Samsung’s latest advertising campaign for the Galaxy S8 plasters the subway station at Canal Street. The campaign, “Unbox your phone,” underscores the benefits of the new product through the signified meanings present in the photograph of the ad.
To understand the deeper meanings of the ad, it is necessary to examine the ad in its denotative sense. The ad is based on a photograph that shows the lower half of a large whale swimming in the deep, dark ocean. A scuba diver beneath the whale shines bright lights on the whale. A clear glass Galaxy S8 is overlayed on the photograph at the center of the image. The words “Unbox your phone” are centered on the image.
The ad’s deeper connotative meanings are symbolized by many aspects of the photograph, notably the scuba diver and the ocean. The scuba diver, an individual whose activity is inherently adventurous and out of the ordinary, symbolizes that the Galaxy S8 and its users are not ordinary. Rather, the Galaxy enables ambitious achievement and exploration and allows its users to do things they never imagined–whether physically or through the Internet. The ocean is also an important symbol because it symbolizes immense freedom–it is the ocean that enables the exploring scuba diver to overcome gravity and other physical forces that would normally inhibit him. This sense of freedom conveyed by the oceans drives home the message that the Galaxy is a phone free of technological restraints, enabling capabilities and functioning previously unknown and ready to be explored.
Overall, the ad asserts through the use of semiotics that the product overcomes technological restraints, empowering users to do more with their cell phones than ever before. The message that the phone is “unboxed” carries double meaning, for not only is the phone “unboxed” in the sense that the screen wraps from edge to edge, but also in the sense that this phone is certainly “out of the box–” it is a phone conceived of and developed out of the box to help the customer do what was never before thought possible on a smartphone.