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Mixed Messages in Denim: Deciphering the Semiotics in a Famous 1980 Print Advertisement - Essay Example

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Mixed Messages in Denim: Deciphering the Semiotics in a Famous 1980 Print Advertisement

Tagged with the slogan “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing,” these advertisements capitalized on using the symbolism of sex and sexuality to equal the power and attractiveness of clothing. In order to demonstrate this notion, this paper will analyze the use of symbolism and semiotics through this advertisement as well as discuss the ramifications this famous advertisement had through the public and determine what the effects of those issues had on the Calvin Klein brand. Print Advertisement Description In beginning this essay topic, the first step is to discuss the content of the advertisement itself. While by current standards the content of this advertisement is essentially mild, in the days of 1980 the image of a 15-year-old girl with a partially open shirt exposing her bare stomach and highlighting a pair of skin-tight Calvin Klein jeans was quite a shocking image (Huffington Post, 2012). When the photograph was coupled with the slogan “Nothing comes between me and my Calvin’s,” the public was obviously startled by the idea that a teenage girl was the focus of such a sexualized advertisement. With Shields being a famous and well-known actress, especially at the time she posed for this advertisement for Calvin Klein, the public was fully aware of her young age and considered this as an immense factor when taking in the overall intended message of the print advertisement. As is evident in the advertisement itself, the highly sexualized pose that the young actress is resting in is the first indicator of the purpose of the Calvin Klein jean ads. Despite the pose itself, an in-depth analysis of the symbolism and semiotics within this picture will demonstrate the intended symbols the public was meant to take from this advertisement. Symbolism Examples Within this print advertisement, there are three distinct examples of symbolism that come to the forefront as the intended message for consumers. These concepts include the symbolism of this advertisement as a catalyst for the progression of sexual influence in popular culture, the social pressures created for women due to the use of over-sexualized nature of advertisements and finally the notions of clothing equaling heightened sexuality and power. Symbolism of Calvin Klein Ad Campaign as a Catalyst for Future Ads With both print ads and television commercials, the 1980 Calvin Klein jean advertisement campaign began a major, nationwide sense of symbolism in the notion that this style of advertisement campaign created such an incredible fury of popularity that it represented what the future of advertising campaigns would be. According to the featured actress herself, Shields, in a September 22, 2010 interview on the Ellen Degeneres Show for the 30th anniversary of the advertisement campaign, said that this Calvin Klein slogan and advertisement presentation was essentially one of the first of its kind. “That was one of the first times they had sort of smart and provocative television commercials” (Shields, 2010). With this realization from Shields herself, it is evident that the impact of the 1980 Calvin K ...Show more


Name Here Professor Name Here Course Name March 19, 2012 Mixed Messages in Denim: Deciphering the Semiotics in a Famous 1980 Print Advertisement According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the concept of semiotics is defined as “a general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals especially with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics” (2012)…
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Mixed Messages in Denim: Deciphering the Semiotics in a Famous 1980 Print Advertisement essay example
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