Applications, Implications and Limitations of the Semiotic Square for Analyzing Advertising Discourse and Discerning Alternative Brand Futures
University of Kassel
December 20, 2011
Signs - International Journal of Semiotics 2012, Vol.6
The semiotic square has been heralded as one of the foremost semiotic devices for analyzing multifarious textual genres, from literature to advertising to broadcast news. By virtue of its ability to account for how semio-narrative structures transform into concrete discursive structures, thus paving the way for fleshing out virtual possibilities inscribed in achronic narrative structures, it attains to translate what appears on a surface textual level as loosely connected narrative sequences into a coherent meta-text. At the same time, it manages to furnish a trajectory of alternative scenarios for streamlining future actantial possibilities of a brand’s becoming with its past by overlaying axiological frameworks and establishing complex homological equivalences, thus nurturing interpretive coherence among variable advertising executions. This paper aims to lay out the distinctive usefulness of the semiotic square as a structural platform for constructing a brand personality and projecting a user personality, as well as to compare and contrast its heuristic value vis a vis existing models in advertising development, while addressing some of its methodological limitations. Additionally, insofar as it constitutes a dynamic modeling device, over and above a static portrayal of a brand’s states-of-being, it is capable of envisioning alternative brand futures. Its applicability is discussed in the light of actual case studies, while addressing implications for the ongoing management of a brand as a living and constantly mutating text.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
JEL Classification: M31Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 7, 2012 ; Last revised: January 23, 2013
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