Visually communicating honesty : A semiotic analysis of Dorset Cereals packaging

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1 Visually communicating honesty : A semiotic analysis of Dorset Cereals packaging Jessica Burrows A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree BA (Hons) Communications Studies Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds May 2013 Supervisor: Katy Parry Word count: 10,836

2 ABSTRACT With its halo logo and brand name alone, Innocent declares its innocence. With consumer trust at an all-time low, guilt-free and honest brands are much-needed in today s marketplace. Dorset Cereals marketing tagline reads, honest, tasty and real, but how does this brand convey these notions of honesty? Using semiotic analysis, this study investigates how Dorset Cereals visually communicates its brand values of honesty through packaging design. This study applies the work of Saussure, Barthes, and Williamson to explore how Dorset Cereals uses pre-existing systems of meanings and widely-held consumer beliefs to construct its vision of honesty. 1

3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thank you to Katy Parry, Darren Foley, Tessa Stuart, Stergios Bititsios, and Tom Norris. 2

4 CONTENTS INTRODUCTION Honesty definition...4 Honest branding...5 Dorset Cereals: honest, tasty and real...7 Why study Dorset Cereals packaging?...8 LITERATURE REVIEW Signifier and Signified...10 Denotation and Connotation...11 The System of Signs...12 Advertising and Semiotics...14 METHOD...18 FINDINGS...21 Nature as a referent...21 Controlled Culture...22 Look no dust!...24 CRITICAL DISCUSSION Hollowing out...27 The whole picture...27 If Dorset Cereals was a person...28 What Dorset Cereals is not...28 Meanings are not fixed in nature...29 Dorset Cereals paradox...31 CONCLUSION...33 Conventionalisation...34 Suggestions for further study...35 FIGURES...37 BIBLIOGRAPHY

5 Honest (adjective) 1. not given to lying, cheating, stealing, etc.; trustworthy 2. not false or misleading; genuine 3. just or fair honest wages 4. characterized by sincerity and candour an honest appraisal 5. without pretensions or artificial traits honest farmers Collins Dictionary,

6 INTRODUCTION Honest branding In the early 2000s, trend forecasters and marketers predicted that there would be a renewed emphasis on honesty in visual and verbal brand communications (Allen and Simmons, 2003: 125). In the current economic and political climate, consumer trust is at an all-time low (Mellor, 2012). Businesses and institutions are using honest branding in an attempt to regain the trust and faith of a seemingly untrusting and cynical public (Allen and Simmons, 2003, Rogers, 2004, Kemp, 2013). The recent horse meat scandal, whereby horse DNA traces were found in beef burgers in British supermarkets, exemplifies dishonest commercial practices, in that the public were misled with fraudulent communications and counterfeit produce. The food and drink industry is not short of dishonest and unethical practice, particularly from the leading global FMCGs (fast-moving consumer goods companies) and retailers. Over the years, industry leaders, such as Tesco, Nestlé, and Coca- Cola, have become synonymous with unethical resourcing, unsustainable environmental practices, opaque supply chains, deceitful marketing, and synthetic means of production (Mennell, et al., 1992). In effect, this leaves a gap in the market for honest food and drink brands that champion fair trade, environmental sustainability, local sourcing, transparent marketing, and as nature intended it methods of production. The late 1970s saw this gap in the market filled by entrepreneurial foodies who were committed to changing the world (The Food Programme, 2009: 06:50). In 1978, the homemade ice cream makers Ben & Jerrys strived to bring radical fervour and good taste to the US food business, while in the 1990s, Green & Blacks set new organic standards for the chocolate industry (The Food Programme, 2009: Ibid.). Dorset Cereals, Bear Nibbles, Yeo Valley, Clipper Tea, and many more make up this niche-but-ever-expanding market of honest food brands (Figure 1). These brands celebrate 5

7 nothing but naked nature, producing unadulterated food and drink with a clear conscience (Bear Nibbles, 2013; Dorset Cereals, 2013b; Clipper Tea, 2013). Brand such as these aim to provide an alternative to the multinationals unnatural offerings in advocating the artisanal and authentic methods of the independent, honest famer (Roth, 1976, Atkinson, 1979, Mennell, et al., 1992, Taylor, 2012). In essence, these honest brands serve as the antithesis to the Tescos, Nestlés, and Coca-Colas of the food and drink industry. These brands make food in an honest way (without artificial traits and unethical practices) and are honest in their communications (they do not hide information or deceive their publics). But how do these brands communicate their honest credentials on shelf? How can they differentiate themselves from the dishonest, unethical and inauthentic offerings in the supermarket? Honesty is a human construction so how can this be applied to food branding? Visualising honesty is a difficult challenge since honesty cannot be seen and does not exist in our tangible environment; honesty can only be known or experienced. Fruit smoothie and veg-pot maker, Innocent, executes honest branding exceptionally well in that it materialises honesty visually (Figure 2). Innocent makes food as a kid would with fruit, vegetables, and no funny business (Computer Arts, 2007; Innocent, 2013). In conjunction with this child-like methodology, the company s brand name and halo logo urge consumers to arrive at the assumption that Innocent, like a young child or mythical angel, are incapable of deceit and are guilt-free (unlike the multinationals). Additionally, with its use of twee and colloquial language ( are you looking at my bottom? ) on its packaging, the brand immediately strikes ups a friendly rapport with consumers in store. Brands desperately want to emulate Innocent s innocence in a bid to restore trust and faith in their products and services (Computer Arts, 2007, O Reilly, 2012). 6

8 Evidently, to come across as honest and trustworthy brands have to do more than verbally state the words we are honest, you can trust us. Like Innocent, brands must nonverbally and inexplicitly convey these notions through use of language and design. This study investigates how notions of honesty are conveyed visually via packaging design, looking particularly at Dorset-based breakfast company Dorset Cereals. Dorset Cereals brands itself as honest, tasty and real (Dorset Cereals, 2013b), but how does the packaging communicate these values? Using semiotic analysis, this study deconstructs Dorset Cereal s packaging to examine how the brand reinforces its honest values through visual communication. This study considers how texture, typography, colour and design details contribute to the construction and visualisation of Dorset Cereals honesty. This study aims to investigate what honesty looks like in 2012/13. Dorset Cereals: honest, tasty and real Dorset Cereals is a premium food company based in Dorset, South-West England that has been making breakfast muesli since 1987 (Dorset Cereals, 2013a). Dorset Cereals prides itself on creating unadulterated breakfasts that are honest, tasty and real with minimal processing, and with no artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives (Dorset Cereals, 2013b; Wellness Foods, 2013). Dorset Cereals range of mueslis, granolas, porridges and cereal bars are sold in all major supermarkets in the UK and are exported to 70 countries worldwide. The brand is owned by the Wellness Food Group which also owns Rowse Honey and Grove Fresh Organic Fruit Juice. Dorset Cereals states that the Wellness Food Group shares the same vision of creating honest, tasty and real healthy food (Dorset Cereals, 2013d). In 2005, Dorset Cereals product packaging underwent a big redesign (Dorset Cereals, 2013a) courtesy of London-based branding and design consultancy, Big Fish. Along with Dorset Cereals, Big Fish also works with Yeo Valley, Gü Puds, Clipper Tea, Tyrrel s Crisps and Belvoir Fruit Farms. Before Big Fish s redesign, Dorset Cereals was packaged in 7

9 plastic and looked more at home in a pet store than the top shelves of Waitrose (Big Fish, 2013). As Dorset Cereals had no budget for above-the-line advertising (national advertising campaigns), Big Fish was faced with the challenge of delivering brand communications through packaging alone, or through packvertising, as Founder and Creative Director of Big Fish, Perry Haydn Taylor, has dubbed it (Taylor, 2012). Equating packaging design with the educative and communicative power of traditional advertising platforms, Taylor comments: We use our packs as our best media, we treat them as if they were advertising media (2012: 00.27mins). In 2007, Dorset Cereals won a Design Business Association s (DBA) Design Effectiveness Award for its packaging design (Figure 3). Due to Dorset Cereal s effective packvertising, today sales are up from 4m per year to 45m and Dorset Cereals is the second-best seller in its category after Alpen, owned by Weetabix (Big Fish, 2013). Why study Dorset Cereals packaging? Without ATL advertising, Dorset Cereals has had immense commercial success through the medium of packaging alone (Warc, 2007, Taylor, 2012)*. Yet, despite packaging s communicative power, it is marginally ignored as a site of signification and has received little semiotic or academic attention (Schroeder, 2002, Rundh, 2005, Leeuwen and Kress, 2006). As Big Fish s Taylor concedes, packaging is on a par with traditional advertising. In fact, market trends suggest that packaging has become a fully-fledged marketing tool in its own right, which is increasingly being leveraged to break through competitive clutter on supermarket shelves, aiming to significantly change consumer perception (Underwood, et al., 2004: 403, Rundh, 2005, Ambrose and Harris, 2011, Agariya, et al., 2012). Perhaps the mundane ritual of food shopping and the everydayness of eating and drinking could be the reason behind why packvertising has undergone minimal research 8

10 in the past. Nonetheless, the general dismissal of packaging as a legitimate form of advertising and its denial of academic attention, particularly in the field of Communications, is all the more reason to study it. As we have agreed, packaging is a form of advertising and advertisements require decoding. It is thought that advertisements are the pictorial manifestation of the hegemonic ideologies of the day (Barthes, 1973, Williamson, 1978, Dyer, 1982, Fiske, 1990, Fowles, 1996, Cook, 2003, Rose, 2012). Advertisements are never ideologically impartial (Goldman and Papson, 1996: 85). Rather, they are infused with meanings, and studying them can reveal much about the cultures in which they operate (Williamson, 1978, Thwaites, Davis and Mules, 1994, Lacey, 1998, Schroeder, 2002, Cook, 2003, Aiello, 2006). Visual cultural theorist Johanna Drucker comments how visual texts inscribe ideological values and cultural attitudes that are potent indices of the social conditions in which they are produced (in Schroeder, 2002: 116). Similarly, Grant McCracken states that advertising serves us as a lexicon of current cultural meanings (1988: 79). As Fowles comments, The future may know us through our advertising and popular culture (1996: xiv). In essence, advertisements are telling of their time. The way in which Dorset Cereals brands itself as honest and real is perhaps indicative of the fears of modern society: we live in a world which is dishonest, inauthentic and artificial. Advertisements also contribute to our understanding the world (Berger, 2005a). Is Dorset Cereals packaging contributing to our visual understanding of honesty? If so, how? To understand this, we must first understand how meaning is created, leading onto the next section on semiotics. *DC also operate online communications, however this is only a useful marketing tool if consumers are aware of it. EDIT: At the time of writing, Dorset Cereals had no ATL advertising. As of 8th April 2013 Dorset Cereals aired its first national television advertisement. 9

11 LITERATURE REVIEW Semiotics: the key to understanding how we understand Signifier and Signified Understanding the hidden yet obvious signs of everyday communicative systems, such as body language, music, speech, art, literature, etc., can lead to an understanding of how we understand (Leeds-Hurwitz, 1993, Bignell, 2002, Chandler, 2005). It is the banality of meaning and the sense-making of that which is taken for granted is what semiotics is primarily concerned with (Thwaites, et al., 1994: 7, Thwaites and Davis, 2002: 9, Lacey, 1998, Chandler, 2005). For semioticians, the way in which we make sense of our world and our reality is via signs (Fiske, 1990, Lacey, 1998, Chandler, 2005). A sign is the term used for a word, image or sound which carries meaning. Signs are used to represent or stand in for something else (Fiske, 1990, Fowles, 1996, Hall, 1997, Schroeder, 2002, Thwaites and Davis, 2002, Berger, 2005). According to Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1966), a sign is made up of a signifier and a signified. Saussure believes that the signifier (the form: the word, image or sound) gives way to the signified (the concept or idea we think of in our minds once we encounter the signifier). The signified is conjured by the signifier (Fiske, 1990, Hall, 1997, Berger, 2005). Most importantly, Saussure argued that the relationship between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary (Fiske, 1990, Hall, 1997, Lacey, 1998, Berger, 2005). The relationship between the signifier and the signified is cemented by convention, rule or agreement among the users (Fiske, 1990: 52). For instance, the four-letter word T.R.E.E. (signifier) bears no relation to the real thing: a tall plant with leaves and bark (signified). Any other word, such as frog or grape would suffice as the word (signifier) to represent a tall plant with leaves and bark as long as it were agreed among the culture (in this instance, an English-speaking culture). Alluding to this, Stuart Hall (1997: 21) explains how the French word for tree 10

12 ( arbre ) is different in its spelling and pronunciation to the English word. Despite this, Hall argues that the mental concepts in the mind of a French-speaking person and an Englishspeaking person will be roughly similar (i.e. a tall plant with leaves and bark) when they encounter their cultural signifier for tree. Again, as long as it is agreed amongst the given culture, it does not matter which signifier is used because a sign and its meaning is arbitrary. Denotation and Connotation Although Saussure worked within the field of language and linguistics, many have gone on to apply his thought to other areas of communication. Roland Barthes was one of the first to do this. He applied Saussure s notions of signification to visual analysis and cultural theory (Berger, 2005, Chandler, 2005, Aiello, 2006). Barthes extends Saussure s signifiersignified by adding an additional element to the process. Let us take our tree example further. If we hear or see the word tree (signifier), we may picture a tall plant with bark and leaves in our mind (signified). The image in our mind of a tall plant with bark and leaves at its most basic, descriptive and objective level is what Barthes calls denotation (Aiello, 2006: 94, Hall, 1997, Fiske, 1990). People generally agree that the word tree is (denotes) a tall plant with bark and leaves. However, the word tree or the idea of a tree can mean something entirely different to what it is. Barthes calls this second-order of meaning connotation. Connotative meanings are ideological and symbolic (Fiske, 1990, Hall, 1997, Aiello, 2006, Bignell, 2002). Connotations are context dependent (Barthes, 1973, 1991, Thwaites, et al., 1994, Aiello, 2006). The way in which a sign is framed can evoke certain connotations (Fiske, 1990). The word tree in the context of a horror novel, for example, will most likely invoke fear because of the way in which it is framed by a horror narrative. Similarly, the way in which an image of a tree is framed by soft lighting can connote peace, or escapism in a holiday brochure. Signs can connote multiple meanings dependent upon the context and framing. 11

13 Connotative meanings are also dependent by how they are perceived by the viewer, reader or listener. The receiver s values, emotions, experiences, and sociocultural orientation can influence how meaning is eventually received (Hall, 1980, 1997, Fiske, 1990, Aiello, 2006). Barthes highlights this context-dependency in his classic study of a French pasta advertisement (Aiello, 2006: 94). He states that because of the use of colour (green, white and red reminiscent of the Italian flag) and the use of Mediterranean vegetables such as the tomato, the advertisement connotes Italianicity (Aiello, 2006, Hall, 1991, Fowles, 1996). However, Barthes emphasises that the advertisement s Italianicity will only be registered by French people (or other non-italian people for that matter) as Italian, whereas Italians themselves would not read the advertisement as a referent to their own culture (Aiello, Ibid.). Therefore, in order for signs to be meaningful and relevant, they must use the systems of meaning familiar within the targeted culture. The System of Signs Signs are members of a system and are defined in relation to other members of that system... Saussure, cited by Hall, 1997: 31...concepts are purely differential and defined not by their positive content, but negatively by their relations with other terms of the system. Their most precise characteristic is in being what others are not. Saussure, 1966: 117 For Saussure, signs cannot function in isolation: meanings rely on other meanings. In order for a sign to express its intended meaning, it must be part of a wider system of meaning (Fiske, 1990, Thwaites, et al. 1994). For Saussure, the meaning of a sign is determined by the signs that is it not (Fiske, 1990, Hall, 1997, Bignell, 2002, Aiello, 2006), or, as Berger puts it, concepts gain their meaning by not being their opposite (2005: 12). For instance, cat is a cat because it is not dog. Cat only has meaning because of what it is not, and in this sense, Saussure believes that signs are defined negatively (by what they are not) rather than positively (by what they are). In reference to Saussure, Hall (1997) explains 12

14 the way that we define or understand something is by how different or similar it is in comparison to that which already exists. Hall gives the example of how he understands an aeroplane (1997: 17-18). He knows that a plane is like a bird (because they both fly in the sky), but he knows that they are different (because a bird is part of nature, a living, breathing organism, whilst the plane is a man-made manufactured metal object). He explains that these distinctions, or classifying systems, such as: flying/not flying natural/man-made help us to categorise our complex world efficiently. The construction of meaning is entirely dependent upon widely recognised key oppositions and equations (Silverman, 1983: 36), distinctions, classifying systems, or binary oppositions as Saussure calls them (Fiske, 1990, Lacey, 1998, Berger, 2005b, Bignell, 2002). Communication would be near-impossible if we did not have systems in which to define meanings against each other (Williamson, 1978, Fiske, 1990, Leeds-Hurwitz, 1993, Hall, 1997). 13

15 Advertising and Semiotics In a bid to persuade consumers to purchase products, advertisers use emotional and symbolic appeals. Instead of marketing products for their basic use-value, advertisers market products based on what they mean to consumers (Dyer, 1982, Schudson, 1986, Lury, 1988, Edwards, 2000). As Jean Baudrillard comments, objects are no longer linked in any sense to a definite function or need (cited in Mayer, 1998: ix). Extending Marxist theory, Baudrillard states how a washing machine is not sold on the basis of its use-values (to wash clothes). Instead it is sold on how it will make consumers feel, and how it will make them the envy of their neighbours (Baudrillard, 1996). What the washing machine symbolises triumphs its intrinsic use-value as a clothes-washer. In the modern marketplace, sign-value prevails (Baudrillard, 1996, 1998). If products are to be sold to us on the basis of symbolic meaning, it is essential that advertisers can effectively communicate these symbolic values, and most importantly, it is essential that consumers understand advertisers symbolic messages and meanings. They do this through semiotics. As well as a tool to deconstruct advertisements, semiotics is also employed to create advertisements (Bignell, 2002, Aiello, 2006, Leeuwen and Kress, 2006). Advertisers must make use of the widely recognised systems of meaning like those discussed in the previous section. Advertisements can only be meaningful to consumers if they speak to them in recognisable language and make use of pre-existing bodies of knowledge (Williamson, 1978: 14, Wernick, 1991, Goldman and Papson, 1996, Bignell, 2002). In the short amount of time that they have our attention, advertisements must raid existing systems of meaning to quicken communication (Leiss, Kline, Jhally, 1990: 218, Fiske, 1990, Feuer, 1992, Fiske and Hartley, 2003, Berger, 2010). Advertisements must colonise upon pre-existing systems of knowledge in order to bring meaning to their unfamiliar products (Schroeder, 2002: 29). Advertisements draw upon the known systems of literature, art, conversation, science and 14

16 other spheres of social and cultural discourse to lend their unknown products meaning and value (Williamson, 1978, Fiske, 1990, Fowles, 1996, Schroeder, 2002). For instance, Nike first existed as a Greek goddess. By adopting the name of the mythical goddess, the sports brand Nike acquires its known qualities of power and victory (Schroeder, 2002). In this way, advertisers bend and redirect social and cultural meanings and then transform them into meanings that align with commercial interests (Goldman and Papson, 1996: 142, Williamson, 1978). Williamson exemplifies this in her classic analysis of a Chanel No.5 advertisement featuring French actress Catherine Deneuve: For [Deneuve s] face and the bottle are not inherently connected: there is no link between Catherine Deneuve in herself and Chanel No. 5: but the link is in terms of what Catherine Deneuve s face means to us, for this is what Chanel No. 5 is trying to mean to us, too. Williamson, 1978: 25, emphasis in original Williamson explains how through her portrayals of mysterious and elusive beauties in films such as Belle je Jour, over time Deneuve had come to symbolise sophisticated French chic. Thus, an encounter of Deneuve (whether via film, in writing, etc.) conjures sophisticated French chic in the mind of consumers. In this sense, Deneuve as a person becomes a sign in a system; she becomes a signifier of sophisticated French chic (Williamson, 1978, Fiske, 1990) (Figure 4). Williamson argues that Chanel has taken Deneuve s meaning and applied it to their product by compressing her face (signifier) with a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. As Williamson says, there is no inherent connection between this actress and this bottle of perfume. Chanel, however, has forged the two together in the form of an advertisement in the hope that Chanel too will become a signifier of sophisticated French chic in the eyes of the consumer. Williamson calls this process hollowing out in that brands hollow out pre-existing meanings and place their brand within them (Figure 5). Chanel is meaningless and empty until it refers to something that we 15

17 already know, something that already has meaning, like Deneuve. Deneuve s meaning is hollowed out and Chanel is placed within it. Williamson reminds us that in order for consumers to think that Chanel, like Deneuve, possesses an air of sophisticated French chic, it is essential that consumers understand a) who Deneuve is, and b) what she symbolises. A previous understanding is required for Chanel s advertisement to be effective. As Cook (2003) states, every advertisement requires an understanding of what came before it. Thus, without the consumers pre-existing knowledge of Greek mythology and French actresses, for example, Nike s and Chanel s branding communication and advertising efforts would be pointless and meaningless. Similarly, in Andrew Wernick s deconstruction of an Eve cigarette advertisement, he comments how the discrete cultural signifiers, such as the beach, floral motif, the woman and her clothing, and the brand name itself, require a pre-existing knowledge of the biblical myth of temptation in order for the advertisement to be meaningful to its receivers (1991: 33). He comments: It would be impossible to valorise products symbolically if the symbolism employed to that end were itself unintelligible or without ideological appeal. Symbolic ads must therefore not only find effective pictorial and verbal devices by which to link the commodity with a significance; they must also build up significance from elements of an understood cultural code. Wernick, 1991: 37, emphasis mine. Advertisements must draw from a common cultural pool in order to be relevant and meaningful to consumers (Wernick, 1991: 93). While advertisements rely on our understanding of what their signs symbolise, they also rely on our understanding of what their signs do not symbolise. Echoing Saussure, Williamson says: the identity of [products] depends more on what it is not than what it is (1978: 24). Therefore, Nike s use of a Greek goddess only has meaning because of what it is not: a peasant weakling, for example. Similarly, if it were not for the unsophisticated starts such as Brigitte Bardot, then Deneuve 16

18 could not connote sophistication (Fiske, 1990). As Saussure says, signs cannot operate in isolation. 17

19 Method Semiology is the primary method of this study because it is most suited to the analysis of visual texts (Rose, 2012, Hall, 1997, Lacey, 1998). Semiotics falls into two categories: traditional semiotics (the study of the construction of meaning) and social semiotics (the study of how people use meanings in social contexts) (du Gay, 1997, Hall, 1997, Schroeder, 2002, Leeuwen and Kress, 2005). This study focuses on the former. A strong semiotic analysis does not treat the texts as singular and finite entities (Lister and Wells, 2001, Leeuewen and Kress, 2005). A successful semiotic analysis rests upon the semiotician s ability to relate denotative and connotative meanings to the broader ideological apparatuses at hand (Hall, 1997, Lacey, 1998, Leeuwen and Jewitt, 2001, Fowles, 1996, Schroeder, 2002). I have therefore related my findings to relevant ideological structures and current sociocultural debates, of for example, consumerism and modernity. As a visual analysis, this study primarily deals with the visual (design) over the verbal (use of language) aspect of brand communications. As advised by Chandler (2005), Leeuwen and Kress (2005), and Agariya, et al., (2012), I have split the visual components into organised themes. I have also incorporated branding from other food and drink brands to identify design trends. Mixing Methods Due to the multidisciplinary nature of visual communication analysis (Schroeder, 2002), I have utilised reports and studies from other fields such as business, psychology, marketing, and consumer research. To strengthen my analysis and to gain a broader understanding of food and drink branding, I have interviewed leading industry experts. I have interviewed Darren Foley, Managing Director at Pearlfisher. Similar to Big Fish, Pearlfisher develops brand identity and packaging design for premium food and drink brands; Innocent, Waitrose, Green & Blacks, and Jamie Oliver are among some of Pearlfisher s clients. I have also interviewed Tessa Stuart, a freelance in-store product researcher who works with start-up 18

20 food and drink brands. In the past, Tessa has worked with Innocent, G nosh, Rude Health and Leon Restaurant. I also attended Pro2Pac, a bi-annual food and drink packaging event, and IFE13 (International Food Event) to gain a better understanding of the industry. Similar to Lutz and Collins (1993) study of National Geographic magazine, I too have supplemented analysis with interviews to validate my findings. I have broadened my knowledge of the industry as to avoid making sweeping generalisations and coming across as elitist and omniscient as semioticians often do (Berger, 2010, Rose, 2012). Acknowledging the weaknesses of semiotics On numerous occasions, Rose (2012) advises semioticians to acknowledge the weaknesses of their methodology. Firstly, semiotics lacks academic credibility and is not regarded as an institutionalised discipline (Chandler, 2005). There is little consensus among semioticians as to how semiotics should actually be practiced. There does not seem to be a definitive method other than opinion-based analysis (Beasley and Denesi, 2002, Chandler, 2005). Unlike content analysis, for example, semiotics lacks rigidity, control or structure (Cook, 2003). By the framing of my title, I have already assumed that my text conveys notions of honesty. This issue is known as the ideological complex of semiotics (Rose, 2012: 107). My assumption is, of course, subjective; to somebody else the text may convey something entirely different (perhaps dishonesty ). Nonetheless, it makes commercial sense for Dorset Cereals to reiterate its supposed honest claims through its packaging design. However, I fully acknowledge that that my goal of finding how honesty is conveyed is already ideological in itself (see Rose, Ibid.). Audience interpretation My perception of the world, like anybody else s, is influenced by a number of factors, such as my sociocultural stance, my political orientation, my gender, my ethnicity, 19

21 my education. Everybody s conceptual map of the world is different from person to person which means that we make sense of the world in unique and individual ways (Hall, 1997: 18, Fowles, 1996, Lacey, 1998, Aiello, 2006). It is impossible for me to account for anybody s interpretation other than my own. It is impossible for me to realistically judge how the text is received by a diversified public on the supermarket shelves. As Williamson states: It is not my purpose here to measure [the advertisements ] influence. To do so would require sociological research and consumer data drawing on a far wider range of material than the advertisements themselves. I am simply analysing what can be seen in advertisements. Williamson, 1978: 11, emphasis in original Or, to rephrase this, what Williamson can see in the advertisements. I (like Williamson) am limited by my own vision in this study. I reiterate: this study is entirely my own subjective and arbitrary reading, supported by literature, interviews and relevant material. This study is not definitive and is not factual because interpretation can never be correct (Fowles, 1996). For Cook (2003) and Schroeder (2002), a semiotic analysis can never be closed or completed as there will always be room for further interpretation. Therefore, my study is not a complete or final one; it is open-ended, left for others to develop it. I hope that it inspires others to develop upon it (please see Suggestions for further study section). 20

22 FINDINGS Imbuing products with human traits and values is not uncommon for advertisers (Williamson, 1978, Goldman and Papson, 1996). This technique of anthropomorphism, or reification as Goldman and Papson call it, serves to sell products in human terms (Schroeder, 2002: 28). Quaker Oats has been imbuing its rolled oats with human values since Using the visual signifier of the man in Quaker garb, Quaker oats transfers the Quaker s known characteristics of honesty and integrity to its produce (Pratkanis and Aronson, 2001). As discussed earlier, Innocent uses the visual signifier of the halo. Is there anything left in the honesty-toolbox for Dorset Cereals to use? Nature as a referent Nature is a common referent in advertising. For Williamson, advertisements depict nature as either cooked (controlled in some way by culture), or as raw (natural, wild, dangerous) (Williamson, 1978, Rose, 2012). When used in its raw form in advertisements, Nature represents all that is good, pure, and authentic and represents the antithesis of all that is cultural (Williamson, 1978). Dorset Cereals mobilises this binary opposition of Nature vs. Culture. Dorset Cereals packaging is very much a cooked cultural artefact in that it is a commercial item. Despite the packaging s cultural identity, it uses nature as a referent though the use of colour. Colour has a unique symbolic significance in that it can be used to nonverbally and inexplicitly link concepts together (Williamson, 1978, Lacey, 1998, Leeuwen and Kress, 2006). Dorset Cereals uses muted and earthy tones that mirror the colours of the natural world: browns, greys, and blues. Even the livelier colours of yellow and pink are muted: mustard yellow and deep fuchsia (Figure 7). In its extremely cooked environment in the supermarket, Dorset Cereals refers back to the natural world from which it came with these earthy and wholesome colours. The referral to nature serves to emphasise 21

23 the naturalness of the ingredients. The packaging encourages the consumer to think of the rustic colours of the countryside and forces the consumer to connect the product with this pastoral imagery. With the use of colour, Dorset Cereals makes its alliance with the natural world and rural life explicit. Controlled Culture Cardboard Although its produce may derive from the natural world, Dorset Cereals invariably has to make use of cultural conventions, such as packaging materials, copy and logos in order to succeed in the commercial market. The brand is very careful of the culture it selects. Firstly it selects matte cardboard packaging. In relation to Peirce, Fiske states that an object becomes a symbol when it acquires through convention and use a meaning that enables it to stand for something else (1990: 91). Arguably, we could say that cardboard has become a symbol of environmental responsibility and sustainability. This is probably due to the fact that cardboard is recyclable, while some plastics are known to be damaging to the environment. The cardboard choice is functional in that it can be recycled, and because of this function, cardboard also serves as a visual cue of environmental sustainability. Commitment to environmental sustainability reinforces Dorset Cereals ethical and honest values. Typewriter typeface The packaging uses a typewriter typeface: ITC American Typewriter (Figure 8). Today, the typewriter is regarded as a retro piece of equipment. The reference to this oldfashioned ribbon-and-keys mechanism works to transport consumers back to a time when technology was simple. This typeface arouses pre-digital nostalgia. The typewriter physically processes words as opposed to the modern computer which simulates words and images 22

24 through coding and pixels. With a modern computer it is easy to rectify mistakes. With a typewriter, however, if the typist makes a mistake the entire page must be started again. In the same way the typewriter typist must be patient and take extreme care, Dorset Cereals too is patient and takes extreme care with its produce, ensuring all ingredients are carefully selected and thoroughly inspected on site (Dorset Cereals, 2013b). The computer cuts out the psychical labour of the typewriter in the same way that machinery and chemicals cut out the psychical labour of the farmer. This reference to the typewriter could suggest that Dorset Cereals does not cut corners and does things the traditional way. This reference to tradition is not uncommon for advertisements that try to convey notions of authenticity and honesty (Goldman and Papson, 1996). As Lacey says, Tradition is a great favourite of advertisers; its use exploits the nostalgic feeling that things were better in the good old days (1998: 74). This is the only typeface used across the entire packaging which could suggest consistency of character: a trait of honesty. The brand name ( dorset cereals ) is engraved into the cardboard which gives the impression of hard graft, reinforcing Dorset Cereals emphasis on traditional labouring. Graphic design Dorset Cereals logo is a tree design (Figure 9). Again, this links the brand to nature, however, the logo does not look very natural. It is a flat and simplistic design of a straight thin line and six ovals to represent the trunk and the leaves. The logo is reminiscent of modern, minimalistic art. Of all that is cultural, art is deemed to be high culture. Art is synonymous with good taste and cultural status. This referral to art links the brand to fine taste, prestige, and affluence (Schroeder, 2002: 36). In referring to high culture, Dorset Cereals distances itself from the associations of low culture and crass materialist values. Works of art and creative pieces are crafted with love and passion as opposed to massmanufactured artefacts which are produced for economic purposes. In referring to art, Dorset 23

25 Cereals communicates its objection to those who produce only for monetary gain (i.e. the multinationals). If not a referral to modern art, the graphic logo is significant for another reason. It is significant in the fact that it is not a photo of a tree. By using this design, the brand differentiates itself from its competitors who use heavily edited photos of rolling corn fields and tempting bowls of cereal toppled with fresh fruit (Figure 10). Across all of Dorset Cereals packaging there is no use of Photoshopped images of fields or fruit. The idyllic countryside imagery used by the competitor brands are quite obviously heavily edited, digitally enhanced and are not true to life, which is deceitful. Jean Baudrillard states how in our modern consumerist world of simulated realities such as these idyllic countryside images we have lost touch with the real and have become distanced from reality (Berger, 2010). Arguing a similar case, Darren Foley of Pearlfisher states: When did we become so distanced from food? When did it all become so complex? We are separated from our food by layers of packaging, methods of preservation, artificial imaging and simulated Photoshop illustrations. Rather than show the natural beauty of what we eat, technology has increasingly created a world where even natural fruit, dairy and wheat products have become overproduced, stylised and synthetic. Darren Foley, in Brooks, 2013 Dorset Cereals could have featured enhanced images on its packaging, however this may have given consumers the impression that Dorset Cereals enhances its food with additives and preservatives. Peculiarly, Dorset Cereal s simplified unnatural stick-tree conveys naturalness more than the actual photos of nature, like the fruits, corn and fields. Look, no dust! Window Instead of using images like its competitors, Dorset Cereals features a cut-out window to reveal the product inside (Figure 9 & 11). While the other brands conceal their 24

26 products with images, Dorset Cereals unmasks its product with a window. This invites consumers to look at the product and judge it before they consume it, instead of entrusting the enhanced images of competitor brands. An honest person has nothing to hide, and with this window, Dorset Cereals says Look! I have nothing to hide!. This is antagonistic in a way because the window challenges other brands to reveal their produce, which they may or cannot do because their produce may not look as appetising and appealing as the enhanced, artificial images. This brazenness to reveal all reassures consumers. When discussing the packaging s cut-out window, Big Fish s Perry comments: We wanted to give people a window in the soul of the product (2012: 01:25). Referring to the brand as a possessor of a soul is significant. This soul comment imbues Dorset Cereals with yet another humanistic quality alongside honesty. Interestingly, the oval cut-out window is in the shape of an eye. The eye is often referred to as the window into the soul. When confronting a person accused of lying, people will often say look into my eyes so that they can see weather this person is telling the truth. The window into the soul of the product leaves no room for doubt in the mind of the consumer. Arrows Dorset Cereals packaging makes use of subtle lines and arrows. The line on the front of the pack connects the tree logo with the product ingredients (Figure 12). Again, this connects the produce with nature. This line says this is all there is and denotes the product for consumers. This line represents the simplicity of the production process: from raw nature (the tree logo) - straight to the finished product (product ingredients). The production of food is unseen by the typical consumer, and this simplifies the process for them. The arrow leaves no pause for adding preservatives, fillers or additives. On one package, a cut-out window is anchored by an arrow pointing to the window with text reading look no dust! (Figure 11). Combined with the transparent window, the arrow and text playfully says look if you don t 25

27 believe me!, or see for yourself!. This dismisses preconceptions and worry that cynical and untrusting consumers may have of faulty or fraudulent produce. The arrow is not straight and is deliberately curved. The curvature of the arrow connotes informality. The curved arrow is also reminiscent of a child s drawing, therefore connoting child-like innocence. This is a common trend amongst honest foods (Figure 13). The arrows are presented on a simple, flat background with one colour which makes them very easy to see. Arrows cannot be confused, their very purpose is to ease communication and to explicitly point to or attract attention to something. With the use of arrows, Dorset Cereals vies for attention and recognition of the fact that it has absolutely nothing to hide. The directive and explicit arrows and lines, the imperative Look!, the eye-like window into the soul all work together to convince consumers that Dorset Cereals is honest and ready to prove its innocence. 26

28 CRITICAL DISCUSSION Hollowing out In order for Dorset Cereals to convey notions of honesty, as Williamson and Wernick suggest, it must work with pre-existing bodies of knowledge. The packaging relies on the consumer s understanding. The consumer must understand what cardboard symbolises, what typewriters signify, what a child s handwriting signifies, what the colours refer to, and so on. If we use Williamson s hollowing out theory (Figure 5) we begin to see how Dorset Cereals, hollows out meanings to place its brand within them. All of the components that make up Dorset Cereals packaging cardboard material, typewriter typeface, tree design, etc. can be placed into the hollowing out model. For example, as suggested, the typewriter typeface signifies or connotes pre-digital nostalgia. Dorset Cereals takes what the typewriter typeface means to us and applies it to their brand (Figure 14).In the same way Nike steals from the Greek goddess by adopting its name, Dorset Cereals steals from the typewriter typeface by incorporating it as part of its visual brand identity. In using this typeface, Dorset Cereals uses its associated meanings. Similarly, we can place art as the signifier in this model. The word art or the idea of art, as we have already discussed, signifies anti-materialism. In using art, Dorset Cereals uses art s associated antimaterialist values. The whole picture As Saussure says, signs cannot operate in isolation. Before exploring what these signs are not, let us first assess their relationship to one another. All of these elements are selected from different paradigms (material, typeface, etc.) to form a syntagm. This syntagm can be defined as the Gestalt: the collection of images, each reinforcing one another (Berger, 2005b: 22). Each of the elements come together to form a kind of bricolage, to use Claude Levi-Strauss term (Williamson, 1978: 101). In reference to Barthes anchoring (1991), we could say that all of the elements anchor one another. To restrict ambiguity and 27

29 confusion, advertisers use signs in conjunction with others as to solidify their meaning (Thwaites, Davis, Mules, 1994, Lacey, 1998). Here, the elements are used in conjunction with one another, reinforcing each other s meaning and fixating the whole message to limit ambiguous interpretation. Only in a collection, or Gestalt, can each of the elements have meaning; on their own they are not as meaningful. The elements only have meaning because of the way in which they are reinforced by one another to create a collective genre of honesty. If Dorset Cereals was a person... Echoing Baudrillard, Dorset Cereals is not sold in use-terms, as a food, but in human and social terms, as honest. In this way, Dorset Cereals encourages consumers to think of the brand as a human being. Since it is sold to us in these terms, let us think of Dorset Cereals as a person. If Dorset Cereals was a person, he would be open, friendly, and genuine and have nothing to hide. He would do his bit for the environment. He would have an affinity with pre-digital technology and would like to type with his vintage typewriter. He would appreciate the simpler things in life. He would like things as nature intended it, especially his food. He would appreciate art and minimalist design. He would be passionate about his work. He would be unconventional, a little bit different from all of the rest. He would dislike commercialism, materialism and consumerism. Just how Innocent adorns its produce with an angel s halo; and just how Quaker Oats clothes its produce in Quaker garb, Dorset Cereals dresses its produce in a modern-day-honest-man s costume. It is what this imagined trustworthy and honest man has done with the produce that certifies Dorset Cereals honesty. What Dorset Cereals is not It is very difficult to explain why Dorset Cereals conveys notions of honesty without negation. Dorset Cereals looks honest because it is not shiny and glossy; it does not use 28

30 simulated images; it looks like a great piece of minimalist design and so not just another consumer package busy with persuasive marketing; it has cut-out windows to reveal its products, it has nothing to hide; it comes across as unconventional, perhaps informal, suggesting its non-conformity and non-corporate values. It is incredibly difficult to define Dorset Cereals brand communications without firstly explaining what it is not. How different Dorset Cereals is to its competitors is its most effective unique selling point. As Williamson says, products are sold on the basis of what they are not more for what they are. In order for us to work out what Dorset Cereals is trying to say about its brand, we must work back-to-front and ask what it is not trying to say about its brand? Let us find the opposite of each of the elements of design: Dorset Cereals is not an advocate of consumerist and materialist values, it does not practice unethical and unsustainable environmental practices, it does not celebrate the complexities of modernity, and it is not capable of adult-like deceit, and it is not corporate and formal. And through understanding what Dorset Cereals is not, we can come to understand how all of these seemingly unrelated concepts come to not signify the dishonesty associated with consumerist values, unsustainability, corporate bodies, etc. Subsequently, because it does not signify dishonesty, it therefore signifies its opposite: honesty. We can sum up by saying where there is choice there is meaning, and the meaning of what was chosen is determined by the meaning of what was not (Fiske, 1990: 58). Meanings are not fixed in nature It is important to note at this point that these meanings (typewriter = pre-digital nostalgia; matte cardboard = environmental sustainability) are not fixed in nature and are certainly not true. As highlighted by Fiske, Hall, Aiello, etc., due to their arbitrary nature, 29

31 meanings are subject to change. The typewriter can only symbolise simplicity, authenticity, and pre-digital nostalgia now. When the typewriter was first invented it was most probably regarded as complex. In fact, writing in the late 1940s, Martin Heidegger said the typewriter poses a threat to the authenticity of handwriting, believing it conceals the personal character of the author, thereby contributing to the homogenisation of modern humanity (cited by Zimmerman, 1999: 206). Dorset Cereals wants to signify the exact opposite of the homogenisation of modern humanity ; the brand wants to preserve the authenticity Heidegger proposes the typewriter eradicates. The meaning of the typewriter in time has evolved. A significant amount of time has had to have passed in order for the typewriter to be seen in the eyes of the consumer as a fondly-remembered relic of the past. The typewriter only has its pre-digital nostalgia and qualities of authenticity only because of the existence of modern technology today, and what modern technology represents today. Similarly, it is not a fact that cardboard is the most environmentally-friendly material. In the 1990s, McDonald s infamous clamshell packaging came under scrutiny after an investigation proved that the production of the polystyrene clamshells was releasing pollutant gases into the air. After much criticism, the fast-food giant was forced to switch to cardboard packaging. The cardboard packaging was and still is coated in plastic, thus making it difficult to recycle (Pratkanis and Aronson, 2001). Interestingly, studies concluded that the cardboard packaging is actually worse for the environment than the polystyrene clamshells. But because the polystyrene became synonymous with pollution, McDonald s could not revert back to its old packaging, even if it was better for the environment (Pratkanis and Aronson, 2001). As Barthes (1973) would comment, cardboard as a sign or symbol of environmental sustainability is a myth. Dorset Cereals cardboard is not coated in plastic, but why wasn t another material such as polystyrene or a recyclable plastic chosen? Despite cardboard, polystyrene and plastic 30

32 all serving the same recyclable function, the symbolic value differs for each material. Cardboard is known to be friendly for the environment and so it is easier for Dorset Cereals to rely on this pre-existing knowledge rather than attempt to cultivate new knowledge. It would have taken McDonald s a significant amount of money to launch a marketing campaign educating consumers on the plight of the clamshells and how they are actually more beneficial for the environment (Pratkanis and Aronson, 2001). Challenging this longstanding belief of cardboard as the ultimate environmentally friendly material could have jeopardised Dorset Cereal s chances of coming across as sustainable and ethical. Consumers may not have chosen it on the basis of how unrecyclable it looked with polystyrene packaging, which could have been damaging for the brand. Perhaps when Dorset Cereals has an advertising budget the size of McDonald s they could then educate and challenge widely held beliefs. To challenge perceptions as a new product would be too risky. As Williamson, Goldman and Papson, Wernick, etc. have highlighted, it remains in a brand s best interests to work with commonly-held beliefs and widely-accepted systems of meaning to ensure consumers do not misinterpret their messages. Dorset Cereals paradox Dorset Cereals offers consumers the opportunity to access an unadulterated world, free from the artificialities of modernism. Dorset Cereals offers anti-consumerist values in a very consumerist environment (in the supermarket), which is paradoxical. The artificialities of modernism are a by-product of capitalist consumer culture, a system of which Dorset Cereals is part of and heavily relies upon to sustain it. Where would Dorset Cereals be if it were not for the dishonest supermarkets to supply them? Where would Dorset Cereals be if it were not for the capitalist systems it strives to oppose? Dorset Cereals sells anti-consumerism via consumerism. For Goldman and Papson (1996), this is not uncommon in advertisements that make appeals to authenticity. They suggest that advertisers offer the problem as the 31

33 solution. Ironically, they say, it is the catalysts of consumer culture (advertisements) that try to offer consumers authenticity via the thing that displaced it in the first place: consumerism. Similarly, Wernick (1997) finds how advertisers offer consumers with an opportunity to get back to nature, authenticity, the good old days through consumerism. He comments how advertisements provoke an unquenchable desire to return, crossed with the realisation that it is impossible (1997: 221). Dorset Cereals very much relies up that which it seeks to oppose, which is contradictory. After all, like Nestlé or Kellogg s or any other global FMCG, Dorset Cereals is part of consumerism and mass-production. If we take away the honest packaging design what we are left with is just another mass-manufactured cereal. 32

34 CONCLUSION It is not enough to claim that a typewriter typeface suggests honesty, or cardboard material suggests honesty. Out of context, these claims are unjustified and baseless. It is only when we pair the supposed honest components with their logical opposition that they can begin to make sense as signifiers of honesty. The packaging requires us to identify the components logical oppositions. Only once they are identified can they become meaningful. Dorset Cereals works by distinction and by negation, fitting perfectly with Saussure s theory of how signs are defined negatively, by what they are not, as opposed to positively, by what they are. Dorset Cereals is defined by what it is not. On the other hand, Kellogg s, Nestlé, and Weetabix are defined positively by what they are: glossy and shiny (and thus artificial); enhanced and edited (and thus dishonest and deceptive). As Saussure says, signs cannot operate in isolation; signs gain their meanings from other signs. Without the competitors gloss and enhancements, Dorset Cereals could not present the opposite: matte and simplified. Or, it could, but it would not be as meaningful without the opposite to reinforce it. Dorset Cereals visual cues are not as emphatic or expressive unless the logical oppositions are known beforehand. If Dorset Cereals was the only brand in the supermarket, it could not possibly communicate notions of honesty because it would have no other (dishonest) brands to compare itself against. As the one and only, Dorset Cereals packaging would be the standard packaging. Only because it is one of many can Dorset Cereals work by distinction. Imagine if Dorset Cereals was the only packaging and had set the standard for cereal packaging. Other cereal brands would copy the standard cereal packaging. Now, imagine five brands all with different variations of the standard minimalistic design, cut-out windows, retro typefaces, and muted and wholesome colours. A new cereal brand looking to challenge the cereal market (as Dorset Cereals did) would have to work by distinction and be what the majority were not: coated in gloss with digitally enhanced photographs. 33

35 Conventionalisation Standardisation is an issue for consumer brands, particularly for niche brands that make their mark by being just that, niche. What happens when Dorset Cereals design is copied by the majority? Conventionalisation can be damaging for brands that have worked to build up specific meanings. Conventionalisation occurs when unique cultural practices are subjected to homogeneity, losing their original imaginative impact (Fiske, 1990: 103). As displayed above, if all brands had the same visual cues, their meanings would become standardised. As Fiske (1990) says, if all photos were photographed with soft lighting then this technique could no longer connote nostalgia. We can already see this process of conventionalisation taking place (Figure 15). Like Dorset Cereals, McDonald s too wanted to convey notions of honesty and transparency (Boxer, 2013, DBA, 2013), and like Dorset Cereals, McDonald s too won a DBA Effectiveness Award for its packaging two years later in McDonald s makes use of natural and wholesome colours, minimalist design, and hand-drawn arrows to shift a negative mindset, driven adverse publicity, to one that was positive and based upon the truth (Boxer, 2013). As soon as we have discovered the visual cues of honesty no sooner have they become clichéd. As Goldman and Papson put it: The dilemma of authenticity in the age of the commodity signs is that no sooner does something become recognised as a mark of authenticity than it gets appropriated and transformed into a common sign. Goldman and Papson, 1996: 143 If Dorset Cereals does not innovate soon, it will no longer connote honesty. Its design will soon become standardised, thus rendering its visual cues meaningless. What will the future vision of honesty look like? Pearlfisher s Darren Foley may have an answer. Foley (2013) states how the use of matte cardboard packaging is beginning to look tired and overdone. Perhaps Foley s criticism stems from the fact that Dorset Cereals Big Fish is a rival creative agency to Pearlfisher. Nonetheless, he believes brands 34

36 Like Dorset Cereals need to evolve and disassociate themselves with overused conventions to remain relevant and meaningful to consumers. As discussed, meanings within every sphere of life are subject to change with time; from the food and drink industry to design. As a synchronic study, my analysis has an expiry date. My findings are perhaps only relevant to the years 2012/13, for in 10 years time what signifies honesty will have changed. As Fowles states, advertisements are telling of their time. Others may look back in decades to come and may see how Dorset Cereals packaging design reflected 2012/13 s issues of consumer cynicism and distrust, the need for authenticity, and the yearning for a pre-digital, simpler world. Suggestions for further study I wish to reiterate the fact that this study is in no way definitive. Instead, I have offered an informed interpretation. I hope that others want to challenge and develop upon my ideas. Honest branding is a relatively new trend and understandably there is little academic research covering it. Additionally, since packaging has only recently come into its own as an advertising medium, this area too lacks academic and semiotic research. This study has dealt with the visual aspects of Dorset Cereals brand communications. It would be useful to investigate the brand s verbal communications. Dorset Cereals use of Innocent-like, twee language ( It s like a big fat hug from your favourite Aunt ), its use of negation ( and absolutely nothing else ) and references to simpler and traditional methods of production ( gently baked the traditional way ; simple, but then the best things in life usually are ) are all significant in constructing and communicating honesty. Since Dorset Cereals speaks to us in social and human terms, it would be interesting to see how the product is used in a social context. Using social semiotics, others could look into how Dorset Cereals is used as a prop for identity construction and communication. As we have discovered, Dorset Cereals communicates very specific social and cultural values. Do people use the product as green 35

37 bling as Greyson Perry would suggest? (In The Best Possible Taste, 2012). Is the product used by consumers to communicate to their peers that they too are honest, real, ethical, anticonsumerist? And finally, as of 8 th April 2013, Dorset Cereals aired its first national television advertisement ( In our complicated world, it s good to know that Dorset Cereals still keep it simple... Just the best natural ingredients, and that s it... Breakfast, far from the madding crowd, with Dorset Cereals ). This advertisement makes themes of anti-modernism very explicit; analysing these themes could be very interesting. 36

38 FIGURES Figure 1. Green & Black s, Yeo Valley, Bear Nibbles, Dorset Cereals, Clipper Tea Examples of honest, ethical food producers - but how do these brands communicate their honest credentials? Figure 2. Innocent Smoothies The visual signifier of the halo and the brand name convey Innocent s innocence. 37

39 Figure 3. Dorset Cereals award winning packaging design, created by Big Fish Using packvertising to convey brand values via packaging. Figure 4. Catherine Deneuve signifies sophisticated French chic Williamson applies Saussure s signifier-signified theory to illustrate how Deneuve has become a sign in a system. I have applied Barthes denotation-connotation. 38

40 Figure 5. A visualisation of Williamson s hollowing out theory Chanel hollows out Catherine Deneuve s meaning and places its brand within it so that Chanel comes to signify what Deneuve does: sophisticated French chic. 39

41 Figure 6. Dorset Cereals packaging 40

42 Figure 7. Dorset Cereals colour scheme Dorset Cereals refers to nature with muted and earthy colours. Figure 8. Dorset Cereals typeface: ICT American Typewriter. 41

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