Every cultural activity for the semiotician leaves a trace of meaning, a kind of blip on the semiotic Richter scale, that remains for us to read, just as a geologist “reads” the earth for signs of earthquakes, volcanoes, and other geological phenomena” (Maasik & Solomon). This paper is a semiotic analysis of two advertisements with reference to aesthetics, ideology, and intended audience. The selected advertisements are for Prototype and Overlord II.
Before moving on to the actual analysis, it would be worthwhile to review the importance of such an analysis. Differences in culture, education, social status, personal outlook, and other relevant factors can result in a particular image being interpreted in various ways. Moxey is of the opinion that “semiotics makes us aware that the cultural values with which we make sense of the world are a tissue of conventions that have been handed down from generation to generation by members of the culture of which we are a part” (Moxey 61). Hence one culture may interpret an image in one way while a different culture will see it in a totally different way. An advertisement showing the picture of a man playing bagpipes and a quilt will represent Scotland to those aware of the dress and the instrument. For others, the picture will only show a man wearing a skirt and playing some sort of instrument.
In that sense, there can be a lot of ambiguity in how a picture or any other object is interpreted. This has been taken to the extreme by the paintings titled, ‘The Treachery of Images by Rene Magritte. One of the works depicts a smoker’s pipe with the caption, ‘Ceci n’ est pipe’ meaning, this is not a pipe. As Chandler writes, “as our minds struggle to find a stable, meaningful interpretation, we may not be too happy that there is no single.