Marketing Code-X

Hard to Believe

Image for Hard to Believe

AIRBNB commercial

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.

Subaru commercial

HARD TO BELIEVE” NORM: Pinch me, I must be dreaming. This is too good to be true. Product or service quality causing stunned amazement.

Target commercial

HARD TO BELIEVE” FORMS: Stunned, ecstatic facial expressions. Gorgeous real-life moments, visuals. People laughing in surprised disbelief. Tonality is shock and awe. “Impossible.” “Damn, that’s good.” “I can’t believe it.” “No way!”

From a 2019 audit of the “Dream Life” space. Defined as: Makes me feel self-reliant, able to take action by inspiring me, validating my innermost desires, thrilling and amazing me.

Tags: CODE-X, Dream Life