Images: Advertisements with Copy (text) from a similar product / service
Image 1: Lehning Shampoo Campaign Series – Most Natural
Advertising Agency: Havas 360, Paris, France
Chief Executive Officer: Vincent Mayet
Creative Director: Thomas Derouault
Art Director: Alfred Pelamatti
Copywriter: Antoine Palle
Illustrator: Johnny Glover
An illustration of a tree with a ‘hairstyle’ is positioned centre on a green background with the copy: ‘the most natural shampoo.’ beside. In the bottom right is a product shot of the shampoo. This image is a part of a series of similar images for a campaign, but still has the same effect singularly. I have shown the series images for reference.
Firstly, it is important to establish the signs displaying the meanings and ideologies in this image. It can be said that the tree is a signifier for the signified hair and product, as well as the body copy itself (the most natural shampoo) acting as another signifier for further clarification of the intended meaning. The whole illustration is considered an ‘icon’ – a direct representation of a tree and hair separately – although they have been combined to associate meanings.
The tree (signifier) has an associated index of ‘nature and organic’ and it projects this inherent relationship onto the signified hair which has been stylised to represent the leaves of the tree – also known as ‘connotive’ semiotics. By signifying that the ‘hair’ of the tree is ‘natural’ from the symbolic meaning of a tree it can be derived that the ad is intending that the ‘hair’ on the tree is natural and organic and that you can achieve these results from using the displayed shampoo.
This advertisement is displayed as a conceptual representation (not narrative) with the illustration displayed symmetrically in the centre on a plain background. There is no storyline being followed and no vectors to lead the eye in a certain manner. It is purely conceptual and uses iconographic illustration to deliver its intended information and create a symbolic representation. The image is displayed on an equal eye level to the viewer in the centre of the page, inferencing that the product is equal to the user and is the centre of attention.
The product shot is placed intentionally in the bottom right corner to communicate that the product is the ‘new’ shampoo product to be desired. It is also placed there to follow the traditional ‘Z’ reading style of western audiences. The image has a low modality as it is an unrealistic pencil illustration – hair can’t grow on trees.
Image 2: Garnier Fructus: Make It Irresistible Shampoo
Advertising Agency: Publicis, Santiago, Chile
Creative Directors: Rodrigo Figueroa, Kote Kaid
Art Directors: Francisco Seisdedos, Claudio Ureta
Copywriters: Kote Kaid, Francisco De Diego
The advertisement features a close up shot of a man from his eyes upwards, focussing on his long, curly hair. Entwined in his hair sits a pair of red heels with a ‘SALE’ label attached. In the top right corner the product package shot is shown with the words ‘Make It Irresistible’. This image is a part of a series campaign and I have shown the other images for reference.
The indicated signifiers in this image include the shoes placed on top of the man’s head, the sale sign, facial expression as well as the copy text surrounding the product placement reading: ‘make it irresistible’. The elements that are being signified is the hairstyle and product itself. These signs are read in a particular order by the viewer to create a paradigmatic relationship. The copy text ‘make it irresistible’ acts as a signifier for both the shoes placed on top of the man’s head as well as the man’s hair. This signified hair then also acts as a signifier for the product shot itself.
There is a denotive relationship between the copy text and the sale shoes with the copy text acting as anchorage for the meaning of the shoes in the image. The term ‘make it irresistible’ gives an inherent relationship to the sale shoes, narrowing down the meaning and communicating that ‘sales’ are typically irresistible. There is a symbolic relationship between the sale shoes and the man’s hair entwined in the shoes. The intention of this is to inference that the man’s hair is irresistible because he is using the Garnier product.
This image is also conceptual and does not follow a storyline or narrative for the user to read – it is purely symbolic.
The man’s expression and eye direction represents an interactive meaning – the raised eyebrows and wide eyes looking to the side of the image indicate a sense of wonder, excitement and surprise. The inclusion of the eyes in the image adds power to the image and captures the attention of the viewer – it would not be nearly as powerful if the expression and eyes were not included in the shot. The distance of the shot also emphasises this power with the shot being close and intimate with the viewer. The man’s eye level is just below the horizon line of the image, but is still front on to the viewer indicating an equality between the viewer and the model. This equality allows viewers to imagine themselves in the same position as it is easier for them to associate.
The position of the product shot is off to the right of the image – indicating that it is the new desired shampoo. The framing of the image also adds to it’s effectiveness with the cut off just underneath the man’s eyes most of his features are hidden. This disconnected composition again allows the viewer to see themselves in the same position as they can fill in the gaps with their own imagination. This personification is also amplified by the high natural modality of the image.
Comparison of Images:
Both of these advertisements use similar methods to give a particular meaning to their products by using signifiers to their advantage. In both images, the product is being related to a normally unrelated theme or symbol. The main difference is the use of high modality and low modality images and the different effect this has on the viewer. It can be argued by using a person in the image that the chance of attention is higher as viewers are more inclined to actively take note of the image. Although with this being said, I still find the symbolism associated with the Lehning Shampoo advertisements to be a unique and powerful way to associate the two separate elements.
Relation to my Own Work:
As I study advertising in my Business degree I am often de-constructing advertisements to dig out the meanings and how the creative’s developed their big idea. I have found that this subject has especially helped me in understanding the finite details in advertisements which manipulate us into associating certain elements in an image. In particular signs and signifiers will be further used in my Advertising Copywriting subject for me to create my ‘Big Ideas’ for our campaign brief and relate two previously unrelated themes. Compositional meanings is also just as important to my advertising subjects as I never previously could explicitly state that placing an element on a certain part of an image means different things (information value). The use of demand and offer in eye contact is also especially interesting to how I will design my ads in the future to gain optimum attention.