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An Advertisement Textual Analysis Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Dec 27th, 2021


Semiotics has not been broadly considered as a discipline in the academic field. However, it exists as a department in assorted universities. Semiotics is actually a field study which encompasses varied theoretical standpoints (Chandler, p. 4). The term semiotics is the philosophical uses of signs symbols. It is a way of screening any phenomenon with regards to its construction and how it functions in away similar to language. It involves the use of sign systems. The use of semiotic approach is due to the fact that all cultural phenomena exhibit some meaning (Hall, p. 36).

Analysis of Advertisement by Living Sea Aquarium (year 2010)

The video advert is of an aquarium dabbed “Living Sea Aquarium”. The advert starts by an introduction; the character used in doing the advert introduces himself as Mike and he goes further to explain the different kinds of fish that the “Living Sea Aquarium” specializes in. The importance of the introduction is to familiarize the viewer with the person doing the advert. This seems to be intended to make the viewer to trust the person explaining the products of the company since, after introduction, the viewers are now familiar with the human figure in the advert.

The aquarium looks more like a true sea. The sea has a variety of fish in it; this is mirrored by the aquarium which actually looks like a small sea. The way the fish move in the aquarium, the structure of the aquarium and the presence of stones and stones within the aquarium give the notion of a real sea. It is important to note that this notion reinforced by fact that there are certain species of fish found only in the sea or ocean; this makes it easy to identify the aquarium as a “sea” or “ocean” rather than a lake. Such fish that are only associated with a sea or an ocean are the angel fish, coral reefs, and shoe-fish.

The perception of the aquarium by the audience is facilitated by the name of the aquarium (The Living Sea). The name is very appropriate for the aquarium in the sense that it makes the aquarium to be a microcosm of a sea; though the advert only emphasizes on the natural side of the sea; it has succeeded in creating the picture of a sea within a small area in the movie.

The narrator represents the Living Sea Aquarium; he starts by introducing himself while at the background, right behind him, the images of the aquarium are vividly displayed. This gives the viewer or the audience a chance to quickly comprehend the advert. Moreover, before the rest of the advert is shown, the narrator gives a brief introduction of what the aquarium deals in; this raises the curiosity of the viewer and therefore, this stick and pay great attention to the whole advert. In this way, the advert achieves its objectives of convincing the audience that it has all what people go to see in the sea.

The advert is about the aquarium and the kinds of fish and other sea creatures found in it, however, the presence of the narrator is very strategic in the flow of the whole advert. Taking for instance, were the advert to run alone, the whole of it would not have been easily comprehended. Therefore, the presence of the narrator is to give a sound effect to the advert so as to avoid varied interpretations by the audience, some of which may possibly clash with real intention of the whole advert. So throughout the advert, the narrator plays the responsibility of linking the advert and the audience; he plays the role of the mediator and guides how the audience should perceive the advert as a whole. It is then, important to note that the fear by the company about the audience misinterpreting the advert has made the audience to lose the freedom of having personal interpretation of the advert.

Culturally, smile and lightened face have the power of attraction; it helps the audience to stay and watch the advert. It can be said, therefore, that the narrator has to put a smile so as to impress the audience and hence achieve the effect of gluing the audience to the advert until the end.

The intention of the advert is to attract as many individuals as possible to consider going to view the products of the aquarium. In this case, the aquarium is compared to the real sea in which the aquarium purports to offer an alternative to the viewers. More interestingly, the aquarium is situated in a building within a main town where it can easily be accessed by many potential customers with interests.

The advert contrasts the Aquarium and the real sea. Evident from the advert is that the company presents its aquarium as safe and convenience; it is devoid of dangerous animals like the crocodiles and other dangerous animals associated with sea. Furthermore, it is easily accessible within the city town.

The aquarium also gives a connotation that it can offer to the audience more than what the real sea can offer in its natural circumstances. Normally, it is impossible to see what lie within the sea and in fact it is practically impossible to see how fish and other sea creatures move deep within the water. The advert portrays the sea as being able to offer this and therefore appears as the only option for such an interesting scenery; of cause, as Williams (pp.38-48) explains, the advert is full of unrealities since in its nature it cannot by any means be compared to the real sea. The walls of the aquarium are built using transparent glasses hence enabling the audience to see the bottom of the sea and aquatic plants that grow within the sea. In view of this, it can be interpreted that the advert shows that the aquarium is more than going to the sea to see the features which are highly likely unavailable to be seen. For instance, the aquarium shows how the flows of the sea looks like; this can only be seen in the real sea by the divers who are able to dive deep into the sea, but what about the ordinary people who cannot dive? The advert seems to convince such people that the aquarium exists for them.

The setting of the advert is in place that is far removed from near the sea or ocean. It is like the aquarium brings the “sea” close to those who cannot access the sea or are not able to see certain creatures which are hard to see in the sea. However, it is good to note that the presentation of the aquarium as a sea is just a deception meant to win the interest of the audience. The fact is that it is not easy, if not totally impossible, to create a sea in a town where it has never existed.

The advert portrays the aquarium to represent cultural changes in the society. Traditionally, the kind of fish and other creatures found in the aquarium can only be seen in the sea and other natural water bodies, however, the society is changing and instead of going waiting to travel to the seas shore to watch the creatures, people can see them in the aquarium where they are displayed in transparent glass walls; the glass walls makes it possible to view the creatures at close range.

The content of the advert as a whole have varying effects in the minds of the viewers; the animated images of the fish, and the beauty of the vegetation and arrangement of stone that gives the aquarium a true picture of the sea is very interesting and looks real yet it is artificial. This also creates the notion that the society is actually becoming artificial as the members seek convenience in matters of their interest. The whole society is affected in this respect since the advert has no specific target audience; this means that it targets all members of the society who can afford to visit the aquarium.

The theme of the advert creates conflict between the proponents of aquarium and those of the sea. It is important to note that those who operate sceneries at the sea would not like their customers to be attracted by the artificial sceneries, but this is the mission as represented by the advert. So, definitely a social conflict is already created and is likely to go on as long as both exist.

Towards the end of the advert, the narrator explains what the visitors to the aquarium can do; like the feeding programs that take place in given days. The advert ends with the address that can be used to get more information. This means that even the company is aware that it cannot answer the query of every audience nor provide exhaustive information about the Living Sea. After the end of the advert, the audience is left to consider as a personal failure where he or she does not visit the aquarium to experience the nature of the “sea”. This is clearly debunked by the ideas of Strinati (p.28)


The advert had several elements of semiotics which came out in details as the advert progressed to the end. Even though it moves so fast and short, and also in some instances it is almost impossible to give instant interpretation of some codes and signs, little attention is given to proper interpretation of signs and codes thereby missing the important components of the advert (Goldman and Papson pp.1-3). The narrator may have been useful, but not all questions that go on in the mind of the viewer are adequately answered. The advert has managed to bring the company’s belief that individuals should watch sea animals in the aquarium instead of going to the sea, even though the aquarium does not represent the sea in its entirety.

The company gives the impression that watching the sea creatures can only be achieved by visiting the Living Sea Aquarium. However, this tends to contradict the belief of the company since the audience can visit any aquarium and still see the sea creatures. This therefore, makes the use of different kinds of fish in the advert look irrelevant.

Works Cited

  1. Chandler, Daniel. “Semiotics: the basics.” The Basics Series. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.
  2. Goldman, Robert and Papson, Stephen. “Sign wars: the cluttered landscape of advertising.” Critical perspectives. New York: Guilford Press, 1996.
  3. Hall, Stuart. “Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices.” Volume 2 of Culture, media and identities. London: SAGE and Open University Press, 1997.
  4. Strinati, Dominic. “An introduction to studying popular culture.” London and New York: Routledge, 2000.
  5. Williamson, Judith. “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising.” London: Marion Boyars, 1978.
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