A Semiotic Deconstruction of Symbols in Print Advertising Contents: Implications for Consumers Purchase Decisions in Nigeria

Idorenyin Akpan, Emilienne Akpan, Presly Obukoadata


Anchored on the expositional exploits of Pierce (1958), Barthes (1973), de Saussure (1984), Fiske (1989) and Akpan (1996) in the field of semiotics, this study examined first, the communicative values of symbols in print advertisements copies of selected Nigerian products; second, the relative influence of symbolic interpretations on consumers purchase decisions as well as the implications of such influence on product marketing. Adopting twin methodological approaches of qualitative content analysis and the Survey, the study investigated the Signifier-Signified relationships and interpretation in the Iconic, Linguistic (referential, emotive and conative) and Ideological values of elements of the studied product. Findings from the study revealed the dominance of synchronic convergence in the signifier-signified values of symbols found in the studied advertisements, and also, a relatively insignificant diachronic relationship between the symbolic values of the advertisements and consumers claim of influence on product purchase decisions. Findings also showed strong ideological influence in consumers’ interpretation of copy values vis-a-vis their purchase decisions. The study concluded that semiological inputs in advertising and marketing are extant and relevant to contemporary promotional strategies. The study made a strong recommendation for the inclusion of semiotic appraisals as a component of advertising effectiveness test during campaigns.

Keywords: Semiotics, Advertising, Signifier, Signified, Symbols, Ideology, Marketing


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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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