For my semiotics assignment I chose to do an ad from BMW. In this ad we see a child model who is white, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and is wearing a red shirt. The model is at the wheel of a BMW vehicle and he looks to be very happy and intrigued by where he is. The car has a beige interior and looks to be in the wilderness as the background is full of trees. We also see the BMW logo that is in a white box on the top right side of the page and we also see the words “Joy is Impatient” written in big bold black letters on a white background. These are all explicit meanings of the ad which is what we can see. If we look at the implicit meaning of the explicit objects we see what BMW is trying to convey with their ad. One signifier is the red shirt the model is wearing. The signified red is the colour for energy which can be interpreted as only BMW cars will make you feel young and energetic and make you feel like a kid again. Red also represents power which implies that only BMWs will make you feel like you are powerful not only on the street but also in your personal life because if you have a BMW you are of higher status than others. Another implicit meaning is that the model is a boy. This suggests that boys are often impatient and often throw tantrums or over react to things they cannot have. It also suggests that boys are the ones who are into cars and girls are the ones who are into dolls and suggests that if boys show impatient emotions they will not be judged by society because they are expected to get over excited over things whereas girls are seen as brats if they show the same emotion because they are suppose to be the patient, cool headed ones. The model is happy which acts as the signifier for the signified which is that if you want your family to be happy then you need to purchase a high class car because the model looks joyful behind the wheel of a BMW. And lastly the white is the signifier for the signified which is that BMW is a luxurious and elegant brand because white represents these things. The size and simple design of the logo at the top right hand corner of the ad suggests that BMW is a classy, simple, and well designed car as shown by their sleek ad design.
The social myth that is being portrayed in this ad is the idea that you need material goods in order to achieve happiness and success. This is shown through the young model who seems to be full of joy also the words “Joy Is Impatient” that is written in the bottom left ide suggests that Joy equals a luxurious car . This implies that you need material goods in order to be succesful and happy. This is proven in the ad because the model seems to be very happy and fits the image of the perfect happy kid that you should have, and he is seen like this inside of a BMW. This can also be reinforced by the colour of the models shirt because red represents energy which ads to how energetic the model is in the readers eyes. A consequence of this message is that parents who see this ad might feel inadaquate and unsuccessful as parents because they can not luxurious things like a BMW. Also their kids might see this ad and would want to do what the kid in the ad is doing and will ask their parents if they can buy a BMW which they will say no to because they can not afford it. This leaves the parents thinking they are inadaquate and that their kid is not happy enough and the kid will feel like his family is not well-off financially and will feel unhappy because he can not be as happy as the model in the ad. It also reinforces the myth of gender roles and male dominance. In this ad we see that it is a boy at the wheel of the BMW instead of a girl. This fits in to the gender role that only boys are the ones that are into cars and girls are not. Another form of gender roles in this ad are that males are tailored to be succesful providers and females are tailored to be the ones who look pretty and take care of the household. This is shown in the ad because the model in the ad is a boy and he is sitting in a luxerious car which you can only get if you are succesful and wealthy. The model is being given a taste of what it feels like to be succesful and looks as though he is enjoying the luxurious car. This therefore suggests that he is being tailored to succeed.
During this semiotics unit we looked deeply into the decoding and hidden meaning of images. More specifically we lookes at hidden messages in print advertisements and how they influence us. This unit has been useful in helping me better understand the techniques of that advertisers use and how to read beneath the surface of ads. In the future I will be more skeptical of not just print advertisements but also commercials and even TV shows. This will be easier now because of the material learnt in this unit because before I would not think that the shape, colour, or word placement would impact the message of the ad and would usually think of the ads as being innocent and just trying to sell their product by showcasing it in a print ad. However this is not the case as we learnt that advertisers use colour, word placement, and structure to provide a hidden message that I would have otherwise missed in the past. For example for the ad that I chose I would see it as another BMW ad and wouldn’t see anything wrong with it as I like BMW’s and would like to think they are a good company. After this unit however I became more skeptical of BMW ads because of the analysis that we were asked to do for this project. Also there was many other contraversial BMW ads that I was not aware of. To help others be cautious of print ads I would try to explain to others such as my friends how all ads have a hidden message and use examples from my project and use the info we learned in class to support my examples. I believe others would be interested because it is one of the more interesting and interactive units we have in english which is why other students might also be interested like I was.
Explicit/ Denotative Observations – The model is a kid at the wheel of a BMW car.
The model is a boy
He is wearing a red shirt
Trees and wilderness in the background
The BMW logo and slogan are in a white box on the top right hand of the ad
“Joy is impatient” is written in black bold letters with a white background
The model looks excited and full of joy
Interior of car is beige
Implicit/Connotative aspects – The model is wearing a red shirt which represents energy. Which can be BMW saying that their cars will make you feel energetic, and powerful on the roads
Because the model is a boy it can suggest that boys are often impatient for things that they want. In this case the model is impatient for driving a BMW. It also suggests that boys are the ones into cars, and girls are into dolls, and dresses. It also shows how boys can show these kind of impatient emotions and won’t be judged as much by society but if girls do it they are seen as brats.
It shows that if you want to be successful and make your family happy, then the only way to do that is to own a BMW
The BMW logo and slogan are surrounded by white which displays that the BMW brand is luxurious and a symbol for elegance and power. It’s also subtle in letting you know this as it is a simple design on the top right hand of the ad which lets the viewer think that BMW is classy and well designed.
Social Myths – In this ad the social myth is the stereotype of gender roles.
Success is achieved by gaining of material needs
Material needs are the only things that can make us happy. (“Joy is Impatient”)