Exercise: Deconstruction of an advertising image.

Deconstruction of an advertising image.

We live in a consumer society and are surrounded by marketing, publicity and advertising. On television, in the media, billboards, online, pushed through letter boxes etc. All vying for our attention in the hope that we will be drawn in and captured under their spell. Judith Williamson says in the introduction of her book “Decoding Advertisements”;
“Advertisements’ role is to attach meanings to products, to create identities for the goods (and service providers) they promote: a process today described as branding”.  (p.13)

p1120946What is it? This was taken from the Daily Mail weekend supplement in early October.  It is a full-page advert for ‘Multiyork’ sofas and interiors. The advert is promoting “up to 40% off” and “order now for Christmas”.



First of all I looked closely at the image itself.  What draws me in is the simplistic styling with neutral hues that are easy on the eye. Then the roaring fire offers warmth as do the hints of gold, lighting and candles. The anchor is the 40% off message and the relay is quality furnishings, something new for Christmas. The picture shows a lounge set in what appears to be a period style house, maybe a listed building with its tall multi paned sash windows, marble fireplace, high ceiling. The floor is constructed of wide wooden boards, the walls are painted in neutral shades. Shades of grey dominate the sofa, chair and rug with coordinating soft furnishings. The room is adorned with expensive looking accessories and exclusive, on trend works of art. Next to the sofa is a small table with more decorative vases and candle holders. There is a gold coloured metal waste basket utilised as a newspaper/magazine rack. The ‘basket’ is resting on a collection of glossy ‘coffee table’ books, another book lies in juxtaposition on the sofa. Next to the chair is a tray holding a gold effect coffee pot and elegant cup and saucer – not something that would present in the average home!
Referring to Judith Williamson’s ideology  of connecting an object with an object; the golds all link together to form a triangle – coffee pot, basket, lamp and tray on the mantle piece. The golden glow of the fire ties it all together. The only links to our ordinary world are portrayed by the view through the window to the familiar nature of outside world and the comfort of the fire. We are transported into the ideal world of luxury as the eye picks up the gold tones and the comfort message from the furnishings and fireplace. The brand name lettering is also gold.
What does it say about the product? For me the image evokes opulence and quality. The artwork, ornaments and the gold coloured objects imply these products are for the discerning customer.  It speaks of cosiness, comfort and luxury. The wording at the bottom of the advert implies that it may be affordable thanks to the “up to” 40% off and tempts us with the opportunity to have a new sofa in time for Christmas.

Williamson, J. (2010). Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising. Marion Boyars. London.