Misinterpretations of Advertisements


Media messages are produced, disseminated, and interpreted in different ways. TV and other media audiences are presented with messages that are decoded or interpreted in various ways and can mean something completely different to various people. It depends on an individual’s cultural background, economic standing, and personal experiences. The audience can play an active role in decoding messages as they rely on their own social contexts, and might be capable of changing messages themselves through collective action. This article, “12 Offensive Advertisements You Shouldn’t Mimic Under Any Circumstances” by Jenna Markowski, gives a couple great example of advertisements that have gone wrong. These advertisements were clearly done wrong by the company. The encoding of a message is the production of the message. It is a system of coded meanings, and in order to create that, the sender needs to understand how the world is comprehensible to the members of the audience. The decoding of a message is how an audience member is able to understand, and interpret the message. Having advertisements that are interpreted in the wrong way could cause the company to lose their loyal customers and all the money that was invested into the campaign. According to the article, more than one third of Americans will choose not to purchase a brand due to “distasteful advertisements.”


This following advertisement for “Mr.Clean” can be seen as sexist. It says, “This Mother’s Day, get back to the job that really matters. This message could be misunderstood and seen as the company being sexist and telling moms and women “to go back to the kitchen.” 


 This following advertisement for “playstation” can be misinterpreted as well. It says, “Playstation. Portable White is coming.” This could be seen as sony being racist. Consumers were outraged by it, and the ad was removed. 


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