Less Is More: The Image Cannot Lie

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 11.51.49 am

The photo above is a print advertisement for Durex Condoms, presumably promoting safe sex in a funny way, however let’s dig a little deeper and break this down…in the photo the denotation (what the photo is of), otherwise known as signifiers, is a baby seat with a $217 price tag, and the Durex logo, tagged with a $2.50 price.

The connotations, or, signifieds (what the image refers to) are interesting; Durex is using a “less is more” approach for this ad, and it plays off pretty well. The image is referring to the costs of not practicing safe sex, while at the same time advertising that a $2.50 box of Durex condoms is A LOT better than the $217 you’d have to pay for a baby seat if you DIDN’T use a condom (preferably a Durex?).

The simplicity makes this an effective ad, and this cannot be read in any more than one way, however, while researching for this picture, I found that this and similar ads have a niche group of people complaining that having a baby is all about the money and not about the love…so apart from that view, the only way you can really see this in more than one way is that if you have very extreme negative views on ads, other than that, I guess well, you’re…safe.


One Comment

  1. This image made me smile.

    I think you wrote about it well.

    For me, i like that the image is also very deliberately been created to almost have a PG rating, even though it has themes about sex. The advertisement could be displayed at bus stops or near school and probably not receive any complaints from the more prudish amongst us.

    Its very clever in that by only displaying two very simple objects with price tags attached – ( the denotation), what we see (the connotation) is so much more.

    It brings up questions about safe sex, contraception, cost of living, sexual health, relationships- just to name a few.

    But if you were younger, or perhaps just VERY innocent, it would simply be an add for a babies car seat. Showing that a different audience would see a different meaning. Also, by not being too explicit the advertisers have also broadened the amount of places it can be seen.

    You have found a great example to discuss here.



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