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.

Reference:

Pontiac: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_SqhhJb_P3Kk/TN9eJ7gvcaI/AAAAAAAANBo/qRSLNJLB1K8/s400/spread+your+legs+ad.jpg

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One thought on “SEX!!!… and other methods of how ads are secretly appealing to you

  1. I really like your video clips, The Simpsons always has relevance to pretty much every situation. I completely agree with the idea that the media does ‘sex’ things up to appeal to larger audiences. Some where else to take this post is how far can this sexual angle be taken before it becomes offensive and too much for every day media 🙂

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