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Key Signifiers And Their Signified Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1602 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This essay identifies key signifiers and their signified, analyze how meaning is being “constructed” in this text, and what strategies are used to “address” the receiver of the text. The text to be analyzed is the Lynx ‘Unleash the Chaos advert. Visual and linguistic signs will be discussed to discover the meaning of this advert and how meaning is being created. I will also be looking at the different strategies employed to create meaning and make visible the social constructedness of meaning through analysis.This essay seeks to discover to identify the target audience of the advert and to see how the company chooses a strategy to reach their target audience. The essay also wants to discover the tools employed by the advert to construct meaning. I chose to analyze this advert because it is a very interesting and captivating. Another reason I chose to analyze the advert is because it has a fuller narrative.

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Lynx is a brand of male grooming products, owned by the British-Dutch company Unilever and marketed towards the young males demographic. The product is primarily targeted at 15 to 25 year old males. It is known as Lynx in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australasia but it is called Axe in the US. Unilever launched its first female Lynx product in the UK on 1st February 2012, as part of an attempt to expand the global Lynx and Axe brands. The lynx brand is popular for its male products, so the launch of this product took a large step in attracting a new demographic. This was the first advert to show the female variety of the lynx products. The advert can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEb3OpJQERE

Description of the media text

The advert shows a sequence of events that cause chaos to break out in a city. It started with a man and woman sitting opposite each other in a restaurant on the roof top of a building and there is a magnetic attraction and they come together and in the process, the man’s hand hitting a flower vase to the ground below. The vase lands in front of a woman who also is immediately attracted to a waiter dropping everything he’s holding, a man on a bike also sees the woman and jumps off causing it to crash into a pet shop. A man who presumably works in the shop rushes out to see what happened and he sees a nurse pushing a man in a wheelchair and they experience the same attraction causing her to release her grip on the wheelchair causing the old man to roll into the street accidentally creating a massive car pile-up. The advert had the general ambience of disorderliness and chaos even showing a small dog, running in the middle of the fire and accidents alone. The advert ended with an old man painting the cityscape with helicopters flying over head and smoke coming from the city. The advert showed different males and females being sexually attracted to each other oblivious to the chaos around them. Each scene in the advert is interrelated. The events are caused by men and women becoming too attracted to each other to concentrate on what they’re supposed to be doing. The video was shot in a big city and had good looking young people between the ages of 18 and 30. The soundtrack of the advert was something psychological by Katie Lee.

What is semiotics?

‘Semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken as a sign’ (Eco 1976, 7).Saussure defined semiotics as the science of life and signs in the society. Saussure offered a two-part model of the sign. He defined a sign as being composed of a signifier which is the form which the sign takes and the signified which is the concept it represents. A signifier is the physical evidence, the literal meaning of a sign. The signified is the idea, the implication of what we can see. The combination of a signifier and signified is known as a sign. ‘The mental impression of the sound is called the signifier and the general concept invoked is the signified’ (Thwaites, Davies and mules,31) .’Semiotics offers the promise of a systematic, comprehensive and coherent study of communications phenomena as a whole, not just instances of it ‘ (Hodge & Kress 1988, 1). It relates to how meaning is made possible in the visual world as a study of signs and explains how people understand the feelings, emotions and fears attached to a recognizable Symbol or code. Everything in the society can be seen as a form of communication and can be understood using different verbal and nonverbal codes. The advert makes use of visual and audio codes. The visual codes are the things we can see such as the people, buildings, cars etc while the audio code is the music.

Key signifiers in the media text include the young stylish males and females probably aged from 18 to 30. This plays largely to the undeniable theme of youthful sexuality. When trying to pass across a message of sexuality, the advert used a representation of the target audience to show the possible result of using Lynx. The urban environment they were in. There were lots of birds flying about probably from the pet shop. In lots of the scenes, there were birds flying or landing on vehicles. This brings the idea of freedom, having no limits or boundaries. The advert implies that the product causes freedom among users, that there is no limit to the Lynx effect. The Music choice, something psychological by Katie Lee is also a signifier. It talks about there being something “physical â€¦ strange… mystical…. and very chemical makes me gravitate to you”. The advert implies that there is something about the product that causes unexplainable attraction.

Some signified ideas in the advert are Libido and Youthful sexuality. The first thing that caught my attention was the good looking people in the advert. Good looking people have the ability to make a product or service more desirable for a good number of people. According to the daily mail, researchers found seeing an attractive man or woman in an advert excites the areas of the brain that make us buy on impulse, bypassing the sections which control rational thought. The Urban environment it was set in gives the allusion of success and affluence. It also brings the idea that using the product will make you feel successful and confident.

The advert represented the products signification through visual depiction showing their target audience in the advert. The campaign strategies of Lynx usually involve the idea of sexual attraction which was shown all through the advert. The referential function of this advert revolves around the idea of sexuality proposing that using the product will make you seem instantly more attractive to the opposite sex regardless of who you are. The advert showed young attractive people attracted to each other from sports players to a waiter and a delivery man showing that the product is available to anybody that aspires to attract the opposite sex, no matter who you are, if you use the lynx brand, you will be more attractive.

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An important Social code in the text is music used, something psychological by Katie Lee was very essential to the advert. The lyrics of the song described what was possibly going on in the minds of the people in the advert and fit the idea of the advert perfectly. Some of the lyrics were “It must be something psychological It may be something very physical That makes me feel the way I do Whenever I’m in touch with you”. The advert had a tone of inevitable attraction. The music choice also made the advert memorable. Another social code is the body Language. The advert used the body language to construct meaning by showing how intense the attraction was that they immediately went to each other. The look in their eyes also relayed the idea of sexual attraction. It also used physical orientation and posture. The way the actors in the advert were trendily dressed and physically attractive also provided a social code. This advert objectifies both men and women; Focusing on their attractive physical appearances, which seem to serve the purpose of pleasing viewers, rather than their substance as cognitive beings.

This text constructed meaning through social constructivism, the use of myths and Positioning. Social construction is based on the knowledge that phenomena or objects of consciousness are developed in social contexts. Truth and reality are fundamental in the social construction of meaning. This advert has little element of truth and reality as the scenarios can’t happen in reality. Myths are used by of imbuing brand names, Logos, product design, ads and commercials intentionally with some mythic meaning. In the case of this advert, this is achieved with the use of typically attractive people and offers promises of being sexually irresistible. Positioning is placing or targeting a product for the right people i.e. is young people.   It appeals to the fantasies of the target audience.

In conclusion, the ‘unleash the chaos’ advert is targeted at youthful males and females.  The advert got its message across through the use of social codes such as body language, the use of music and made use of positioning to target their audience. This advert had an undeniable theme of youthful sexuality, freedom and success displayed by the use of signifiers like young attractive men and women, positioning of birds representing freedom and the urban environment representing success.


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