Subtle clues within the action or image can indicate how people react to specific behaviors that may be receiving a new definition thanks to the advertisements created. Whether we care to admit it or not, there is a great deal of truth behind the statement that we are what the media tells us we are. “Much of what we share, and what we know, and even what we treasure, is carried to us each second in plasma of electrons, pixels, and ink, underwritten by multinational advertising agencies dedicated to attracting our attention for entirely nonaltruistic reasons” (Twitchell 468). In our material culture, where so many things are mass-produced in a variety of forms and substances, it is helpful to have some sort of guide to help us determine which things should be accorded the highest value and which things are not so great. This is where advertising enters the scene and helps us to define just what is valuable and what kind of meaning or history a particular object might have. Understanding how this occurs requires first understanding what is meant by the semiotics of advertising, through which these messages are conveyed, and then applying these ideas to a particular advertisement.
The modern, industrial public has become a fine connoisseur of the efforts of advertising and is quickly able to deduce who the ad is targeted to reach. If it isn’t targeted to one’s particular social or economic class, one typically stops paying attention to the messages being sent. This is done primarily through the process of semiotics. Roughly speaking, semiotics refers to the process of analyzing the ‘signs’ of a given culture for indications of meaning at varying levels. “Semiology, therefore, aims to take in any system of signs, whatever their substance and limits.