Reading Assignment: Rhetoric of the Image Reflection

  • What are some of the key questions Barthes aims to investigate in the article?

a) Can analogical representation produce true systems of signs and not merely simple agglutinations of symbols?

b) Is it possible to conceive of an analogical ‘code’ (as opposed to digital ones)?

c) How does the meaning get into the image? Where does it end? And if it ends, what is there beyond?

  • What are some of the key terms/ concepts introduced and discussed?

Three Messages:

Linguistic: Images and photographs has different supports such as captions or texts. By using texts with images, it helps the audience to receive a more detailed information as to what the company is advertising. It is a support to the image as some advertisements can be lacking in their photos but with the texts, it has helped the companies get their messages and agendas across.

A coded/non-coded iconic message: Information are gathered from what is seen from the advertisement visually with no texts or words involved. Audience judge the content by being able to identify identifiable objects and then decode the message from there. Able to judge cultural/literal messages too. Literal image is denoted whereas the symbolic image is connoted. Literal images are in a pure state (unedited) and taken by cameras whereas symbolic images are created based from different artists with different styles.

  • Do you agree or disagree with his argument and point of view?

I agree with his argument as it is important how the audience are able to denote/connote the information by just looking at the advertisement without having to refer anything. Audience are also able to denote the advertisement with the help of the additional texts added. Placement of images and texts, colours, shapes and sizes also plays a major part in providing a good user experience to the audience. For example, placement of texts help guide the user to read from a direction they would want. Same goes to colour. A bright colour will mostly likely attract the attention first compared to a dimmer/dull colour. Realness of the photograph plays a big part too. Some people would refer the images to be snapped on cameras instead of it being hand-drawn or done by human as that will be less-detailed compared to capturing a shot on the camera.

  • Provide a brief analysis (200 words) on an advertisement of your choice by using the terms/ concepts proposed by Barthes and discuss the role of text and its relationship with the image in the advertisement. Please include an image the advertisement in your post.

Milo advertisement Philippines

I have chosen this Milo advertisement as an example. In here, you can see the spillage/explosion happening from the cup of Milo, which allows audience to see how this cup of Milo will give them a boost/blast of energy when they drink it. The advertisement has a consistent colour of green (Milo’s colour) which gives it a recognizable feeling when this advertisement is viewed from far. Sans Serif font is used to show a sporty side to the drink. Even the sentence “Get Champion Energy Every Day” shows how the drink is for those who are having an active day ahead and to kick-start it with a cup of Milo to give them all the energy they need. They even added in the lists of the nutrients to show the power of the drink. Lastly, an added bonus, they added in an image of a good-looking man to attract the attention of the users.


Leave a Reply