Semiotic Analysis – Opel Ad

Opel Advertisement

(McCan Erickson Frankfurt, ‘Traffic Light’)

Chandler states the three orders of signification as being denotative on the first order, meaning purely representational; connotative on the second order, which references the values attached to a sign. The third order is myth, which references culturally-accepted values that are seen as normal, or natural (Chandler 2014). We can explore these ideas in reference to the above image for the car manufacturing company Opel.

The denotations of the ad are the traffic light, the green light in particular, the paper bag and clouds; as well as the logo and text on the right side of the image.

The connotations of this ad are that the cars advertised will allow you to go fast without stopping – the absence of the red and yellow lights implies that the driver doesn’t need to worry about arbitrary road rules when in their car. The image of the traffic light with the tagline “Pure Passion” may connote that when the driver is passionate about cars, they can simply ignore other distractions and focus on the experience of driving. The tagline also implies that these cars are designed to be driven by those passionate about cars.

The myths implied in the advertisement are that car-enthusiasts are averse to road rules, and often break laws in order to pursue a purer driving experience. The other commonly accepted myth here is that a high-performance vehicle should be driven on long, open roads where the driver never has to stop.

Reference List:

Chandler D 2014, Semiotics for Beginners: Denotation, Connotation and Myth, Visual Memory, viewed 2 November 2015,

McCann Erickson Frankfurt, ‘Traffic Light’ [image], Opel OPC Range: “Traffic Light” Print Ad, Coloribus, viewed 5 November 2015,


2 thoughts on “Semiotic Analysis – Opel Ad

  1. Hey Ruby,
    You’ve summed up Chandler’s orders of signification perfectly so great job! You made it very clear and understandable which helped me a lot.
    The advertisement that you chose is really interesting! I like the way they’re used a traffic light; when we see the different colours of a traffic light, we automatically know how to react to them.
    I find the dark clouds an interesting contrast to the green “go” signal. And how the paper bag is covering all other signs that we know to mean slow down, or stop; leaving no other option but to GO! I think this is a myth that should be considered also.
    I really enjoyed the way you analysed this advertisement Ruby, Well done 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s