Signs are very powerful forms of communication in our society. They send us messages that can be interpreted differently by many different audiences. This can be due to personal values, social groups, or cultural influences.
This image sparks an interesting discussion, mainly in the fact that the advertisement is for a cleaning product but depicts a very different image. Upon initial viewing, the denotation of the image is that the floor is shiny and clean as a result of using the cleaning product. Our eyes are then directed to the shiny floor in the middle of the picture, where upon further inspection of the reflection we can see a man and a young schoolgirl seemingly ‘talking’.
The girl is dressed in innocent school clothes, and the man well dressed in suit pants and a button up shirt. By suggesting that the man is much older than the girl and placing them together in a bedroom, something already seems off. The room is very bare and dull, and if not for the reflection it would look much more gloomy. When we closely look at the reflection, the mysterious man has come into contact with the girl and is handing her some money. The connotations surrounding this image are that the girl is a prostitute, and that the man is paying her for her services. If we look to the right, we can see that his shoes are on the floor, implying that he hasn’t had his shoes on for a period of time, further inferring that a sexual act may have taken place. This theory is reinforced as the girl is slightly lifting up her skirt, giving a somewhat sexual enticement towards the man.
When an audience first glances at this image, a feeling of innocence is definitely present. One can not be discouraged for first thinking; ‘this is a teacher talking to a student after class’ or ‘maybe a father talking to his daughter in her bedroom after a day at school.’ However, once the viewer realises the real meaning of this image, it can never be unseen. The creators used different angles and reflections in the image so that readers have to look many times to understand the true message behind it. The sheer reality of this image is what makes it so powerful, engaging the viewer and demanding a more in- depth look at the advertisement.
References: http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5138cc2feab8eaf95a000013/image.jpg (accessed 20/3/15)