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COMM 2500 - 002

INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION STUDIES


SEMIOTIC ANALYIS ASSIGNMENT

STEPHANIE STOBART

NOVEMBER 17, 2011

The pursuit and day in day out acquisition of knowledge provides us with the comfort that we are happily progressing through life. Beginning almost upon the level of the lowest, he [man] has ascended above all animated nature; and, by his creative powers and intellectual accumulation, aspires to association with the gods.1 Diesel a high-end mainstream clothing brand disagrees with the current reputation of Smart and has instead accepted an alternate paradigm of thinking. They are in fact convinced instead that the relentless pursuit of a regret free life lies with Stupid instead of Smart.

Through a hyper sexualized advertising campaign they attempt to convince us that there common belief is that only stupid can be truly brilliant2 Each print advertisement features a variety of scantily clad youth

photographed in compromising positions or suggestive actions. Overlaid on the photograph in all caps is a quotation relating a comparison to Smart vs. Stupid. An example of a few direct quotations include, Smart Critiques, Stupid Creates, Smart May Have the Brains, But Stupid Has The Balls, Smart Listens to the Head, Stupid Listens to the Heart. Through the use of metaphors Diesel attempts to blatently show us what stupid looks like and attempt to offer understanding by offering a direct comparison to smart through text.

Through Barthes semiotic analyisis the underlying representations of this advertisements become apparent.

The signifier in this series of advertisements is the magazine ads themselves although Diesel has also instilled the use of other mediums such as installations, billboards, video advertisements and a sponsorship campaign for deemed stupid projects The consistency within each advertisement relies on the portrayal of young, healthy, white individuals, dressed in Diesel clothing portrayed in tantalizing positions partaking in so called stupid acts. The style of photography suggests a candid atmosphere, attempting to portray an un staged casual environment. The text is colorful, bold and capitalized and often is vertically aligned alongside the photograph. There is

an overtly obvious sexual theme that is amplified through facial expressions, exposure of body parts, body language and boy/girl relationships within each advertisement.

Through Barthes semiotic analysis the underlying representations of this advertisements become apparent. The message that is being signified with the sign is that Diesel is a brand that directly corresponds with youth and alternative culture. By aligning themselves and their brand with culture that opposed the mainstream they promote their credibility within this niche market. Diesel has always been associated with high-end street wear culture that attempts to appeal to the youth population despite the fact that their clothes are above the majority of this particular populations affordability. For this specific ad campaign they are reinforcing their current image of street cool and a tongue in cheek attitude towards what is commonly known to the majority as the mainstream. By using irony in their message regarding their definition of stupid and using the word with a positive connotation.

The connotative meaning of this message is that Deisel Although this seems to be against common belief it plays into the uprising of youth establishing themselves as separate entities as individuals.

Diesel the brand is the signified as this is their ad campaign and they are obviously trying to express themselves in a certain light and interpretation separate from everyone else.