How women influence men in advertising – when choosing their product


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I hope our session was helpful and gave you a sense of the areas you are expected to develop in relation to your presentations and then essays. It was my intention to generate individual feedback for each group that presented this week but this would mean replicating rather similar sets of remarks. I thought therefore that it might be useful to make some general points as they apply to both groups that presented:
Both presentations and essays require a certain level of research. Here, you are expected to convey to your audience a reasonable grasp of semiotic ideas and concepts. This means going away and doing some reading, thinking about what you’ve read and then doing more reading (I’ve set out below some useful items). Don’t be afraid to quote from theorists within your presentations; you should definitely be aiming to do this in your essays.
Your interpretation of ads is important (especially in relation to connotation and myth) but do not fall into the trap of simply describing advertisements and offering a number of vague observations. Make sure that your comments show your ability to understand theoretical concepts and then deploy them in relation to your ads (rather in the way we did in today’s session). Aim to do this with clarity and confidence.
I touched on ideology (a term which will be developed next year). Although you don’t have to say much about this it might be useful to acquaint yourselves with Roland Barthes ideas about ‘bourgeois ideology’
Don’t accept semiotics as the last word on how to read and interpret signs: how have these ideas been criticized and what, if any, do you think are their weaknesses ?
Any of you who are unclear about the brief then please see the attached powerpoint; let me know if you have any questions. I hope this is helpful.
Reading
Do try to engage with some of the primary texts mentioned on the course ie
Barthes, R. (1977) ‘The Rhetoric of the Image’ in Image Music Text, Fontana Press.
Barthes, R. (1973) ‘Myth today’ in Mythologies, Granada Publishing (this is at the end of the book
Williamson, J (1978) Decoding Advertisements (London: Marion Boyers) – see pdf attached to this e-mail
In conjunction with these you might draw upon one or two secondary texts:
Fiske, J (1990) Introduction to communication studies, Routledge (London)
See also Daniel Chandler’s ‘Semiotics for beginner and my own notes on semiotics (also attached)

Assignment Brief:
This Assignment falls into two parts: an oral formative exercise followed by a written summative one. The assignment requires you to conduct an examination of how texts (words) and images signify meaning. You need to consider how best to illustrate their comparison through the use of examples, from advertising or elsewhere. You should consider, for example, the similarities and differences in the way they construct meaning, solo or in combination; their contexts of use and together); the role of evolving information technology etc. In the formative part of the assignment, you will work in pairs to present your examples and arguments to the group, through the use of visual aids.
In the written, summative, part of this assignment, you will transpose the ideas and findings from your presentation into an individual written piece of not more than 1500 words. In this piece you will refer to the theories of signification we have looked at, as proposed by writers such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Charles Sanders Peirce and Roland Barthes, illustrating how some of their ideas helped you in the process of formulating your presentation. You will include a short bibliography at the end of your essay.
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