Wonderstruck

Image

 

Believe it or not, this ad is one that is intended to sell perfume.  According to Barthes, there are three ways to examine an image.  The first is linguistics.  Surprisingly, in this advertisement, there is nothing written in text to indicate to the viewer that the desired outcome is for you to purchase a bottle of perfume.  The only words that are on the page are the name of the perfume, Taylor Swift, and “the beginning of something magical.”  The viewer sees (the denoted image) a purple bottle that is obviously out of proportion to the ad, a woman (Taylor Swift) in a ball gown, and a forest that somehow has chandlers hanging from trees.   Both the denoted and linguistic images deeply contribute to our understanding of the connoted image.  In this ad, perfume is not the only thing being sold.  Instead, the advertiser is attempting to sell the viewer a lifestyle.  The life that is promised in this ad is one of magic and enchantment.  As absurd as it sounds, viewers are supposed to believe that if they purchase this perfume, they will be like pop sensation icon Taylor Swift and live a fairytale life.  The quote enhances this idea simply telling the viewer what they will get if they purchase this bottle.  Delving deeper into this, the life of a princess is one that is filled with men constantly attempting to get your attention, beautiful clothes, and a beautiful appearance which could all be “acquired” if you simply buy the perfume. 

After all, we know that buying a bottle of perfume won’t make you a princess, won’t make you fall in love, or won’t make women fall out of the sky (Axe).  Yet, for some reason this has become the main method of selling viewers on perfume.  Personally, if I see an unbelievably good looking couple on a stunning beach, I know exactly what the ad is selling, because naturally, those things all lead to perfume.  

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2 comments

  1. Sofia points out the three ways to examine an image according to Barthes and I think that is a great way to start analyzing the Wonderstuck perfume advertisement. Sofia mentions that Taylor Swift uses little linguistics in her advertisement. I agree and want to extend on why I think there is little use of words. Swift doesn’t use much linguistics in this ad because she is a celebrity who speaks for herself. She is able to sell her product simply by posing next to it.
    She also sells her product through Barthes concept of the visual rhetoric. She relies strongly on an image that emphases strong cultural meaning. She knows her target audience is for females who want to look and smell the best due to the cultural pressures in society. This advertisement achieves this through setting up a fairy tale setting as Sofia describes. Swift may be in the forest, but she is still glamorous. She is selling her product to females with the message that you can look just as glamorous as her no matter where you are if you use the Wonderstruck perfume.

  2. Sofia and Kelly both make good use of Barthes’ method to analyze the image. Next time delve deeper into what you see to make your arguments. What effect does enlarging the scale of the perfume bottle have on our understanding of the image? I’m struck by Swift’s dress and how it makes her look both like an exotic flower in the forest and like a fourth chandelier. It allows the setting of the advertisement to be both an enchanted forest and a ballroom where a princess might meet her prince. I like Kelly’s point that Swift, with her celebrity persona, is a kind of icon or sign that brings with it a host of associations — innocence, purity, beauty, authenticity — that all contribute to the meaning of the advertisement.

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