Media Influences on Public Opinion

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Media Influences on Public Opinion:
Cars and the Ideology of their Advertisements

Advertising messages are everywhere. We see them in our morning newspapers, on the billboards we see on our way to work, and even in the magazines we read. They are impossible to miss and we are constantly influenced by their messages even when we do not realize it. One such message was in this month’s Cosmopolitan magazine. The advertisement attempts to persuade the reader to buy a 2013 Ford Escape. The words and the pictures in the ad are innocent enough at first glance, but it is important for a reader to consider what can be construed from taking in more than the literal message found there. The message contains denotations, connotations and a dominant ideology that is important to consider when one attempts to make sense of the true effect of today’s advertising on society. Ford’s advertisement features three different shaped and sized photos. The first picture captures the inside of the vehicle from the rear view. It depicts a large, clean and well lighted interior space. The second picture is taken along what appears to be a country road with trees and mountains. The sun is rising just above the trees and is shining right into the camera, causing the eye to be drawn to its rays. The third and biggest picture shows a Ford Escape parked in front of a very large and modern home. There is a young, white woman with her hands full swiping her foot under the rear of the car. The quote on the page reads “Your foot just got a lot more handy… Perfect for those times when you’ve got your hands full. Another reason to check out the stylishly capable, tech-savvy totally reimagined 2012 Escape. It’s ready for anything. Ford Go Further.” (Cosmopolitan, 2012). Denotation is described as the literal or obvious meaning of a sign (Chander, 2008). These are messages that would be understood by anyone who is from any culture or any time. The literal meanings in this advertisement are easy to...
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