Erkki Pekkilä: "Connotative Meanings and Advertising Music" (10/11)


As Fiske (1989, p.26) states, we could say that the consumer society is basically a system that does not circulate money but cultural meanings and please. From this point of view the basic function of the chewing gum commercial is to create fields of meaning. The main product in the commercial is the chewing gum, but the function is not to communicate a sales message but circulate the product with these "mythical" or connotative meanings, and this is exactly what happens to take place here. The half a minute episode contains a collection of an impressive group of flashes of the great themes of the humankind: work and leisure, war and piece, love and hatred, succeed and failure, joy and grief, young and old, men and women. This visual gallery combines in a suitable way in the product and gives the viewer mythical resonance and is open for different associations and interpretations.

The issue here is not a question of denotation (direct sign-signifier relationship) but the Barthesian connotation, indirect meanings that cannot be extracted directly from the visuals or the music, it does not make sense to analyse the surface structure of the if the aim is to unfold the meaning of the commercial. The signification does not lie in the details or their relations but behind them on a social and ideological level.

In regard with the music we must stress that the function of the music in a commercial is to be a part in a puzzle like pattern. It is one component that functions together with other features and creates a certain kind of a "myth". The music in itself does not contain any programmatic aims. The meaning is created with the common effects of music, the words and the picture and also in the social interpretation of the viewer.

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AS/SA Nº 4, Article 6 : Page 10 / 11

© 1998, AS/SA

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