UNPACKING SEMIOTIC RESOURCES IN COSMETIC ADVERTISEMENTS
In recent times, there has been a shift away from monomodal communication that depends on language (spoken and written) as the only available meaning-making resource. Advances in technology have given rise to multiliteracies that employ a wide repertoire of modes of communication. Media communication, thus, has become multimodal given its penchant for the fusion of multiple modes as meaning-making resources. It is against this backdrop that this study explores the semiotic resources used in cosmetic advertising. It foregrounds the use and interaction of verbal and visual modes as components of advertising discourse. The paper argues that aside from language, there are many other meaning-making resources advertisers use to persuade and influence their target audience. The researchers adopt the social semiotic approach of Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) as an aspect of the multimodality framework. This approach stipulates that there are multiple modes of signification and representation which include language, visual, aural, spatial, and gestural modes. The study, thus, sets out to explore all meaning-making resources in cosmetic advertisements and their manipulative apparatus for appealing to the target audience. The research adopts the descriptive qualitative method of data analysis to examine five advertisements from the internet sites of Nuban and Zaron cosmetic brands. Data were analyzed using the tenets of multimodality and semiotics. The study finds out that other modes of representation like colour, gaze, visuals, frames, gesture, angle of interaction, information value as well as text are embodiments of meaning which combine to make ads more compelling, catchy, and irresistible. The paper then concludes that though there are meaning potentials in these multiple modes, their use and exploration should be craftily mastered so as to produce texts that are coherent, meaningful, and persuasive.
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