Application of Semiotics Model in Advertising: A Case Study of Louis Vuitton

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Semiotics Model代写 Semiotics has been simply defined as the study of signs and symbols and their use and significance in the context of communication.

Introduction  Semiotics Model代写

The modern marketers are using semiotics in making brand campaigns.  The semiotic analysis of the advertisement and the context of the advert help in discovering the associations and symbols that potentially help in increasing the trust the prospective buyers has on the brand. The message on the brand captures the interest and imagination of the audience.

Semiotics Model Semiotics Model代写

Semiotics has been simply defined as the study of signs and symbols and their use and significance in the context of communication. This model was used in the 20th century when the linguists Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Peirce developed the construct. Ferdinand explained that sign constitute a dyadic relationship between the signifier and signified. On the other hand, Charles believed that a triadic relationship exists between source of communication and the meaning.

Definition Semiotics Model代写

In simple terms, semiotics is how the information in the advertisement is encoded for the specific audience and how it is expected to be decoded and understood by the audience. The information is targeted to specific audience and therefore the advert creator encodes information in signs which trigger interest understanding of the message. The use of semiotics in the advertising needs deconstruction of the message to analyze the structures and how the target audience will perceive the interpretation. Semiotics Model代写**成品

The primary aim of the paper is to examine how the target audience interprets the advertisements. How the communication professionals apply semiotics in the advertising campaigns, and their limitations. To analyze semiotic model, Louis Vuitton brand will be used to know how it communicate its brand identity in the market.

Advertising Semiotics Model代写

Louis Vuitton is of the luxurious fashion companies with reputation around the world. The company makes valuable luxury brands that are ranked top in the world of fashion. Louis Vuitton is the name of a prominent French designer of 1854. The brand started as a suitcase shop in Paris. Later in life the company grew its brand lines by diversifying its market to other products. Louis used leather to make the high end products which had formed the symbol of high society. Semiotics Model代写**成品

Today, the company brand has grown to include not only leather products meant for high-end customers, but also accessories, shoes, bags, fashion, bags, watches and others. The LV is able to stand out in the international luxury market with it varieties of unique products.

Fashion Advertising and Semiotics Semiotics Model代写

The major goal of advertisement is to persuade the prospective buyers. Advertising play the roles of information conveyance and persuasion. To achieve these two roles, depends on the uniqueness of the product and the nature of the product itself. Advertising give information on the product features, qualities and capabilities, which constitute the unique selling proposition. On the other hand, persuasion creates customers’ desire and the need to feel identified with the product. Semiotics Model代写**成品

Fashion advertising is considered the most dependent on the image creation through advertising. In the fashion business, customers value the image created by the product and its appearance to the public before wearing it. To them, the image and appearance of the product become their image when they wear it. Therefore, LV creation of the brand image through semiotics targeting specific market is paramount. Identity image production media is associated with the fashion advertising.

In support of these, this paper will analyze three advertisement campaigns of Louis Vuitton brand as follows:

Fall 2013 Ad campaign

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(Fig 1)

Analysis                   Semiotics Model代写

The above campaign picture was shot by Steven Meisel.

This advert was used in the period 2013. From the shot, the four models are in a grand hotel room posing for the photo and looking seductively at the camera, represent the signifier scene. The models are characterized by varying levels of body covering and uncovering (Jacobs, 2013). Similar fifties disheveled black crops, light complexions and profound berry lips. The room is filled with feeble lighting yet glamorous which project at the models from the rear side of the shot.

The figures have an air of demure about them. Semiotics Model代写

They are ladylike with their lingerie-inspired, lace edged negligees, silk floor length slips and oversized embellished men’s coats. The muted yet sinister palette of lilacs, indigo and maroons bring a dark romantic atmosphere to the shoot. Marc Jacobs (2013) describes the individual he based his collection on as, ‘so many different women. There’s a certain decadence, she likes luxury, she’s kind of bored’.  I feel the image to be quite intimate, with the women ‘All dressed up with nowhere to go’ . Almost as if they’re waiting for something to happen or for someone to come.

The photo also has a small writing of the name of the brand which tells about the product.

The whole photo portrays glamorous and luxury with feminism empowerment. The message from the photo is that wearing it carries with it sophistication and classic fashion.

Series 4 Ad Campaign      Semiotics Model代写

The creator of this advert did not use a real person.

















The denotation of the advert is the digitally constructed figure which was modeled for the Vuitton haute couture campaign. The model used dusky pink hair, eclectic clothes, a black expression and arm stretched.


















The advert was made by a video game artist Tetsuya Normura. The theme of the Series 4 advert campaign was using reality and fantasy as one.

In all her futuristic glory, Ghesquière describes Lightning as a “genuine heroine” and explains how riveting it is to have “real reality” influenced by the virtual world.

In the released campaign images, the Japanese RPG character from “Final Fantasy XIII” models an array of fresh-off-the-runway looks, along with an iconic patchwork Go-14 handbag strapped over her shoulder.


Emma Stone Louis Vuitton Campaign Ad                   Semiotics Model代写

This advert saw Emma Stone put in the heart of California desert. There was a raw and rustic backdrop for the actress. The advert appeared as shown in the photo below



















From the advert, Stone models the house prefill collection and its signature leather Capucines bags. She made several appearances in the campaign images which were shot by Craig McDean.



Craig McDean

The campaign also has a video.

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Stone is literally the picture of cool confidence in the heat—something Louis Vuitton wanted its muse to evoke. The campaign heroine is, “daring, confident, and always on the move” the brand said in a statement. Also, she doesn’t have a drop of sweat on her, which is true magic (or Photoshop and/or blotting papers)

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Semiotics Analysis in advertising                   Semiotics Model代写

There may be cases of an award winning advertisement campaigns for how they used artistic expressions but failed to achieve the intended traction in the market. The problem which may arise is the conflict of advert message and the brand strategic positioning and identity. This leads to customers’ confusion which cause distrust because of the existence of ambiguity about the legacy and the value proposition. Semiotics Model代写**成品

The whole intension of the advertisement campaign is not to depended on a single image but how it create relationship between the brands historical legacy, the consumer culture and the competitive market. The single campaign does not stand alone. Semiotics Model代写**成品

I increasingly field requests from marketers to perform a one-hour semiotic assessment of an ad campaign or new product concept without any prior participation in their project. The strategic semiotic analysis involves comparing and contrasting the ad’s semiotic structure with a large set of ads for the category (Oswald 2012).

Semiotics    Semiotics Model代写

In a manner similar to military strategy, semioticians – those who study and understand the use and meanings of signs and symbols – assess the strategic value of any single marketing event with reference to its relationship to other players and variables in a market. The strategic function of a campaign, concept or design strategy relies entirely on the way it aligns with four intersecting contexts: the brand’s historical legacy; the competitive environment; category trends – including technology; and consumer culture. Semiotics Model代写**成品

Though the textual analysis of specific ads defines an early stage in the semiotic process, strategic semiotic research does not end there.

Respondents could not agree                  Semiotics Model代写

A case in point is an advertising study I conducted for a global coffee brand that I will reference with the pseudonym Instant Gourmet. In advertising testing, respondents could not agree on the ad’s cultural positioning (Figure 1). Was it pop art, fine art or avant-garde? Respondent perceptions were reiterated by findings from the semiotic study of the campaign that follows. (For a detailed case summary, see Oswald 2015 chapter 2.)

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The ad agency was banking on the campaign’s innovative esthetics to earn strong consumer approval. Semiotics Model代写

And so the client commissioned semiotic research to account for the campaign’s poor reception. These kinds of problems usually begin upstream in the strategic positioning process so I proposed an investigation of the campaign’s strategic semiotic relationship to the brand legacy. The competitive environment, the coffee category generally and consumer culture. The campaign is then evaluated on the basis of its potential to support and strengthen the brand’s core identity and positioning within the category. Semiotics Model代写**成品

Since strategic semiotic research identifies the dominant discourses structuring meaning and value in a product category. The data set includes a large set of ads drawn from the brand’s history. The competitive set and the coffee category generally, including all formats and price points. The data also includes the packaging designs represented in the ads.

The data analysis begins by decoding individual ads and tracing the recurrence of the codes across the data set. Semiotics Model代写

Ads are then grouped in categories based upon the similarity of their code systems. For instance, the binary “elite/popular” differentiates premium brands from mass brands and is represented by a distinct set of symbolic cues, from color to characters. The visual semiotics of each category is then matched with a corresponding value proposition, i.e., bright primary colors consistently represent mass brands; more nuanced colors consistently represent premium brands. Semiotics Model代写**成品

Usually these codes are not reserved to any particular category within food and beverage but also structure the perception of value across multiple categories, from coffee to dairy and packaged snacks.

By identifying these codes and classifications. Semiotics Model代写

The semiotician develops a set of tools for decoding and assessing specific advertising campaigns or new product concepts. In other words, though the researcher’s past experience with a category sharpens their approach to a project. The semiotician does not rely upon prior knowledge to assess the strategic strength of a marketing campaign or new product concept. They acquire this knowledge in the course of an exhaustive semiotic analysis of the brand. The category and consumer culture related to each project at a given time and in a given market.

For example, the binary “mass/premium” defines a primary value classification of coffee brands. Semiotics Model代写

Within the premium category we identified two distinct cultural positionings, gourmet and luxury (Table 1). We also identified a consistent set of signifiers for each classification. Mass brands are associated with bright primary colors, domestic settings and families; gourmet brands are associated with dark browns and greens, connoisseurship and individuals or couples; and luxury brands are associated with whites and pastels, self-indulgence and fantasy.

Compared and contrasted                   Semiotics Model代写

We began by assessing the ad’s consistency with the brand’s emotional legacy, as communicated in a set of historical ads and package designs going back 10 years. We then compared and contrasted the emotional positioning of the ad in relationship to current advertising and packaging for competitors in the instant coffee category, including Starbucks Via, Medaglia d’Oro and Nescafé. To decode the perception of value in the category, we also analyzed a broad collection of ads and packaging for all kinds of coffees across the category, including instant, brewed and espresso brands.

The semiotic analysis traces patterns in the data set formed by recurring associations between specific semiotic cues such as color. Semiotics Model代写

Shape or rhetorical style – and specific meanings. If the historical advertising consistently associated the brand with self-indulgence, for example, we expect the new campaign to support the brand’s historical positioning. If advertising and packaging for the coffee category consistently associated the colors dark green and brown with a “gourmet” positioning (i.e., connoisseurship, intellectual, etc.). We inferred that dark green and brown were signifiers for the value proposition “gourmet.” Semiotics Model代写**成品

We then codified findings from the advertising analysis by classifying by them into binary pairs by cultural category. Including sector, experience, value proposition, quality perception, mood state, gender and cultural capital. For instance, mass brands consistently use bright primary colors and practical settings to communicate their everyday, economical positioning, in contrast with the more subtle hues and sophisticated, rarefied environments used by premium brands. The analysis exposed a cultural paradigm at play in the mass brand category.

In contrast, the premium category references elite culture. Semiotics Model代写

It also includes two subcategories, gourmet and luxury. Analysis of a large set of coffee ads revealed a basic contrast between the dark green, brown and red color scheme of gourmet brands and the white and pastel color scheme of luxury brands. In fact this general color code prevailed in peripheral premium categories, from gastronomy to fashion. We expanded the “dark green-brown/white-pastel” binary into a paradigm classified by cultural category. Including sector, experience, value proposition, quality perception, mood state, gender and cultural capital. Semiotics Model代写**成品

The paradigmatic analysis reveals the deep strategic implications of a mismatched signifier for communicating the brand’s value proposition, identity and culture. Imagine trying to target the demanding, intellectual gourmet connoisseur using signifiers for the ostentatious, pleasure-seeking luxury consumer. In fact, that is precisely where the Instant Gourmet ad went awry.

Armed with the codes structuring meaning and value in the gourmet. Semiotics Model代写

Luxury and mass coffee brand categories, we were ready to assess the clarity and consistency of the messaging in the Instant Gourmet campaign. As suspected, the semiotic analysis identified three distinct code systems referencing three cultural brand positionings, including gourmet, luxury and mass brands (Figure 2). As shown in Table 2, they include the luxury code system: feminine, dreamy (the inner eye), illusion, fantasy and fashion; the Gourmet code system: masculine, rational, reality, authenticity, gastronomy; and mass code system: amateur crafts (coffee art), references to the real (the real coffee jar).

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Semiotics Model代写


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Semiotics Model代写


Lacked a clear focus                  Semiotics Model代写

In summary, the Instant Gourmet campaign failed in its strategic function because it lacked a clear focus on the brand’s core value proposition, i.e., an instant coffee with the quality and taste of a premium brewed coffee. Consumers’ responses to the ad confirm this principle. They detected ambiguity in the campaign and gave it low scores, in spite of the ad’s attention-grabbing esthetics.

One might ask how consumers, though not trained in semiotics, can detect ambiguity in a marketing campaign. 

In the same manner that humans learn language by repeated exposure to the language in daily life. Consumers learn the codes structuring meaning in a category by means of routine, lifelong experience reading packaging, advertising and merchandising in the quest to satisfy their needs. Packaging codes guide consumers through their choices at the point of purchase because they structure consistent expectations about the value and cultural positioning of the product inside. Semiotics Model代写**成品

Shoppers have learned from experience to identify processed snacks on the shelf by the bold colors and hyperbolic language on packaging. They also recognize contrasts between processed and natural snacks, with their earth tones and realistic claims. These codes define a kind of shorthand for consumers, enabling them to sort through the supermarket aisle with a quick sweep of the eyes down the supermarket aisle.

Basic truths                   Semiotics Model代写

The case study highlights basic truths about marketing semiotic research and its implications for brand value.

1. Though semioticians draw upon their expertise to design and execute a study, the specific codes and classifications structuring meaning in a product category or market emerge in the course of a meticulous analysis of a large set of data, not from the researchers’ subjective mind.

2. Though marketing semiotics uses textual analysis to decode the individual units of a data set. The semiotic study is designed to transcend the analysis of any given text and understand a campaign or new product concept in relation to the codes organizing meaning and value in a product category or market.

3. The scope of marketing semiotics is not limited to advertising research but applies to any form of marketing communication, from consumer interviews and ethnographic observations to packaging and retail design.

4. Value-driven semiotic research is not a quick and superficial process. It demands expertise and attention to detail to gather and analyze category data and distill findings into actionable strategic recommendations for branding, advertising and design.

Importance of the application of Semiotics Model in Advertising                   Semiotics Model代写

Semiotics, unlike conventional models, it delivers strategic research and analysis

Unlike conventional research, semiotics delivers strategic research and analysis that generates robust and inspirational outcomes that can be used for a range of activities from brand strategy, planning to creative development. Semiotics Model代写**成品

Semiotics can be described as the science of studying all the signs and symbols in a given culture that interact with the signs and symbols embedded in a brand, whether communications, packaging or product and shape consumer understanding. Semiotics can thus be a powerful tool to create awareness, develop brand associations and add brand values that make a difference in the market.

So, how can brands benefit from semiotics?

Semiotics leads to innovations that are rooted in lived experiences                   Semiotics Model代写

The key benefit of semiotics is that all innovation, communication/product/packaging design is rooted in the lived experience of human beings. This means any new product, brand, or communication will immediately make sense to consumers as the outcomes are derived from the culture itself.

Take the Nintendo Wii, for example. Semiotics Model代写

When we consider the semiotics of gaming culture, the development of the Wii was an inspired outcome that not only leveraged culture but also changed culture. Prior to the launch of the Wii, gaming had become synonymous with youth, masculinity and alienation. Gaming had thus become a “sign” of the “couch potatoes” and symbolised everything wrong with technological societies where human relations eventually broke down. It was also associated with the obesity panics. Gaming thus symbolised a culture of “laziness”, inactivity and therefore non-participation in society.

Nintendo used gaming and created a brand that symbolised a solution to problems associated with gaming culture. 

It combined a latent – and unarticulated need for human interaction and activity. Traditional research would have ordinarily talked to gamers who would respond by asking for more of the same. The opportunity lay in stepping outside of the gaming immersion and looking outside in. Clearly the opportunity lay in bringing the family together, enhanced community play and making people active. The solution – Wii – defined the norms of gaming, which were earlier focused on higher video resolution and action, which demanded faster processing. Wii, interestingly uses a lower video resolution and a rather clunky console and controller.

Semiotic analysis vs traditional market research                   Semiotics Model代写

Whilst traditional market research asks consumers for their opinions and behaviours, semiotics closely examines culture to uncover the underlying cultural triggers for those responses. Take, for example, black tea. Traditional market research will ask consumers about their thoughts on tea, what they like about tea, what they don’t like, what they would change. It may bring about some very interesting insights. Semiotics Model代写**成品

However, what semiotics uncovers is the cultural significance of tea. Tea drinking is a British tradition which spans the last 350 years. It signifies a way of socialising, a way of relaxing and a way of recovering from a stressful day. Tea drinking, as we know it, is deeply engrained into British culture. Even though people may take their tea in different ways, different strengths, different amounts of milk and different amounts of sugar. There is an unwritten law about tea, i.e., the leaves, and the brew itself, never change. Semiotics Model代写**成品

1HQ has worked in the area of black tea innovation and was able to advise a tea major on go and no-go areas as the cultural stakes were too high to be lost, especially when black tea constitutes 70 per cent of the UK market.

Brands can create culture rather than respond to it                    Semiotics Model代写

Another benefit of semiotics is to help brands actively create culture, rather than merely responding to it.

Brands can either be product leaders, or follower brands. Product leader brands are the trend-setters.

They reach the top of their field through radical product innovations that shape the way we think about our relationship with other objects, people or even the world. Take for example Twitter. Not only does it allow everyone to publish digitally, but it introduces an element of speed and changes the nature of communication in the online world. We are only too aware of the impact of Twitter on politics, fashion, relief efforts and even war. Semiotics Model代写**成品

It has changed the way at least a section of the world think of humanity. Red Bull, Facebook, Dyson are examples of product leader brands. Then there are brands such as Dell or Gap, which tend to be follower brands: although they are successful, their competitors have the better of them. Semiotics Model代写**成品

Semiotics can help brands shift from being followers to leaders: from responding to culture, to creating it. Firstly brands must consider the cultural environment, and whether they are creating it, or merely responding to it. If they are responding to it they must ask themselves how they can innovate to create culture to avoid being passed over

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References                   Semiotics Model代写

Phelps, N (2013) . Louis Vuitton Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear [Online] Style.Com. Available from: [Accessed: 03/06/18]

Roberts. A (2012). Louis Vuitton Tops Hermes as World’s Most Valuable Luxury Brand [Online Article] Available from: [Accessed: 03/6/18]

Lurie, A. (2000) The Language of Clothes. New York, Henry Holt.

Barnard, M. (2002) Fashion as Communication. London, Routledge.

Laura Oswald, author, Marketing Semiotics: Signs, Strategies, and Brand Value (Oxford 2012), and Creating Value: the Theory  and Practice of Marketing Semiotics Research (Oxford 2015).

Bhasis, K., 2016. How Final Fantasy Characters Infiltrated Fashion. The Business Of Fashion. Available from: [Accessed 3 June, 2018].

Oswald, Laura (2012). Marketing Semiotics: Signs, Strategies, and Brand Value. New York: Oxford University Press.

Oswald, Laura (2015). Creating Value: The Theory and Practice of Marketing Semiotics Research. New York: Oxford University Press.


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