Essay about advisement analysis

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Essay #1: Advertisement Analysis

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand to Fifteen Hundred Words”

In his essay “Masters of Desire” Jack Solomon tells us that advertisements are “signs of cultural desire and consciousness.” What may look like “just show-and-tell,” he says, is in fact

a psychological strategy designed not only to inform you about products but also to persuade you to buy them by making associations between the products and certain pleasurable experiences that may have nothing to do with the product at all—like sex, or a promise of social superiority, or a simple laugh.

That is why advertisements are such good examples of what Solomon calls “the deliberate movement from objective denotation […] to subjective connotation” (SOL 158).

For your first essay, you will conduct a semiotic analysis of a current one-page product advertisement that relies mainly on images and a little text to manipulate consumers. You will interpret and explain the ways in which the ad moves from denotation to connotation, transforming things into signs. What cultural mythologies (ideologies or value systems) does the ad seek to exploit, and why is that significant? In other words, what does it say about the particular cultural moment in which it exists?


  • 1000 to 1500 words
  • 3 – 5 sources: the advertisement; two essays of your choice from Signs of Life Chapter 2; one or two additional sources (optional)
  • Works Cited page

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