Denotations of an old navy advert.
I first see the man in a navy sailor uniform, wearing an old fashioned white sailor hat. He’s sat on an orange missile or mini submarine, and then I notice the date (1917) in the university’s write up and decide it’s probably a missile. Words encourage FIGHTING MEN to sign up to the navy. Bold lettering in red and navy stand out at the bottom of the poster. The missile is moving, demonstrated with splashes from the water bouncing as high as the man’s head. The man on the missile is holding a fuse in his hand.
Connotations are put forward by the question, suggesting the missile is phallic, but I don’t see it. I see a cowboy riding a bull or a wild horse at a county fair. With a whip in his hand, holding on tightly to the bucking missile as it jumps across the water’s surface. A real man, a man’s man, an all American cowboy is suggested by this poster. The sense of danger and excitement emphasised by the raised hand as if the missile isn’t dangerously jumping all over the place, it needs inciting to be more treacherous by the whip/fuse.
I read into the poster that the navy are looking for the daring adventurous men to board their ships. The kind who’d jump on the bullock at the fair to try his chances at whatever prize is on offer.
Denotation: The poster above shows a hand drawn green hand, with pink fingernails. There are blue droplets falling towards the hand. “Why you need to wash your hands!” along with other messages, are written by hand followed by “Wash your Hands!” MRSA Action UK is printed in the top left corner, with Mid Yorkshire Hospitals and the NHS logo top right.
Connotation: The picture is clearly drawn by a child, with uneven handwriting around it. Although the written messages are clear, washing hands removes germs, the implied messages are interesting. The green hands imply dirt or illness, or in the world of animations, evil hands. I believe that the use of a child’s drawing is to shame adults into washing their hands. Even a child knows to wash their hands, that it stops germs. If a nine year old knows this then an adult has no excuses.
The poster was part of a group of posters designed in collaboration between the NHS trust in Yorkshire and the MRSA charity to reduce MRSA figures.
Chris Cruise, Head of Infection Prevention and Control at the Trust said: “It’s very important to get children involved, they see the world from a simplistic perspective and they have no preconceived ideas, they say it how they see it. Or draw it as they see it, as we found in the poster competition, the designs the children produced were very good!”
After reading Chis’ description, as to why they use a child’s drawing, I’m still believing it has more to do with budgets, lack of funding and shaming adults.