Semiotics, the science of signs.

This week, I was introduced to semiotics, which is simply the science of signs. Semiotics, brought about by linguist’s Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Peirce, assesses the study of meaning and different interpretations of texts. A sign is something which can be read or interpreted. It may be constructed from words or images, in order to convey a message. In today’s society, semiotics can create much controversy, especially when in regards to the media. Often, advertising sparks controversy, as the messages behind the sign somewhat differs the message behind the sign, as interpreted by recievers.

The below image is a perfect example of a meaning of a sign being dampened by the message that the sign with holds.
*And may I begin by saying…Really Woolies? REALLY???*

6392746-1x1-340x340Background knowledge…
S0, as demonstrated on the given sign, this poster was released by Australian supermarket giant ‘Woolworths’ on the 100 year commemoration of Anzac Day.
Anzac Day is a time to remember soldiers who fought for their country and show respect and gratitude for their sacrifice. Woolworths however, on the iconic 100 year anniversary, used this day to promote their business in an attempt to gain in a commercial manner. This was a highly unethical act by Woolworths and caused much controversy.

In the above image, signifiers are the words and the images. A signifier is anything that gives meaning to text. The signifiers in this image is an image of a soldier who fought for Australia in World War 1 and is being commemorated for Anzac Day and text phrases stating “LEST WE FORGET”, “ANZAC 1915-2015”, “FRESH IN OUR MEMORIES” AND “Woolworths”. This therefore creates strong emphasis on what is signified. In a sign, what is signified is the mental concept, I.e. what is evoked among the viewer upon reception of the sign’s message. In this text, much controversy struck due to the signified effects of this sign. Woolworths’ slogan is “Woolworths, the fresh food people” which is largely why this promotion was received in such an offensive way. Society felt that Woolworths had used the term ‘Anzac’ and the connotations surrounding the meaning, in an attempt to gain commercial benefit, and hence signified many negative views/opinions and backlash.

This image can be read and interpreted in many ways, although the most common interpretation was that Woolworths was conducting unethical use of the term “Anzac” and that this was unacceptable in today’s society.

As a result of the backlash and signified effects of this image, Woolworths was forced to remove this image from promotion within hours of it’s release.

Semiotics relate to the messages sent by signs everywhere and the science behind interpretations of those signs.

Until next time, thats this week Pinned.
Emma.

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2 thoughts on “Semiotics, the science of signs.

  1. Hi Emma, i really enjoyed this blog post. I thought the structure of the post was really informative with how you began with a definition and overview of the weeks topic. I also feel you chose an appropriate controversial advertisement as an example as it backs up your quote “messages behind the sign somewhat differs the message behind the sign, as interpreted by recievers” effectively. You could also look at the colours used in the add. Consider what they could possibly portray as well as how they help to give the add meaning and create feeling. Overall, i think your writing is informative yet engeing with your audience, well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was such an interesting post! Your introduction to semiotics was very easy to understand and you outlined the key points quite clearly. I loved that you used the Woolworths example as it was such a big issue at the time and many people are familiar with it and would most likely have an opinion. Here’s a link to a website i found that contains a statement issued by Woolworths in response to the issue if you’re interested 🙂
    Overall this was a really clean and neatly structured blog post that was easy to read!

    Liked by 1 person

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