Marketing Code-X

Real Talk

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2020 campaign by McCann for the contraceptive ring Annovera

The CODE-X series catalogs a vast codex of source codes (aka “signs”) extracted from past audits.

The object of study in semiotics is not the signs but rather a general theory of signification; the goal of each “audit” is to build a model demonstrating how meaning is produced and received within a category or cultural territory. Signs on their own, therefore, only become truly revelatory and useful once we’ve sorted them into thematic complexes, and the complexes into codes, and the codes into a meaning map. We call this process “thick description”; the Code-X series is thin description.

REAL TALK” NORM: Bravely starting uncomfortable conversations, about topics guaranteed to make people uncomfortable, hurt, and/or angry.

REAL TALK” FORMS: People — often women — hunkering down for a difficult discussion. Provocative, super-direct tonality. “Friendship and forgiveness for racists.” “How to deal with your white friends when it’s time to take care of you.” “No, Jesus doesn’t want you to struggle with your sexuality.”

From a 2020 study of the Multicultural Life space, on behalf of an HIV prevention medication.

Tags: CODE-X, Female Empowerment, Femininity