Marketing Code-X

We’re With You

Image for We’re With You

Darn Tough 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.

Eddie Bauer ad

WE’RE WITH YOU” NORM: The brand is your partner in adventure — a wingman or sherpa, there to support and assist you.

Columbia ad (detail)

WE’RE WITH YOU” FORMS: Adventurers out in wilderness, challenging situations; juxtaposed with supportive messaging. Language is supportive: “Supporting greatness.” And also reassuring: e.g., “Guide built,” “Tested tough.”

From a 2017 study of the Adventure space in US brand communications. This particular code is an example of “table stakes” for any brand playing in this space; that is to say, it’s a code that can support any positioning.

Tags: Adventure, CODE-X