Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S III
Advertising has virtually shaped the way mobile technologies are promoted and commercialized to targeted consumers. Advertising is dominantly used to shape the perceptions and thoughts of individuals in relation to a given product (Lacey 1998, p. 56). This is the platform that written, audio and visual adverts of Samsung Galaxy S III have adopted. Samsung Galaxy S III adverts have adopted certain distinguished features of media literacy that help them in attracting the current generation of consumers who are opting for digital and business-centric smart phones. The distinguished features of media literacy adopted by the smart phone are framed in a way that they persuade consumers to buy the Samsung Galaxy S III. According to this Samsung Galaxy S III adverts, the essay will argue that the use of hidden languages and photographic styles have been adopted to ensure that advertising discourse, ideology, myth, preferred readings and hegemony play a vital role in the overall successfulness of the advertisements.
The increasing use of digital and information technology, as well as, media awareness are playing a crucial part in advertisement. Media literacy, therefore, becomes an integral component of all forms of media messages. According to Livingstone (2004, p.5), media literacy is the ability to create different forms of media messages that can be evaluated, accessed and analyzed. In this regard, the media messages should be structured in a way that they achieve their main goals of reaching the targeted audiences while at the same time conveying the required message. Therefore, media messages in advertisements are structured in a way that they consist of distinguished hidden languages, which are crucial in ensuring that the objectives of the advertisements are achieved (Durant & Lambrou 2009, p. 107).
Media messages in advertisements are used to convey vital and positive information on the product. The messages are used to convey information on the strengths of the products that consumers are required to know (Durant & Lambrou 2009, p. 93). The consumers are informed of the manufacturer of the product, their availability and where to find them. Adverts initially provides information about products that do not make concrete meaning, but possess the power to connect with the targeted audiences as it is passed from one feature to another. These features follow semiotic approaches that are based on signs and languages, which the audiences can easily connect to.
The semiotic approach used in relaying media messages through advertisements concentrate on images and languages that can make the audiences literally learn the meaning of the product being advertised (Lacey 1998, p. 58). In this regard, advertisements, especially the ones promoting a new product have a preexisting belief that the product has no significant meaning to the audience prior to the advertisement. The adverts then become crucial in producing and reproducing the ideological supremacy that promotes the audiences’ awareness of the product, thus boosting sales. Saren, Maclaran, Goulding, Elliott, Shankar and Catterall (2007, p. 129) refers to this activity as product hegemony, whereby the product is promoted in such a way that it appears inevitable to the lives of every target audience.
Media messages in advertisements are significantly structured in a semiotic way that promotes the ideological ways in which individuals view themselves and their surrounding world (Van Leeuwen 2005, p.57). The ideologies used in adverts are categorized to the extent that a whole lot of different things can be relayed to the audience through the use of signs, images and short, but striking language or words. The ideological ways promotes an understanding of the product that the audience can easily connect to. The ideologies follow a discourse of using human subjects and language in producing the adverts that have effects on the audience.
The ideologies that form the integral part of the advertisements are confined in social relationships and meanings. The analysis of these ideologies should be practical to the audience to make them believe that the product will be influential in their lives (Van Leeuwen 2005, 89). Therefore, adverts are constructed based on features that promote reality through the use of ideologies, images and meanings that are construed within the adverts’ discourse, thus playing a crucial role on how the products are perceived by audiences.
Signs and images used in adverts can express meanings and make sense through frameworks that are provided by different codes. Adverts, therefore, construct ideologies within themselves by interpreting the external codes found in the society. This feature ensures that adverts are powerful as they are construed within the strings signified by the society. They are then relayed using languages, signs and images that ensure that the meanings and aims of the adverts stick in the minds of audiences. In some instances, the meanings of adverts are formed on the foundation that audiences believe that these adverts represents the reality in the society (Saren, Maclaran, Goulding, Elliott, Shankar & Catterall 2007, p. 33). This then turns out as myths, whereby the audiences perceive the adverts to represent the social world in which the products exist. Hence, adverts depend to some extent on such myths to promote products.
Semitic approaches are based on the fact that signs are defined on anything that generates meaning (Lacey 1998, p. 58). Their nature dictates that they can have many meanings. Hence, languages are formed by signs, which are construed to portray different meanings depending on the culture of the people bonded by the language. Visual and verbal structures are constructed to form meaning in certain cultures, thus referred to as communication. The adverts of Samsung Galaxy S III in prints and visuals are based on the use of signs, images and language that are carefully construed through the use of media literacy to promote the product.
Hard copy, Street and Online Advertising
According to Ciaramitaro (2011, p. 53) advertisements on magazines, billboards, televisions and online strive to create an understanding on how advertisers use media messages to lure audiences in connecting with the product. These forms of advertising involves the use of signs, images and language that give the product the reality that are relayed to the target audience depending on the society encode. The verbal and visual modes of communications adopted by the advert producers have hidden languages, thus are not accidental. The hidden languages are constructed in line with theories of moral panic, audience reception, creative industry, and long tail depending of the mode of advertising adopted and the messages that are relayed.
The meaning of signs, images and languages can be assessed through their structures and their relationship with other signs. The range of color and beauty chosen for the adverts may affect positively or negatively the way an advert is perceived. This is because colors have powerful historical and sociological connotations that can elicit certain reactions. Livingstone (2004, p.10) clearly that proper use of color can create a mood, thus helping advertisers to relay desired messages to target audiences, even without saying a word.
In critiquing a discourse analysis of Samsung Galaxy S III adverts from three different sources, it is vital to analyze the signs, images, and writings, human subjects and colors used in these adverts. It is, therefore, possible to extract the hidden languages, meanings, as well as, the messages that the adverts are relaying to the target audiences. According to Zheng and Ni (2006, p.31), many mobile consumers are shifting their attentions to smart phones, which are business-centric, have several enhanced features and are affordable. In this regard, Samsung Galaxy S III adverts target the current generation of mobile users, businessmen and the computing generation.
Hard Copy Advertising of Samsung Galaxy S III
Appendix 1 shows Samsung Galaxy S III in a magazine advert starting with large letters to draw attention to the advert (Moore, 2006). The use of large letters to prescribe the words ‘Samsung’ shows that it is a multinational company that is moving to different heights because of its product ‘Galaxy S III’. The words ‘Samsung GALAXY S III’ is the name of the product. It draws curiosity on the advert for the receivers to continue reading more about the advert. The receivers’ curiosity is aroused and they continue reading without any consciousness and their desire to learn more about the product is extended until they are persuaded to buy the product.
The meaning of the advert is derived from the font of the product’s name, as it can be done through color. According to Kress (2010, p.88), these meanings are socially derived in relation to the cultural backgrounds of the receivers. The meaning of the advert is best portrayed in the language, which goes beyond the literal meaning that are represented by the image. The fonts portray the ideology behind the advert, but the image takes it to the next level by reworking and producing new meanings. The advert producers attract the audience by placing a bigger image of the smart phone on the centre.
The tagline designed for human beings placed beneath the product’s name is the most attractive part of the advert. It literally depicts that the smart phone is designed for human use. However, all phones are manufactured for human use (Zheng & Ni 2006, p.48). The tagline is intelligently placed to show the readers that the phone understands the users, so the users will be pleased with this technology unlike other phones that require the user to learn how to use the phones. It is placed directly underneath the product’s name. This is because the product’s name is a preferred reading that every receiver will have to read, thus ending up reading the tagline without any conscious. Discourse is better emphasized in this advert through the placement of the advert in the centre, as well as, subsequent images that clearly shows that advert producers prefer the use of images to language.
Differently, the words inspired by nature are handwritten below the centre picture to portray that the phone is eco-friendly and the nature itself define phone. This is at the backdrop of Samsung’s vision to make the world a better place. This comes out to be a myth that receivers might think that every technological innovation is carried out to make the world a better place. These sentiments are echoed by Ciaramitaro (2011, p. 47) that mobile phones are one piece of technology that almost every individual will own, despite certain flaws found within the gadgets.
Online Advertising on YouTube
The features that are found in smart phones are structured in a multifunctional way that they attract almost all mobile phone users (Zheng & Ni 2006, p. 39). For this reason, the adverts found on YouTube and televisions present the Samsung Galaxy S III as a first class smart phone that makes one become the best and hang out only with the best. The phones are portrayed to understand all components of the user by understanding the user’s schedule, music preferences and personal information (Ciaramitaro 2011, p. 54). In this regard, Samsung Galaxy S III is based upon the theory of creative industry, whereby creativity is involved to provide only the best to the consumers.
Human subjects in the adverts are shown jumping in joy after a wedding to denote the connotation that the phone is associated with beautiful people who are happy in the lives. This sends out a positive connotation that the phone is for beautiful, youthful and happy people. Therefore, it sends a moral panic to the audience that lacking a Samsung Galaxy S III is not socially accepted, thus one would be categorized as leading an unfulfilling life. The tagline it understands you is portrayed in the backdrop of a white color. Relating to the rainbow, all colors have to be combined to produce color white, which in this sense follows the long tail theory that Samsung Galaxy S III is the combination of all smart phone technologies.
In another YouTube advert, a famous individual (i.e. David Beckham) is used in advertising Samsung Galaxy S III. This advert is used to construct a relationship between human beings and the smart phone. Beckham is recognized for his sporting abilities, as well as, his ambassadorial activities. Beckham is a celebrity; therefore, using him to endorse the phone makes the phone to appear reliable. The advert is carried out at the backdrop of the Olympic game partnering with Samsung Galaxy S III to promote a global awareness through the Olympic events, as well as, David Beckham as a celebrity (You Tube, 2012 a). This advert is based on the myth that products associated with an iconic figure such as David Beckham is reliable.
The hegemony that are used to advertise smart phones is based on the ideology that possessing a smart phone makes one classy and happy in life (Zheng & Ni 2006, p. 41, Ciaramitaro 2011, p. 60). This might be the case considering the technological advancements that are associated with smart phones. However, it is not fully proved that this is the case. Therefore, adverts producers only use such codes to persuade the consumers into buying Samsung Galaxy S III and boosting sales. Possessing a Samsung Galaxy S III does not necessarily amount to happiness.
The application of media literacy in advertising through the use of signs, images and language, combined with media literacy theories enable advertisers to effectively communicate with the target audiences. This becomes vital in popularizing the product among target audiences and achieves an ever-lasting selling platform. The ability of incorporating discourse, ideology, preferred readings and other semiotic approaches enables an advert to amount to a comprehensive social meaning that make sense to the consumers. The Samsung Galaxy S III adverts apply the use of signs, images, colors and words among other semiotic descriptions to ensure that the consumers easily connect to the product.
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Moore, C., 2006. The amazing Samsung Galaxy S III Ad, (Online) http://ira4arch.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/the-amazing-samsung-galaxy-s-iii-ad/ (accessed 2 September, 2012).
Saren, M., Maclaran, P., Goulding, C., Elliott, R., Shankar, A. and Catterall, M. 2007. Critical marketing. Defining the field. Elsevier, Oxford.
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You Tube, 2012. Samsung Galaxy S III commercial - London 2012 Olympic Games TVC,
(Online) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6jnUAoV0_s (accessed 5 Semptember,
Zheng, P. & Ni, L. M. 2006. Smart phone and next generation mobile computing. Elsevier, San
Appendix 1. Moore, C., 2006. The amazing Samsung Galaxy S III Ad, (Online) http://ira4arch.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/the-amazing-samsung-galaxy-s-iii-ad/ (accessed 2 September 2012).