I enjoyed all of the readings this week, and learned a lot more about ideologies, signs, and encoding/decoding media messages. While writing the Advertisement Analysis, I looked into the Williamson's article in more depth, and found some interesting conclusions that he made. I found that the product, or signifier, not only can be used to find meaning in the advertisement as the signified, but in many others ways we often oversee. I often can see a product being used as a generator in advertisements today. This correlates with the ideology of the advertisement. Every consumer should find a personal connection with the product being advertised, or it is not effective. A product that is used as a generator in an advertisement goes from representing an abstract feeling to actually generating and becoming that feeling. It allows the product to become more than just a sign, but a creator of the feeling in an emotional experience. The product has begun to do more than just reflexing an emotion, but enhances its effectiveness by desired feeling from the product. I think this is a very effective technique, as it pulls on our emotional sides and creates feelings of want and desire.
In discussion in class, I was able to clarify a lot of the terms in Hall article, and became more comfortable with the concepts of encoding and decoding. The idea of polysemy stood out to me a lot as something that can both help and hurt the media industry, and is applicable in almost every advertisement. For example, in a shampoo advertisement, one person might see long, luscious hair, and instantly believe that the particular shampoo was responsible for the results. However, another person might look at the advertisement, and just think it was touched-up, and not worth their money to try a new product. I think advertisements can be both successful and unsuccessful, and depends on the audience viewing it. This is way it is very important to target advertisements to certain programs and magazines with your desired age group and ideologies. There are a lot of medical and life insurance advertisements found on daytime TV, due to the large population of these programs fitting into the elderly populations. A cartoon programmed at the same time would have completely different advertisements about toys and fast food, as targeted to the typical audience. Even as advertisers specifically try to show their advertisement to the particular target audience and aspire for the dominant reading to occur, there will always be different opinions floating around, resulting in a large amount of polysemy and different messages being decoded.