Semiotic Insight into Cosmetic Advertisements in Pakistani Print Media

Shamim Ali, Zafarullah zafar


Roland Barthes, key theorist of this study, defined semiotics as study of all signs including words, pictures, music, sound, non verbal expressions and their interrelationship. Research in hand refers to problems and research questions about understanding of denotative, connotative, deep and symbolic meanings of brand name, text, slogan, logo, picture, art work, colour scheme, linguistic and cultural changes generated by advertisements. To answer these questions, Barthes’ Semiotic Theory comprising linguistic, denotative, connotative, Coded Iconic and Non Coded Iconic Messages, was employed in semiotic analysis phase of this research. In qualitative analysis of print media ads, exploratory and interpretive research approaches were applied to investigate participants’ responses. Overall objectives of this research were focused on elaboration as well as exploration of brand name, linguistic message, logo, monogram and photographic meanings of five print media cosmetics advertisements. Moreover, all ads are based on well planned semiotic techniques to convince viewers. Present study strengthened the view that ads are basically by products of cultural norms and adherent to prevalent customs of society. Fulfillment of objectives led to contribution to existing knowledge in diversified aspects like academic, cultural, social and language change at global and indigenous levels. At global level, this work highlighted Pakistani products, cultural values, work of advertisers and their semiotic analysis


Semiotics, Coded Iconic Message, Non Coded Iconic Message, denotative, connotative, props

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