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The Use of Semiotics in Coco Cola's Advertising Essay

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The term ‘Semiotics’ refers to the study of signs and symbols, the relationship between written or spoken signs and of the meanings that are created. The essay will first of all try to give some definition a review of the main terminology used in the study of Semiotics and will then apply these to a series of texts, relating to advertising for Coca Cola.

The basics of Semiotics were laid down by a Swiss linguist, Ferdinand De Saussure (1857-1913). “He used the word to describe a new science which he saw as ‘a science, which studies the life of signs at the heart of social life’ [Saussure cited in Underwood] He considered that a sign had two essential elements: the signifier and the signified. A signifier is any material thing that signifies, for example, words on a page, facial expressions and image. The signified is the concept that a signifier refers to (REF). For example the letters spelling “rose” signifies a particular flower. This is “denotation” the most basic or literal meaning of a sign.

Roland Barthes extended the idea of denotation to take account of cultural connotations of signs, where what is signified also becomes a signifier (Vincent 2006). For example the connotation associated with the rose could be passion. Connotation is also related to what Barthes terms as ‘Myth’ which he discuss uses in his book “Mythologies” (1957) and he uses a semiotic approach to myth as a tool to analyse a wide range of images and activities in contemporary culture. For Barthes, “Myth is essentially a distorted representation of reality and a cultural manifestation of the class system as dominant ideas within a society tend to be those of the dominant classes” (Vincent 2006). He considers that connotation must arise fr...


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...graphic of the thumbs up sign is a indicating that it’s fine to drink the juice for its a hundred percent juice and nothing else which is connoting that it’s a top quality drink.

‘Coco-Cola and ‘Capri-Sun is both aimed at the market, with lifestyle and health issues.

As a customer and having researched the brand names ‘Coca-Cola and ‘Capri-sun’ it has been observed that; Coca-Cola ads are visually convincing and has a powerful message that connotes their product, but is deceiving to the ‘eye’, for the ingredients of added vitamins and antioxidant, its likely to be more of chemicals, than natural ingredients, however the brand name ‘Capri-Sun it’s a more of a convincing message for it denotes the use of natural fruits.

Overall the advertisement has been presented in a powerful Semiotics fashion, in a written and visual content.















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