Marketing Code-X

Ironic Bling

Image for Ironic Bling

Crown Royal ad

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.


IRONIC BLING” NORM: A hyperbolic, self-aware evolution of dominant status symbol coding in this category — pushing the connection of Brown Spirits with aristocracy and wealth to an absurd degree.

Jack Daniels ad

IRONIC BLING” FORMS: Explicit bragging about wealth and success. “Don’t just stand there drooling. Get rich.” “I expect people to serve me.” (Courvoisier). “Here’s to outdoing the neighbors.” (Crown Royal). Expensive hobbies — fast cars, cigars. Velvet — clothing and furniture. Color—jewel tones (purple and deep red especially). Animals — tigers, lions, fancy dog breeds. Over the top design elements.

From a 2016 study of the STATUS SYMBOL space — within the Brown Spirits category.

Tags: CODE-X, Spirits, Whiskey