An important concept in promotion is semiotics, or the study of meaning and meaning producing events. An understanding of semiotics can help you not only to identify objects (denota tion) but also to grasp the utility of images and associations (connotation). By manipulating connotations of objects in advertising, you can create, change, or reinforce images for products. Thus, semiotics is a powerful tool for brand management and promotion.24 1. Make a list of ten images and associations that come to mind for each of the following items: baseball, vinyl record album, spoon, rubber band. 2. Look through magazines and see if you can find print advertisements that include each of the items (baseball, vinyl record album, spoon, rubber band) in a supporting role. What seems to be the message of each ad? How does the item help create or reinforce an image for the product being sold in the ad? 3. Think of an everyday object of your own. What are its likely connotations? For example, a dog in a car might signal a family vehicle, but a dog also connotes loyalty, “man’s best friend,” and dependability. What images and associations are likely with your item? Make a list of as many as you can. 4. Now use your object and list of associations to create an image for another product. Think of the likely connotations your object will have for a certain target market and how such connotations can support a brand image. For example, if your everyday object is a candle, you might choose lingerie for your product, based on a candle’s romantic connotations.
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