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Advertising and Semiotics

Semiotics, in an overview, is the study of the production of meanings from sign-systems, in both linguistic and non-linguistic manner (Hawkes, 1977). Distinctly, traditions of inquiry (human) form a more general science of signs. The scope of semiotics goes beyond spoken or written language to other kinds of communicative systems. Examples are semiotic uses in cinema (making movies), advertising (print ad and catchy commercials), gesture (hand manners), and cuisine (a finished product that tickles the taste buds before it even touches your mouth and eats it). It is, therefore, a complex process of signifying and suggestive subtleties. The American philosopher C.S. Peirce (1839-1914) founded Semiotics and independently by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) who has prepared the principles and concepts and the distinction between signifier and signified and between langue and parole as described in the Georgetown archives. Forming the basis of structuralism and its thrust toward literature, de Saussure became furthermore influential by this discipline. Peirce however, used a different set of terms to describe sign functions, which for him were a conceptual progression continually unfolding and unending (what he termed unlimited semiosis, the chain of meaning-making by new signs interpreting a prior sign or set of signs). But for social scrutiny, both school of thoughts on semiotics isolated sign functions. This reveals a set-up of relationships through the intricate social use – because cultures are fashioned through language, and language mediates or is a way of knowing things, interpreting and representing the true value and is made available when signs and sign systems are then collectively used effectively in our daily communication. Prominence in terms of shared conventions and codes like the level of expression for the signifier (the untouched impressionof speech sounds or the visual impression of written characters and images) and the signified (the level of content or value, what is associated with the signifier in a language) is the gist of de Saussure’s doctrine and concepts.

Advertising and Semiotics