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A Semiotic analysis of a Vogue Advertisement

            Every day in our lives we are surrounded by advertisements. Even if we don't read a paper, watch television or walk around with our eyes closed, we will find it impossible to avoid some form of publicity, whether it might be the latest offer at the local supermarket or some adverts on the television. The main purpose of advertising is to sell products, but the advertisement not only sells the reader the product, but also a future image of ourselves as more desirable and happier. As the purpose of this essay I will analyse a specific advertisement in semiotic terms and techniques, and explore how meaning is constructed. .
             Through the process of being advertised, a product becomes a representation of everything the reader desires to become. "What the advertisement clearly does is thus to signify, to represent to us, the object of desire" (Williamson 1978, p. 60). It could therefore be argued that the most important concept in advertising is the notion of "me". In order to be successful, advertisements need to portray an image of "me" and tell us how to make it even more appealing, attractive, sexy etc. In this way the product is given personality, communicating not only information but also image. Due to the fact that it is through the use of the products advertised that the model signified in the advertisement appears as she does, it is the implication, or connotation, of the advertisement that the audience can become as attractive and appealing as the model by using the same products.
             For the purpose of analysing an advertisement I have chosen an advert for Louis Vuitton. The advert is taken from the magazine Vogue Australia (Oct 2002). Vogue is one of a group of magazines aimed at women from any ethnic background, aged between approximately 18-35, who have money to spend on clothes and cosmetics. Vogue Australia is internationally recognised as the fashion and beauty bible. This said, however, it is important to remember that in most cases the magazine is not only read by the purchaser but often by a variety of other readers, and that "not all the readers will belong to the group of women which the magazine targets, and some readers will be men" (Bignell 1997, p.

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