Compromised critiques : a semiotic analysis of an anti-cigarette advertising campaign
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This study is a semiotic analysis of one secondhand smoking campaign by UNITE GEORGIA. The primary question posed in this research is how messages are constructed in one anti-cigarette advertising campaign, and whether their structure dilutes or compromises the critical stance regarding smoking. To this end, the study explores three ads - "Drive," "Car Seat" and "Baby Monitor." These ads critique the individual’s behavior, instead of addressing promotional activities of tobacco companies or the addictive nature of nicotine. Popular American ideologies of ‘opportunity,’ ‘freedom’ and ‘individualism’ are critiqued, in that ‘opportunity,’ ‘freedom’ and ‘individualism’ are not equally available to all. A person’s actions have repercussions for those around them, and failing to take that into consideration is a sign of self-centeredness. The codes required to understand the ads are recognized as those that are common to a particular culture, being a part of that culture enables the audience to understand the message. The study suggests that the messages in these ads are clear and easily understandable by the intended audience, in this case, the average American.