Three brilliant adverts. ‘Other’ blog submission 260MC

Honda Accord (circa 2004)

This is my favourite advert of all time. Honda are well known for extraordinary ad campaigns and this is probably their most famous. It really was filmed in one take and this only adds to the magic.

If we are to pull it apart a little and try to understand why Honda made this particular advert in this particular way we begin to realise just how clever it is. Connotation is so important in advertising, an ad campaign is always trying to alter and fine tune the connotations their brand has. Here they are trying to engineer the thoughts people associate with their cars. The only line of dialogue is ‘Isn’t it great when things just work’ which of course fits perfectly with the denotation of the advert which is a beautifully designed piece of performance art that works so perfectly it at points defies belief. The denotation of the ad helps to fuel the connotations of great design and reliability. The signifier is the physicality of the advert, literally the pieces moving together to finish the sequence meaning that the signified (the concept the signifier refers to) is Honda’s flawless design and attention to detail, which is exactly what they want the customer to think.

Guinness (circa 1998)

Guinness have made quite a few of the highest regarded adverts of all time, this was the first advert I really remember. It was my Gran’s favourite of all time, I remember her taping it especially so I could see it one Christmas.

The Guinness tagline is – of course- ‘Good things come to those who wait’ and all their adverts are based around this concept. This is the signified in every advertisement they make, it is always the same, the referent again is always the same, a pint of Guinness. Because Guinness have such a clear strategy, always signifying that good things come to those who wait and always using the same referent, they can start to create an ideology and craft the connotations people have of their product.

They wish to place their beer at the very top of the marketplace and everything about their advert eludes to it’s superiority. Once they have established the concept and the public understand the advertisments they are left with the freedom to create short films that are based around the theme of waiting which really gives them so much space to work. This really appeals to the semiotic theory of myth, the myth created is that good things come to those who wait, rather like Stella Artios’ ‘Reassuringly Expensive’ tagline. Once these phrases are associated with the products the myth is created, the reason you have to pay more for stella is due to quality or the reason you wait longer at the bar for a Guinness is because you are being served a superior drink.

This particular advert in their series is my favourite because of how beautifully it’s made, all of their adverts are equally clever, utilising their artificially created myth.

Cinzano (circa 1985)

Leonard Rossiter is top-to-toe funny, Rising Damp is one of my favourite sitcoms and he essentially playing Rigsby in the Cinzano advert. This advert is very different to the other two, Cinzano are very simply using Joan Collins’ and Rossiter’s skill as comedians to promote their drink. A very simple sketch such as this, achieved in twenty seconds, making people laugh and associating that feeling with Cinzano. Cinzano will forever be associated with this ad campaign. It has defined their brand.

The advert could be seen as indexical because it is a casual relation to what Cinzano stands for, good natured fun taking place within the context of a situation which was, at the time, almost exclusively for the middle to upper classes – air flight. They wish to advertise that their drink is of quality but should be associated with fun and frivolity, this shows its indexical nature.

And I have to put this Guinness one in, it’s just so brilliant and charming –


3 Responses to “Three brilliant adverts. ‘Other’ blog submission 260MC”

  1. Fantastic post. Nicely organised and with a fair amount of detailed research into semiotics. Huge fan of the Honda advert myself; my dad’s old car haha.

  2. Oh cheers Ad 🙂 .yeah it’s a brilliant Advert.

  3. Alison Le Mare Says:

    All brilliant adverts, must have seen the Cinzano one countless times but it never fails to make me laugh, the timing is perfect!

    The Honda one is in in a class of its own, a work of art. It reminds me a bit of a piece by John Cage called Water walk in which he surrounds himself with a large collection of objects, many of which are to do with water, and then “plays” the objects. It’s a fantastic and often humorous sequence of sounds, albeit with evident human direction whereas the Honda piece is a wonderfully engineered sequence of events which then just happen independently, but they share something of the same sound quality. If you can find it, it’s well worth watching.

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