I am the discussion leader for this article so for my blog post I will provide a summary of Williamson's key points as well as some follow up questions for the class.
Williamson begins her analysis by pointing out the terms that will and will not be used in her discussion. "Content" and "form", she mentions are unhelpful to her argument because conveyors of messages are not things. These words are instead replaced with the terms "signified and signifier." The signifier is the object or physical thing we see combined with the signified which is the idea this object represents. Together they inseparably form what we are most used to as a sign.
*She also points out that there is a requirement of a targeted audience in order for this correlation to be possible. The meaning of a sign does not exist until meaning is transferred from one to the other.
The next portion Williamson talks about is how advertising has a mythological nature which is referred to as Referent Systems. Basically this means that ads take a combination of signs from "external reality" and alters them to create a different set of signs that are reflected from the product. I understood this to be how brand awareness is created-eventually we as the audiences begin to see this as a natural process most likely because it is constant and consistent.
Overall, Williamson argues that buying a product is like buying a status in the world: buying a product buys you happiness. You can not buy happiness by itself so therefore advertising provides an answer to how we can obtain it in our lives.
Also, I will give a basic overview of the four processes Williamson discusses in regards to how ads work through subjects. (These are the four processes you all used when analyzing the ad you brought in).
1. Creating the meaning of the ad can't take place without our unconscious actions that transfer meaning between signs. The ad relies on our referent systems and cultural codes to create meaning so that we can in turn interpret it.
2. We can be created by an ad or interpellated by it. Basically this means that an audience member views the subject on screen as themselves, creating a unique/ideological exchange.
3. We can also create ourselves in the ad so that we can experience someing imaginary or an illusionary feeling. We lack whatever the subject in the ad has so we therefore desire to be him/her.
4. Lastly, we take meaning from the ad after having first creating the meaning. We are forced to think about the world around us in terms of individual consumption. (In comparison to thinking about the production of the items we buy).
How effective do you think advertising is today in regards to how we interpret the meanings? Do you think the media has become too cluttered with ads?
Do you think that we can only subconsciously interpret advertisements that relate to us?
Where do you think the future of advertising is headed? How will companies continue to market to consumers in our changing world?