Analyzing Media Ideology

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Ideology is a system of beliefs that help to explain, shape, and judge the values of the world (Croteau, Hoynes, &, Milan, 2012). Roland Barthes ideology asks the audience to look at a piece of media or advertisement and accept the narrow view of society that is relayed in the media source; in other words, Barthes asks audiences to look for the denotation, connotation or the literal and sociological meanings associated with the media (Chandler, 2008). Barthes was also concerned with the analysis of myths associated with the media, or the true intentions behind the media (Chandler). The denotation, connotation, and myth of Barthes ideology as well as dominant and cultural war ideologies are evident in the famous Marlboro Man ads.

According to the course text, it is best to look at ads that are at odds with our contemporary opinions as this helps differences in assumptions to be more readily apparent (Croteau, Hoynes, &, Milan, 2012). Following this guideline an infamous ad campaign was that of the Marlboro Man (, 2011). I can remember as a child seeing the Marlboro ads on the backs of magazines. To me the denotation was always very simple. I saw a cowboy, rigid, hardworking, and smoking a cigarette. In fact as a child the cigarette was always the thing I overlooked in the picture. I was mesmerized by the cowboy, the rough, tough, free cowboy I longed to be.

The connotations of a picture are more open to interpretation because they are based on the observers age, gender, social class, race, religion, etc. (Chandler, 2008). Again, at a young age the ads signified the type of man I wanted to be. These men had no stress, they were enjoying life, riding horses, they were outdoors, and they were wealth...

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...or the ads are anything but attractive.

Works Cited

Capps, L. (2007). Poisonous in pink. Retrieved from,

CDC. (2011). Lung cancer statistics. Retrieved from,

Chandler, D. (2008). Semiotics for beginners. Retrieved from,

Croteau, D., Hoynes, W., & Milan, S. (2012). Media/society (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

NPR. (2002). The Marlboro man. Retrieved from,

Stop Smoking. (2011). Why do people smoke? Retrieved from, (2011). Ads. Retrieved from,
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