will hopefully achieve in presenting accurate, referenced information on the world of media and communications – in which case I am already better than fox.

Anyway I love movies (test me), TV, street art, discussing politics, Al Pacino, modern history, money, Freddie Mercury (anything queen related actually) and Coffee.

Zia Jian