Swedish McDonalds Advertisement
Discuss how your example of a controversial text operates as a sign in terms of its denotation and connotation.
For controversial texts, this image is on point (controversial text game strong? no? okay…). A Swedish McDonald’s ad campaign causes confusion and controversy over the web as it alludes to extreme notions of racial discrimination.
When speaking of semiotics, the denotations and connotations differentiate with how you personally view the text. If you’re anything like me you will skip the fine print, which actually explains the meaning behind the McDonald’s advert. The denotation (explicit or direct meaning of a word or expression) is hidden in the fine print of the ad; “We hire individuals”. All written text, printed in yellow, is displayed on a red background, which symbolises/ represents McDonald’s as a company. The denotations of this advert juxtaposes with the connotations (ideas and feelings). The main signifier is the ‘negative;’ exclusive words (We don’t hire Turks, Greeks, Poles, Indians, Ethiopians, Vietnamese, Chinese or Peruvians), written to be the main focus for audiences. The connotations evoked become somewhat confused and possibly even disgusted.
Upon first glance of this text, individuals wouldn’t know that this was promoting equality in the workplace. From afar, individuals wouldn’t be able to read the fine print, leading them to believe McDonald’s was promoting racism/ racial discrimination. This controversial text could either be seen as extremely clever, as the shock factor draws you in, or it could be seen as extremely stupid. Unfortunately for McDonald’s this ad can be destructive, as consumers may start to reject the company and what they assume the company now stands for.
Do you think this style of advertising is clever, or just plain silly? Is there a limit to what can be used to shock consumers into going for their products?