Marketing Code-X

Gas Up

Image for Gas Up

Folgers Black Silk ground coffee pack

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.

Community Espresso RTD

GAS UP” NORM: The human body is an engine, and coffee is its fuel.

Dunkin’ commercial

GAS UP” FORMS: Associations with gasoline, oil — literal engine fuel. Coffee packaging that is industrial in shape and color; looks like something you’d find at your car mechanic’s shop. Association of coffee with cars, racing. People shown gassing up on coffee — like robots running low on fuel. Mechanistic language about humans. “Fuel up.” “America runs on Dunkin’.” “Sip Dunkin’, start runnin’.”

From a 2021 study of the RISE & GRIND territory (within the US Coffee space).

Tags: CODE-X, Coffee, Rise and Grind