Analysing an Advertisement Through Barthes’ Analytical Model

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The advertisement I’ve chosen to be my case of study in analyzing an advertisement through Barthes’ analytical model is an ad from Folgers Coffees. The ad is actually a print of a cup of Folgers coffee placed on top of manhole covers in New York City. Holes on the print allow the steam to come out, and the wordings around the cup read ‘Hey City That Never Sleeps. Wake Up. Folgers.’ As I recently learned, Folgers are well-known to be innovative with its ads: always trying to do something creative and funny to attract customers and coffee consumer’s attention. This Folgers’s ad is by all means a clever way to ask for people’s attention. First of all, let’s analyze the linguistic message in this ad. The simple phrase ‘Hey city that never sleeps. Wake up’ is a direct call to New Yorkers, people who are always on the move, always in the need of being awake, in the need of caffeine. ‘Wake up’ is in the imperative form, what lays the impression that Folgers is actually giving an order to New Yorkers to wake up by having a cup of Folgers’s coffee, what, in my opinion, plays with the audience emotions as it suggests that the only way you can be awake is by having a cup of coffee, a Folgers’s cup of coffee. Not to mention that it reinforces the contemporary idea that coffee should be part of every morning’s routine as a way to keep things functioning well. Another ‘tool’ used in the ad’s text to call for people’s attention is the capitalization of all the words, and the contrasting use of white against the grey concrete. Red is used for the word ‘Folgers,’ and the general effect of red is stimulating and appetizing, that is why companies like Coca-Cola use red in their logotypes and ads. Red is also known for grabbing people’s attention and getting people to take action. In this case the action is waking up by having a Folgers’s cup of coffee. Another way to analyze this ad is by taking a look in the image and what it entitles connotatively and denotatively. The image in...
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