Who are the Ad Wizards?

Welcome to Anchorage

February 26, 2010
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In our class discussion about Visual Culture: A Reader, we talked about what anchorage really means. What I believe Barthes was driving to is the idea that when words and images interact, the words often gives the proper context to the image. The “proper” context is dependent on the author.

This context that author provides is the “remote control” factor that Barthes mentioned. The context is the ability of the author to see an image and notice only what the author wants you to notice.

Let’s take Stevie Wonder for example.

With one look at Stevie Wonder, we see him as a famous blind musician.

When we have Stevie Wonder in a commercial for Volkswagen, the words that are contained in the commercial point us to only notice that he is blind. His musical abilities have no bearing on the message.

Without the words, it just looks like a bunch of people punching each other. Then we end with the VW logo and slogan. Because of the final image being of the VW logo, we may then interpret what we saw previously as a game of Punch Buggy. But it would require the audience to pay close attention throughout, and we may miss the Stevie Wonder joke.

Instead, the copywriters at Deutsch LA gave us the proper anchor to understand the joke.