Gender in Audio-visual Advertisements in Ghana: A Semiotics Analysis

Proceedings of The World Conference on Social Sciences

Year: 2019


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Gender in Audio-visual Advertisements in Ghana: A Semiotics Analysis

Daniel Edem Adzovie, Rita Holm Adzovie and Enoch Boateng




Advertisements, no matter the form, are ubiquitously part of our daily lives and these advertisements carry meanings. Advertisements are open to be read as text wherever they are published in the digital space. The authors examine how gender is presented in Adonko bitters audio-visual advertisement (ad) in Ghana. Rolland Barthes’ concepts of denotation and connotation in the sign system was used to examine the denotative and connotative meanings of body movement, image, and sound in the Adonko bitters audio-visual ad. A semi-structured interview guide was used to interview six respondents, which confirmed Barthes’ approach of the analysis of concrete sign vehicles as vehicles of culture and ideology or myth which reinforces society’s expectations of male gender. It is also revealing, from the discussion that media play contributory roles in strengthening further the assumption that women are ‘objects’ meant to please men. It emerged from the selected signs that women were portrayed as dependent beings, contrary to the perceptive societal stereotypes. The authors conclude that Adonko bitters audio-visual ad conveys a message contrary to society’s expectations regarding gender roles. The media must make conscious efforts to redirect discussions around gender stereotyping by highlighting the realities of society. Advertising practitioners as well as advertisers must desist from portraying women in ways that reinforce societal gender stereotyping.

Keywords: Adonko bitters; Advertisement; Connotation/Denotation; Gender roles; Audio-visual; Stereotypes.