Roland Barthes ' Rhetoric Of The Image Essay

1497 Words Aug 10th, 2015 6 Pages
Roland Barthes’ ‘Rhetoric of the Image’ breaks down the ways in which individual signs in advertisements work. The first, linguistic message is simply the text in the advert and its literal meaning. The second, the uncoded iconic message is the tautological qualities of everything within the frame; the photograph and the objects themselves . The third, is the coded iconic message, essentially the connotative meanings of the ad that the signs work together to create. Together these messages illustrate Thomson’s idea of a rational core and a decorative periphery. Goddard suggests that advertisements have become art (Thompson, 212), therefore, one should interpret them as such, taking into account the mise-en scene of an image when analysing. However, as Barthes argues, in advertising signs are very deliberate, and emphatic, one must take this into account for an ‘optimum reading’ and understanding of an ad’s argument (Barthes, 70). Harvey Cameron Advertising Ltd’s advertising for Skellerup’s Red Band Gumboots uses multiple signs that work in concert to develop these connotative meanings; family, usefulness, durability and practicality ( The ad subscribes to a dominant mythology of nationhood often seen in New Zealand advertisements and its encoding privileges a New Zealand, cultural decoding.

The linguistic message, is important in the way that it confirms Barthes, other two messages (Barthes, 71). This is quite simply the written messages within the…

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