Even if the entire city is on fire and aliens are attacking the citizens, a parent’s number one duty is to find milk for their children.
In a recent Super Bowl ad, actor and professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson collaborated with Milk Mustache “Got Milk?” Campaign to demonstrate how important it is for a parent to make sure their children get milk and the essential nutrients for breakfast. In this commercial, his children respond in disbelief when Dwayne Johnson says, “We’re out of milk.” Then, on the way to get a carton of milk, he runs into the most ludicrous events, ranging from a child asking for help in rescuing her kitten to an elderly who’s screaming for help in a car trapped under a ferocious lion. Yet, Johnson only looks at the milk truck and doesn’t stop to help his neighbors.
Therefore, what does this ad signify? An advertisement introduces signifiers that “act as the material vehicle of meaning” and the signified that represents its “abstract side” (164). Semiotics plays a role in advertising because advertisers address certain signs that interpellate us as consumers to become believers or participants of the ad campaign. We not only support the ideologies presented in the ads as true, but also actively participate in the process by identifying with them in our daily lives. We ultimately “create a code that unites the designer and reader” (164).
This Super Bowl ad is highly exaggerated with humor to emphasize the importance of milk and ultimately targets average families in the United States with the notion that milk is always a necessity in normal American homes. For example, from the beginning, the casting of children and a parent immediately suggests a home-like setting, which indicates that the targeted audience for this ad is most likely a traditional family. Dwayne Johnson’s muscular and masculine physique also signifies the parent’s role as dependable and protective, which is what the advertisers seem to want to portray to their audience. He acts as a superhero for his children, but not necessarily to his neighbors and those that are actually in need and in emergency situations. At the end of the clip, he tells his children, “Ladies, gotta go to work” and punches an alien out the window while drinking a cup of milk. This sort of domestic classification demonstrates the power of milk in an average American household. Johnson acts as the definition of the perfect American father and reminds viewers of the cultural norm that kids need their parents to supply them with breakfast and more importantly, with milk. Additionally, we see signs of Johnson’s averageness through the clothes he wears in the ad. He simply wears a gray shirt and blue pajamas bottoms, which suggests that he is not necessarily poor yet he is also not exceptionally wealthy. Thus, his attire hints at the idea of affordability of milk that suggests a socially accepted value in the American society. It signifies that milk is the ideal drink for children because of its expensiveness and abundance of protein and nutrients that are necessary for growing kids.