A Semiotic Analysis
A semiotic analysis aims to unravel the social meaning formed by signs in a given text. When we are enlightened to the study of semiotics, the world will reveal itself as web of signs and a multiplicity of meanings. Our task today is to examine a mass culture text, particularly the advertisement that if scrutinized closely would expose certain societal myths (in terms of Barthes) aside from its obvious purpose of inviting a person to be a consumer of its product.The actual medium of the Sunny Soleil print advertisement is heavily anchored in photographic imagery that aims to invoke feelings of relaxation, leisure time, and summer fun.
In order to analyze this text, allow me to begin by identifying the main signs involved.According to Saussure, signs are made up of both the signifier and the signified, these two can be considered as the basic component of a mass media text, or any text for that matter. In the case of this print add, most of the signs used are iconic— however in keeping with the pluralistic nature of semiotic interpretations, we could also find them serving indexical and as a whole advertisement it can serve as a symbolic signification (Chandler).The iconic signifier, the image of Sunny Soleil Shaver, is disproportionate to the actual signified product. This allows the signifier, (repeated twice in representation) with in the print ad to provide emphasis on the signified as it relates to the activities being evoked, and in addition sends a code (if not embedding a myth) in the form of culturally desirable physical attributes associated with summer and particularly the setting of a beach. The second sign would be the woman signifies the ideal construct of the target audience, women, in their teen years up to the point wherein they can envision themselves as needing the signified for aesthetic maintenance.
The text signifiers, let the “SUNSHINE” in, contributes to the whole composition of the ad by highlighting once more the color contrast between the black and white photo and the overlap of the sun red razor image. The texts at the bottom center, are iconic the sense that they serve as descriptions to the functionality of the signified product.On a syntagmatic level, we would deduce that the organization and chosen signs of the advertisement aims to capture the activity and mood of the summer; this coincides most probably to the contextual time the ad was published. The signification system used employs color, text, and visuals in order to set forth the message of the beach, through the waves, sand, and dress code of the photograph.As we could see, the setting is hued as black and white, as a whole together with the shaver it invokes the aura of summer, at the same time the b/w effect, is also able to convey the notion of incompleteness of such activity as basking in the sun. In putting in color only the shaver, orange and the presence of some yellow, the advertisers are able to provide meaning in two ways.
First, the Soleil Shaver is called sunny due to its color scheme; the ad utilizes this in order to blend with the context of the beach, in which no day at such a place would be complete with the fun under the sun. Another view could be that, the Soleil, with the message let the sunshine in invokes the message of inviting the audience to utilize the product in order to enjoy their time at the beach. This would be applicable, since the advertisement was published for American consumers, particularly the women; since they are the one bound to shave their legs and armpits as a means of social conformity, and adherence to the norms that how they should look in the beach.On a diachronic plane of signification, we can see the various components of the Soleil ad, its color transitional scheme, font, image, and language use as a whole constitutes a signification that can be seen as feminine if we look at it with gender sensitivity. It also signifies the aim of the product to provide smoothness and flawlessness through the skin of the model and in relation to the font used for the product name “Soleil”. However, it must be noted that there is somewhat a breakage in the unity of the text due to the over-emphasis on the product, by placing its image twice on the ad, in full color.
As a result, the background photograph may loss some of the meaning it supposes to encapsulate in connection with the product itself, since there is tendency to see the product as a detached entity from the text as unit, rendering all other messages irrelevant to the perceiver. The concept may thus fail to convey something deeper than just another typical model posing for a typical product in an ad.On a synchronic level, the main feature is the image of the product itself with the addition of the “let the sunshine in” and the “sunny Soleil makes everyday brighter”, it provides the clicking point of which the message of the entire unit of the ad is synthesized to highlight the color and identity of the product it wishes to signify.I am a student who believes that one of the most important aspects of a semiotic analysis is the interpretation of what is not seen but is meant by a text. The connotative level of analysis is very important since it reveals the deeper meanings contained in our social reality; this is for Bathes’ the myths behind all the mass culture text we would encounter.
In this case, the shaver represents not only a tool for removing body hair, but also a culture whose norms consider flawlessness/smoothness of skin as a pre-requisite to getting in a bikini in an American beach. The model exhibits the ideal of what it is to have fun under the sun, but also portrays the imagery of what is body is socially normalized to reveal skin, both in texture and figure.BIC emphasizes the need to shave in order to brighten one’s day, to let the sunshine in. In looking closely, we shall see that there is a psychological code at work, in such a way that for a setting that would have as one of its social norms for women is a hairless body, then for one to have fun and move freely they would have to shave. Otherwise, as the black and white suggests, one wouldn’t feel as liberated to ride the waves and raise their arms to the sun. The legs is one of the female body parts that are erotically perceived, the less bumps and bruises you have, the more chances you have of attracting men at the beach.
BIC Soleil works with these significations to entice the American young female consumer towards shaving before basking under the beautiful summer sun.