What do you see?

Hey guys,

It’s me again!

When thinking about media advertisements it’s easy to see exactly what the creators of the ads want us to. It is important to more deeply analyse the advertisements that are being repetitively shown to us on our television screens, computers, tablets, smartphones etc. and decode them in ways that are relevant and appropriate to the message.


Photo Cred: 
Advertising Agency: Fórmula Communicação, Florianópolis, Brazil
Creative Director: José Raimundo Padilha
Art Directors: Gustavo Menyou, Tiago Ilha Zuccolo
Copywriters: José Raimundo Padilha, Marlon de Barros
Photographer: Marcelo Nunes
Published: May 2009

I chose this particular advertisement because the issue of advertising and encouraging the use of cigarettes has been an issue in the media for many years. Smoking can prove very dangerous to both the smoker and the people who are unintentionally passive smoking, hence the caption of this image.



When analysing this image it is important to look at the semiotics: the science of sign, to be able to understand it’s connotations and denotations. The connotations are the feelings or ideas that something provokes, and upon initially viewing I was shocked and somewhat disgusted at the thought of someone literally eating a cigarette. The denotations of this are the literal or primary meaning, which is the fact that this woman pictured is eating a hamburger filled with cigarettes. What is trying to be said by the composer of the image is the danger and harm of second hand (passive) smoking. She isn’t physically smoking the cigarette which is how it is intended to be consumed, but is still receiving the harmful chemicals and toxins in which it is known to effect consumers. It is important to note that the composer is intending to show the irony that most people would look at this image with shock or disgust, but would probably not be as concerned with the idea of passive smoking in it’s more prevalent context of being inhaled in an enclosed room/space by someone who doesn’t smoke themselves.

This following video also has the same subject, which is the effects of passive smoking, but take a moment after watching it to ask yourself which out of this video and the advertisement above evoked more upsetting connotations? Just because they have different ways of expressing the message, should they be received in different ways?

The advertisement was thought provoking and made me understand the way that the signified of the image (the woman eating the cigarette-burger) was a more controversial and intense way of trying to evoke a certain message in his responder. It is easy to sit here and say that the ad is ‘crazy’ or ‘unrealistic’ because you don’t see people physically eating a cigarette, but it makes you think, it happens around us everyday. I think i’m speaking for a majority when I say that I have experienced more than once the surprise of someone blowing their cigarette into my face, but just because it doesn’t phase me, should it be said that it doesn’t concern others?

That’s all for today folks,



AOTW 2009, Ads of the World, Government of the State of Santa Catarina: Hamburger, 16/3/16 http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/government_of_the_state_of_santa_catarina_hamburger

The Telegraph 2012, Government release new hard-hitting anti-smoking advert, Youtube, 16/3/16 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhuHeI4H00U


One thought on “What do you see?

  1. Anti-smoking has been a prominent advertisement in the media since I can remember!
    Firstly, I think you did a great job explaining semiotics. I think the advertisements you chose to analyse (both the image and video) were very powerful and supported your argument – I cannot believe that 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible!
    I’d also like to make a quick comment about the layout of your blog. I think it is really clear and easy to follow – it took me so long to work out how to set up my blog LOL.
    Keep up the great work!


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