Semiotic Analysis of 3 Magazine Advertisements

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In this modern world that allows consumers access to dozens of instances of media advertisements per day (consciously, or sub-consciously), it is important to be able to recognize and interpret advertisements on a deeper level. These advertisements are comprised of several codes and conventions that are designed to attract attention to certain attributes of a product in order to sell it to the chosen target market. One effective method of targeting and selling a product to a specific demographic is through magazine advertising. Magazines have very specific niche markets in which consumers purchase a magazine based on their individual hobbies, wants, needs, social class etc. This allows marketers to target a specific market by placing an ad in a magazine that their target consumer may purchase on a frequent basis. Magazines in many cases are gender specific; this allows advertisers to target their ads and products to a specific sex. A magazine such as Cosmopolitan is aimed at young, professional women and their advertising reflects as such, whereas, an example of a magazine aimed at males of the same age and social status is Maxim. These magazine's advertisements utilize very different codes and conventions to appeal to men or women in the gender specific text. Male magazine ads are generally power and status themed, while on the other hand women's advertisements are usually aimed at self improvement through beauty products.
Semiotics, which utilizes the analysis of signs in a societal context, is a very useful theory when dissecting various media content. Specifically, this essay will examine the usefulness of semiotics in reference to magazine advertising through the analysis of three advertisements. The use of Barthes' ideas regarding myths will also be utilized in explaining how mythic signs reinforce the dominant values of our culture in advertising (Griffin, 364). These ads will be from women's magazines aimed at young, professional women. This paper will



Cited: Cosmopolitan. (March, 2007) Hearst Communications: New York Chandler, Daniel (1997) < http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/semiotic.html> Clare, Alexander (April 20th 1998) Grossberg, Lawrence et al. (2006), Media Making: Mass Media in a Popular Culture. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Grow, Jean M., Jin Seong Park and Xiaoqi Han (2006) People (February 12, 2007). Time Inc: New York.

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