This is an ad for Tiffany & Co. I first saw this ad in a catalog that was sent to my house, and I think it makes a good example for visual culture. This is an ad from the holiday season, so the purpose for this ad is to get women to ask for gifts from Tiffany’s for the holidays. I think it did its purpose because once people see what is inside, they will want to see the jewelry in person.  The main reason I chose this image is because I thought it was interesting that there were no linguistics, which is an idea from Barthes. This image is literally just a man and a woman, in love, walking with New York City in the background, which is the denoted image. They look very elegant, but what stands out is the blue box. There are no words that are needed to tell the audience that this is an ad for Tiffany’s because that blue box is known in our culture. The connoted image is that if you give a loved one this blue box, you will be as radiant and in love as this couple. I think this ad really gets the point of visual culture because if it were in a different part of the world, the people might never even think the blue box meant something. That one little detail is what helps the audience make sense of what the ad is. 



  1. I agree entirely Barbara that the denoted meaning is simply just an elegant man and woman in love, walking in the city. I would definitely say that the focal point of this image to me is the blue box as well. It just stands out between all of the other colors in the picture. This image is produced according to social and aesthetic conventions. As you stated, everybody associates the blue box with Tiffany’s which is the social aspect, and the aesthetic comes from the idea that Tiffany’s have always been known as a high end jewelry company that is very appealing to people that can afford it, aka people like the image itself. The signifier is the image, mainly blue box and elegant couple, and the signified is that if your significant other is presenting you with a Tiffany’s blue box than you will be as happy as the girl in the photo, thus every guy should buy this jewelry.

  2. I agree that this imagine is very interesting because it is missing the linguistic element that Barthes describes. The linguistic meaning is meant to direct your attention to the connoted meaning, but the cultural significance of the little blue box does enough to draw your attention to the connoted meaning. I also think the lack of linguistic components serves to make the ad more elegant. Tiffany’s doesn’t have to use words to portray the elegance of their product, because it speaks for itself.

  3. Not having any writing on an ad whatsoever really does make your focus go straight to the connoted meaning. The blue box is a signature marketing strategy by Tiffany’s that represents their brand. There is no linguistic meaning directly in the ad because there is no need for it. The blue box represents more than just jewelry, it represents a higher class of jewelry that consumers instantly feel a need for. The background and clothing in this ad also add to the “elegance” aspect. Being all dressed up and in the city is a sign of being financially well endowed. For the most part, we all think more expensive items are better quality. Thus, adding quality to elegance to create the blue box in the middle of the picture. The ad shows girls that Tiffany’s jewelry will make them happy, as the woman is smiling and looking back. But it also teaches guys that if you buy your girlfriend Tiffany’s you will make her happy.

  4. You all point to an important component of the image: words aren’t necessary because, within American consumer culture, the blue box itself is a signifier for jewelry from Tiffany’s. It’s a code that the viewer/reader of the magazine understands. The way that the woman looks over her shoulder to make eye contact with the viewer draws us in and also emphasizes that we understand the code. Next time in your posts and comments, I’d like to see you all incorporate more visual evidence — analyze the way color, line, and light are used to convey meaning. What makes the blue box stand out? The man clutches both the box and the woman in a similar way. What statement does that make? What effect does the blurry skyline have compared to the sharply focused foreground?

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