Because the framework of this commercial is already set, or the company assumes viewers already know that LVRS makes clothing, analyzing the signifiers in this commercial is a good route to take to uncover more meaning.

While Tanya’s reading was spot-on in regards to the appearance of a celebrity and the importance of a scriptless sequence in this commercial’s attempt to interpellate its viewers, it was a macro look at the commodity sign. Here, I’ll look at the signifiers, signified, and recombination for a micro look a la Roland Barthes at this commercials accelerated meaning.

In the first frame, we see buildings in the background and a Black man presumably on a rooftop. These are the signifiers – alone they mean very little but in there totality, or recombination, and with some memory we can begin to understand the brand and identify with the product . In this first message, we can tell by the setting that the man is “cool.” The buildings are there to signify what’s urban. The rooftop is there to signify risk-taking. (In most buildings, access to the rooftop is denied unless there’s an emergency or you’re the supperintendent.)

The man’s smoking and his multiple gold chains bring back memories of hip-hop. Rappers are usually the ones to wear “bling-bling.” There are few rap videos without a scene of a smoker blowing out fumes. Snoop Dogg is probably most notable for puffing into the camera. So even without knowing who the man is in the real world, the signifiers, combined, tell us that he is part of hip-hop culture.

In the next scene, the setting remains the same, but his clothing changes. He is wearing an denim jacket and skinny jeans, and as Tanya pointed, he’s daytime shadow boxing. Here is where the advertisers ask us to make an interpretive leap. From our previous experience with hip-hop culture, we know that rappers usually wear baggy pants. This signifies that the man is part of the new hip-hop culture, which is original, refined, diverse and intelligent – traits not usually assigned to the old hip-hop culture.

His shadow boxing is also a conscious effort at connecting hip-hop to what’s refined. In this instance, the signifier – his jumping around, throwing punches in the air in slow motion – calls on our knowledge of boxing. His smooth movements remind us of the singular, most celebrated boxer Mohammad Ali. These movements say that the man is unique, strong, and like Ali, classic both as timeless and elegant.

Last we have the linguistic message. In this commercial there are two: the name of the brand and the collection of hats; and the writing on the cap itself, “worldwide.” Again, alone this word would mean very little but in this context the signifier points to cosmopolitanism and wealth. To be worldwide is to travel and learn.

The music, although no words are spoken on the track, furthers what’s signified throughout the commercial. The drums and the bridge that are used can easily be identified as hip-hop; however, the speed of the music is unusual for the genre. Here, the slow rhythm and percussion is recombined to signify tranquility – not usually found in the commonly violent and abrupt style of music. It directs viewers away from the world of hip-hip affiliated to the gangster rappers and moves them to one associated with The Pharcyde and Commonwho are known for smooth beats and deep lyrics. They’re careful, smart and smooth, like those who wear LVRS.

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