2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Consuming a Currency: A Semiotic Analysis of Sexuality in Television Advertising
James P. Myers
Mr. David Leaton, Faculty Mentor

Television advertising is one of the most persuasive and pervasive forms of communication. It envelops us with countless socially constructed signs and their systems. Sexuality is a widely used vehicle for the transfer of information from the advertisers to the consumers. This analysis explores the notion of the 'ideal female image' being attached to a product in order for the product to sell to a predetermined type of consumer. Judith Williamson calls this transfer of meaning between signs "currency." While it is well known that sex sells, this semiotic analysis of sexuality in television advertisements reveals the painstaking effort behind the creation of a 'successful' commercial by applying cinematographic elements, rhythm, and composition. Thus questions are raised that every consumer should be aware of: "Are we being manipulated by the semiotic system that we constructed?", and "Do we have any influence in changing the rules of this communicative act?"

Keywords: Semiotics, Advertising, Television, Sexuality, Ideal Female Image, Communication, Consumer, Cinematography


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 46-2
Location: MG 2050
Time: 1:30

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