The Structural Factor in Systems of Communication Author(s): Varda Leymore Reviewed work(s): Source: The British Journal of Sociology

, Vol. 33, No. 3 (Sep., 1982), pp. 421-434 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The London School of Economics and Political Science Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/589485 . Accessed: 09/02/2012 02:51
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one that is capable of conveying meaning. using all the multi-brand campaigns of one product field. and at worst fragmentary pieces from an unknown jigsaw puzzle. a true ccfmmunication system. Happiness and Misery. 1982 0007 1315/82/3303-0421 .e. 'Who said what to whom by what means and with what effect' The BritishJournalof Sociology Volume33 S1. the structural definitions vary in their ability to bring about the desired action on the part of the recipient of the communication. that underlying the great heterogeneity in the system of appearances. This seems to confirm the key claim of structuralism. Persuasion by advertising. It begins by outlining briefly the relevant principles of structuralism and the methodological tools that follow from them. The paper discusses the nature of the structures and a number of related theoretical issues stemming from them. Life and Death. It shows that the process of decoding results in an underlying structural definition of a binary type. baby foods. Second.P. More specifically. the underlying structural definitions in advertising invariably involve a formula which equates the use and the non-use of the product with the great universal dilemmas of the human condition e. The method is then illustrated. there are a limited number of structuring rules or unifying principles. Such a structure is indispensable to the understanding of the message. i. A series of related communications which do not form a system are at best cataloFes. in this instance. must possess an underlying structure. Good and Evil. namely.g. Similar binary structures were obtained when the method was employed on a large number of both static (press) and dynamic (television) advertising campaigns.50 421 Number3 September1982 O RK. Third.VardaLeymore The structural * @ factor in systems of communlcatlon ABSTRACT The paper reports the results of a structural investigation into the nature of a competitive communication system with particular reference to advertising. therefore. operates as an unconscious mechanism of threat and promise.

since this was the sourceof my material. The system of communicationI have in mind is. merit is not judged by the joy of discourseor the beauty of the imagery. I will use advertisingas an examplethroughout.namely.The generalthrust of the enquiries concerned the four great manifestationsof the process of communication. with the express intent of achieving a goal.a gain of one is the loss of the other. the sources of communicationsare varied. and (b) Following from (a).but by the stark facts of winning or losing. one in which rivals seek to persuade. intensive campaigning may result in an overallexpansion.In the final analysis.where growthpotential has not been fully realized. I will first outline the set of conditions. is (c) As a result of (a) and (b).the receiverand the impact. thus.the result of the competition is zero-sum. but by no meansalways. the contents are used as a weapon in a competitive situation. the source. (d) The system of communicationconsists of a very largenumber of messages. the system is not freewheeling.which define the nature of the communicationsystem I have in mind. This essentially means that one seeks to understandcommunicationin terms of some governingprinciplesrather than specific contents.thereby creatingmore for all competitors.e. but the audienceto whom they areaddressed the same. The road opened to different approacheswith the great strides made by Noam Chomskyin linguisticsand Levi-Strauss in socialanthropology. YET THERE IS METHOD IN 'T" The essence of stiocturalismas a scientific approach rooted in the is belief that underlying the endless permutations and numerous . for instance. This possessesthe followingcharacteristics: (a) The contents of the system are goal-directed. often.422 VardaLeymore has been extensively analysed. But in non-mature markets. (e) The internal communicationshave to compete for attention with messages and circumstancesexternal to the system of communication underinvestigation. It Morespecifically. has a purposeto accomplish. This is certainly true of election campaignsand of many marketing situations. Paramount examplesare advertising election campaigns. The origins of this article are rooted in structuralism. 'THOUGH THIS BE MADNESS.i. the message. (f) The mediasourcesarepressand television. The principles must fulfil one demand only: that they be true whenever the set of conditions for which they have been formulated occur.

municationis organized (b) These principlesare unconscious. While there is little resistanceto the concept of innate programming as far as physical growth is concerned.To the question. Nothing is haphazard. though people will readily agree that (a) this happensregularly. the arsenalof words in a languagemust be orderedin a prescribed mannerin orderto convey meaning. in spite of the fact that he has no conception whatsoever demonstrated of what a languageis. In these more emotionally / loaded spheres it is safer. the public addressesin political campaigns-are regarded a code that must be decipheredin order to reveal the underlying rules. the idea that this could be extendedinto mental.2 Other questionsarise too: how does it happen that a young. LeviStrauss was able to show how these systems were designedto resocial values.Behaviourist of acquisition-the most universalcharacteristic the humanspecies mental capabilities-to aping.in spite of the fact that they are constantlyand rigorouslyapplied.4 Briefly. two or three years old bilingualchild never mixes the two languages. the theoryattributes capacityfor language learning Thus.how is it possiblefor a two year-old 'invent' sentences he has never heard before. structuring . one instinctivel feels. the commercials advertisas ing.and (b) that the child can give no accountof how he came to pronouncesuch linguistically accuratesentences. There is order in the seeming chaos. theoreticalperspective social or economic developmentis. In a differentfield.The structural factor in systems of communication 423 explicit manifestations. in his analysis of systems of mythology. speakersof the two languages he is able to translatefreely from one languageto another.and all he speakers meets areinstantlyallocatedto one or the otherlanguage category.it is neverthelesslisnited to an act of choice among permissiblealternatives.Moreover.the adhereto them consistently. at times.It acquisition was Chomskywho raisedthe simpleproblem:if language childto is foundedon emulation.thoughno one of influencedby theserulescouldsaywhatthey those most emphatically were. duringthe processof acquisition. To attributeultimate power to largelyunknownbut controlling principles of organizationis a dangerous delegation. Levi-Strauss that the exchangeof women follows certainrules.For instance.psychological.3 And again. comes the swift answer:by copying their instructors.there is a limited and binding set of rules.Even in areaswhere freedom seems boundless.how do people learn to speak.the contents of the surface comin munications-the myths in mythology. (c) The system of appearances.providedthat. structuralismmaintains that (a) any system of cc)maccordingto specificprinciples. though to those who told inforce certainfundamental them they werebut wonderfulsacredlegends. brandedas determinism and reductionism of the worst type. to depend on common sense.

i.Gandalfandnot Sarumanis the opposite of the Dark Lord.S Third. it is a fundamentalcontention of structuralism.In the social sciences they are not so readilyexploitable. that these elementary segments fall into a consistent pattern of binary oppositions. that the binarydimensiongood-evilis one axis. they cannot (usually) be worn together. though by no means the only axis.I would suggestthat all fall into tvzo mutually opposing categories:the good and the evil. Elves. Manand Woman. in terms of which all the eventsand characters in the book could be defined.Gollum. In a particularsentence. The Shire. once identified these binary oppositions can be groupedinto a conlprehensive system of relationships. Saruman the mediator is between the two since he is good turned evil.they are capableof formingparadigmatic relationships. and all the elementson the 'right'havethe same function which is converseto the one on the left.by no meansa simpletheoretical issue. otherwise known as the elementarysegmentsof the system. These areassociations by virtue of a shared function. linearalgebra. Shelob. Frodo. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings is undoubtedly one of the most complex literaryinventions of modern times. drawing upon linguisticsand other disciplines. The first involvesthe identification of the constituent parts. Since they serve the same function they can never appeartogether.6 In other words. all words thatcanserve.the functionof a noun.can be classifiedin The Lord of The Rings. . The Ring. At a risk of a gross simplificationone may ask: is there a principleaccordingto which such diverse constituent elements (selected at random) might be classified:Bilbo.but with some qualifications and amplifications they can be used.as indeed any animatedand unanimated'object'.To borrow perforce a technical expression. Second.They are the phonemes in linguistics or the mythemes in mythologics. a structure.e. a Black Rider. The pairsare not random. High and Low. The Dark Lord. form paradigmatic relationshipswith each other.computersciences. Hobbits. Rich and Poor. These are defined as the relevantminimalmeaningfulparts belonging to the communicationsystem under investigation. Black and White.The concept of the binary oppositionis widelyutilizedin its pureform (A and NOTA or O and 1) in logics.To cover one head. If trousersand skirt are garments whose function it is to cover the bottom half of the body.Aragorn Orcs. one may be able to discovera formulawherepairs of oppositions could be groupedinto a system of relationships. Mordor. one type of hat must be selectedat any particular momentin time. Gandalf.Saruman. It may thereforebe said.For instance.for instance.424 VardaLeymore (d) The decodingprocess follows three steps. These are dimensionsof the form Night and Day.by virtue of the fact that all the elementson the 'left' have the same function. By means of this single dimensionevery character. Trolls. The Dead Marshes. For instance.

9 of all the paradigmatic denominator An example may clarify matters. structural had to be developed. they are still but different and finite expressionsof their dimensions.8 The analysisfollowed four steps. THE METHOD APPLIED For reasons of pragmaticconveniencemy own empiricalevidence comes from advertising. essentially. a To decode the extensivenumberof advertisements.7 underlying This paperdoes not intend to debatethe meritsand shortcomings I of structuralism.Since advertising notoriouslyrepetitious. the constituentunits were is identified and recorded. the fundamental all such manifestations. It also states various facts about babies and their specialnature. The television commercials cover three product areas through a period of four yearseach. It draws linguistics and structuralanthropologyand.from the numerous manifestations. where does it lead us? In the an event. namely magazineand television advertisements. redundantelements were eliminated. paradigmatic relationshipsamongall the pairshad to be established.I pose only one question: were structuralismtrue. On the surface level. methodology heavily on set theory. static for advertising baby foods explores. to was a reductionoperation performed revealthe exhaustivecommon relationships. I believe the answersto be sufficientlyexcitingto warrant * a exposltlon.Second. First.providesa tool which enables one to 'travel back' or transform. and that in turn all these pairs are permutationson one or more basic structuraldimensions.which form the advertisingsystem of which control dimensions structural to appearances.In the same way that a simple grid of 2X2 can produce four different combinations.the themes of happiness(motherand baby) and growth. .It examinesthe way in whichbaby foods satisfy certainbasicdemands.It covers two types of advertising:static The and dynamic. assume that the approachhas some validity and modern proceed to exploreits implicationsfor a highlysophisticated communicationsystem of the type describedabove.But howevercomplex and variedthe manifestations may be.structural factor in systems of communication Thwe 425 theory one will maintainthat the myriad In terms of structuralist may be classifiedin of manifestationsin the system of appearances pairs of binary oppositions. a more complex grid sharplyincreasesthe number of possibilities. Third. pairsof binaryoppositions were sought and grouped together.And fourth.by meansof verbaland graphical illustration. of first includes all the advertisements five product areasappearing in weekly magazinesduring a period of one year.

however. Two.One. two commentsare in order. The surfacelevelmerelyclaimssomesuchthingsas 'the happiest sounds come from a baby fed on Heinz'. It follows.BALANCE) f(VARIETY. therefore.the seriesof paradigmatic relationships among the elementsmay be summarized the followingchain in of binaryoppositions: . It is explainedthat these two areessential for his healthy development. This is tantamountto sayingthat the level of redundancyis high.426 VardaLeymore It describes the versatile nature of the advertisedproducts. that they are both competent and capable of offering the mother the confidenceand reassurance she may require.is not only vital to his general well-being. The equationdrawnabove is the ultimate messagewhich the economy of the minddistillsfrom the many many claimsmade in their variousconfigurations. Every communicationsystem resorts to a certain amount of synonymousrepetitionin orderto establishthe messagemore firmly in the audiencemind. as wise and hygienic. At this stage. not of any individual campaign any specific for brand. Havingdone so all the claimscan be presentedas a function of each other in the following manner: BALANCE= GROWTH = HAPPY BABY = HAPPY MOTHER= VARIETY = f(VARIETY) f(VARIETY. it becomes clear that a few straightforward algebraicsubstitutions performedon the above equations will reduce all the attributesto the rangeof baby foods.it also has a lasting effect on the relationship betweenmotherand child. The final messageimprinted upon the consumermind is a result of all the advertisements active in the product field. Frequent allusions are made to the baby's need for variety and balanceddiet. it appears.HAPPY MOTHER) f(CONFIDENCE THE RANGE) IN RANGEOFFERED I have done so far nothing except getting rid of the obvious repetitions and arrangingthe remainingelements in the relationships which the advertisementsclaim for them.Diet. the ultimateequalityof the productrangewith all the claimsmadeis revealed not on the surface level but on the underlyingstructural level. since the whole object of advertising to inducepurchaseof some productor other.not to any individualbrand in the product area. The advertisements praisethe manufacturers knowledgeable. There is perhapsnothing strikingin this result. I very carefullyreferredthroughoutto the product range. is Havinggrantedthis obvious fact. To returnto the exampleabove.l°Morewill be said about this shortly. A first step towards abstractiondemandsthe elimination of such repetitiousstatements.

the scores of in account executives. a strong double edgedmessage. while manifestly baby food advertisementsoffer these productsfor a variety of good and worthy reasons:nutrition. The advertisersmerely set out to describea product in some attractiveterms that seem relevantto its content and potential use. balance.the remaining theme..g.HAPPINESS : UNHAPPINESS. growth. Very little informationwill be added by including and further elements such as 'delight'and 'sadness'. This is a powerfulmessageindeed. In this definition of all the advertisements partlcuar case lt 1S: * * @ BABY FOODS: NOTBABY FOODS -LIFE: DEATH To borrow yet again from linguistics theory. 427 The constituents in this paradigmare all members of the nonredundantset.Of course it is unthinkable for any advertiserin his right mind to deliberatelyutilize such a theme.factor in systemsof communication Thestructural BABY FOODS: NOTBABYFOODS. copy writersand occasionalideas originators agencies.andit is there by virtue of the fact that it was decipheredfrom all the advertisementsin the area. WASHING Other campaigns like POWDERS GOODis to EVIL. And most emphatically. And yet it is there.VARIETY : UNIFORMITY.ll Throughoutthe process of data accumulation. in the paradigmatic relationship above. LIFE is the signifier of BABY FOODS and DEATH is the signifier of NOT BABY FOODS. POWDERS yieldedsimilarresultse. I termedit theless aspects or variationson one fundamental and Denominator it constitutesthe structural Common the Exhaustive advocatingbaby foods.though undoubtedlythey areaware of each other's contributionsto the field. and means slike'.'development' 'stagnation' etc. In summary.BUTTER is to NOT WASHING is to MARGARINE like PEACEto WAR.GROWTH : DECAY . equates the use of the product with life and growth and their non-use with the threat of deathand stagnation. . labouring through many minds each producinga of few fragments the ultimatedesign. hygiene etc. the underlyinglevel.BALANCE : IMBALANCE where: means 'is to'. the ultimate message decoded in the consumer mind. a product of a collective though unconscious mind. But though the obvious repetitions have been elementsconstitute nevernon-redundant eliminated.have in no way consciouslycollabtheir diverseadvertising orated to producethis message.especiallyso since it is targeted so pointedly at the core of the greatest fear all mothersshare.FROZENVEGETABLES to is to NOT FROZENVEGETABLES like CULTURE NATUREand classification so on.

candidatein the tJSA is munication organized. are the greatuniversals oneor in terms dimensionsinvariably Denominatoris always (b) these defined.this subjectmeritsa separate that to be true. a sole a single brand can be alone. for the brandsthat for advertisementsallhundredsof advertisements one brand It powders. often only ness. one presidential madeby him campaigningof the recent all the publicpronouncements cannever consist of say subjectof the investigation. In other the subject of investigationis to belonging out unless be successfully carried ln ltS indicatedthat in advertispresented entlrety. will Persil in the product say or Toyota among various all the the among airliners. of this includes new cleaner. may advertising that formof commercial a of somewhatdespised However.BritishAirways field. the first Ford car. * * @ . as when equals two things: (a) It for the first time and has not yet differentiated productis launched e. Furthermore. communicationsystem.g. number is a there limited of which the whole systemcan be exhaustively of two. * . may be startling. of advertising Shal-espeare as (a) underlyingany system Itwould appearthat of structuraldimensions. ExhaustiveCommon condition. The idea human the mind. The archetype. writer has become increasingly in the madthe decoding and there is method so succinctly stated.even if he is the which a campaignfor single brand is one of The only case in system is when the a new viable communication the whole product field. the will form one communication the com(tea around which margarine.In structuralism on boundaries are where the whole methodologydepends the essencesince the availability all the fragments of more even of the analysiscannot approachdemanding words. the Hoover vacuum product concepts into several brands.an servea deeperfunction art.A basic questionconwish I now to to be spelt out and far which is yet analysisconcerns the natureof the system: this question is any fronting structural drawn. with field lawful form a never of butter-a product for advertisements brands form a validcommunication numerous do not and for inner intensive competition-also the advertisements butter by all system latter case. S PLICATION IM said so aspect of what has been returnto a different clearly.Leymore Varda persuadedthat. and coffee) analysisof the competing substitutes a structural virtueof being In a differentvein. A sub-category .of the human basic in modernsocietiesthan a dilemma. follows that field of washing makes of cars. the commentsI havealready In my previous communicationis all meaningfulsystem of product the ing minimal comprisea competitive only. structural totalistic a the system. 428 dlscusslon. would butit appear . only In system.

The in reasonis this: no coherentmessagewill ever register the audience mind without it. that campaigns for unique brands (which equal the whole product field) alwayspossess a complete structure while lengthy campaignsfor individualcompeting brandsdo not.the monumental system of other cases a failureto decode a seeminglywell integrated is communication. (b) It is posltlonln ltStle d. All that will be achievedis a patchworkof confused and confusingstatements. one may successfullytry to emulate it.or at best a tedious catalogueof attributes. the stories of Genesis as was so well demonstrated and work of Levi-Strauss others. Structuralanalysisis not possible until the true systemhas beenidentified. a true communication complete structura}definition. e.or that a structuredoes not exist.the underlying can be suppliedon demand. having deciphereda structureand having found it effective. Of course. a structure will be produced.In EdmundLeach.But to identify the true system a structure must be demonstrated. One is thus. It is a resultof the unconsciousworking of many minds. It is like words strung together at random. is that this happensbecauseit must happen. is if the communication to makeany sense at all. When the unifying principlewhich lends structureand coherenceis missing the result is a muddle. uniquebrandcampaign . factor in systemsof communication Thestructural 429 field. definition The evidencein favourof the conclusionthat a structural of the messageis the simple and is essential to the understanding afore-mentioned fact.a complete stioctural statement must be made by the itself. to cater for the unconsciousdemandof the mind for legiblecommunication.I believe.does not meanthat structuralism wrong. To be sure.g. but very often testifiesratherto a different failure.I do not have a satisfactoryanswerto this problem.that of identifyingthe correctsystem in the first place. many cases form a natural system: Greek by mythology. to some extent in a chicken and egg situation. Sinceno interaction is available. Why one may ask is the structuraldefinition so important. system More clearly and generallystated. colour televisionwithinthe television within an established dominant a brandenjoyingan overwhelmingly market etc.The existence of the structuredoes not depend on consciousvolition.* * * * . structureis not somethingthat One final comment. A is one that is underlinedby a system of communicationwhich does not possess an underlying structureis not a system but a randomcollection of pieces from an unknown jigsaw puzzle. Why do campaignsfor unique brandsdiffer so sharply from most advertising?Why do they provide a complete structure on their own? Why are they compelled-frequently in a single commercial lasting seconds-to produce a complete structuraldefinition?The explanation. But whether one attempts to produce artificially an underlying structure or not.

namely. variations and reiterationsin the system of communication.the word 'cloud'by itself evokes a representation a grey patch in the sky. of all but the campaignsin the field. By itself it does not disclose what 'it means'. Ultimately. confidence. in the examplegivenabove.noticing a of cloud may be followed by a sigh of regretbecauseit meansanother rainy day. are it in order to produce maximumeffect. If it is true that in a competitivecommunication system. at least.expressedby itself. then it can be said that a unit of communication. each (or at most very few) must providea complete definition. followsthatoptimally. functionis the Its sameas in linguistics. In England. growth etc. If informationis equated with meaning. which is to distinguish and separate one brand from another. free to concentrateon selected fragments'feeling'fully confidentthat meaning will emergefrom the synchronicinteractionamongall the advertised brands. or This apparent conflict betweencommonsenseand the structuralist 'non-sense'can be bridgedby means of an interpretation borrowed from informationtheory.For instance. that by themselves.In the generalcompetitivecase. we thinkwe do. they are also meaningless.it has been maintainedthat an underlyingstructure is decodable only from a legitimatesystem of communication.The idea that individual elements in the system are without meaning. has been hotly contested. permutations.then it is also true.then the groundfor branddifferentiation. a cloud is greetedwith joy becauseit signals a possible end of starvation. a political platform of or what have you-have no structure. are features of all baby foods.And if one speaks of a silver lining one does not think of rain at all. In summary. Therefore.430 VardaLeymore Since commercials perforcesequential. therefore. Clouds do not mean the samethingsin these differentcontexts. market segmentation is obliterated by the very process through . if happiness. Further. The main difficulty in acceptingsuch a concept stems from the fact that we do happen to understand individual messages.Each is. then this is in profound contradiction to the most fundamentalpurpose of advertising. all the representations one party -be it a brand. each new representation constitutesan additionto an alreadyestablished system of communication. The structure is produced collectively though unknowinglyby all the advertisers togetherthroughthe interactions. and that meaning is a quality resultingfrom a relationshipand cannot be understood in isolation from it. one is free to choose any interpretationfrom a wide rangeof possibilities. has a minimal information content because it allows for a maximum choice. if it is true that the ultimate messagereceived in the consumermind is the result not of individualcampaigns. But in a drought.to endowvarioussentences(campaigns in our case) with theircorrectmeaning.

in spite of considerablefinancialand creativeefforts by their rivals to unseatthem.though the specific models currently advocatedaregenerally new!In thesemarketsthe structural definition has been established the courseof theirhistory.In terms of the archetypaldefinitionof the product field. therefore. More recent advertising washingpowdersresortedto severaldifferentappeals.12 this particular In instance.the scope of manoeuvre is limited. however. much in the same way that a new sentence which has never been formulatedbefore neverthelessmust conform to the rules of establishedsyntax.To advertise Persil.there should exist no materialdistinctionin the performance of different brands and instead some sort of equal distributionshould prevail. claims were made respectively for whiteness. For example.Certainbrandsdominatethe market. Daz and Omo. blueness and brightness.which formsthe exhaustive common denominatorof the product field. for example. Since all detergents advertising attempt to convey the idea of cleanliness.The greatmajorityof advertising-cars.Experienceshows. the brightness campaign became associated with Evil. The brands which enjoyed the best performance tended to be those which evoked best the image of purity. of None was as successfulas the originalPersilcampaign.Thestructural factor in systemsof communication 431 which advertising communicated is and interpretedin the consumer mind. washingpowders. The structural-definition equates washingpowders with GOOD and their non-use with EVIL.that this is patently wrong. In less . the classical campaignof 'Persil washes whiter than white' has been immense successful. the more likely it is to be associatedwith the 'negative'signifier.Not in this case though for the followingreason. Why shouldsuch differencesexist amongbrands. toothpastes. An examination of the performances associatedwith these claimsrevealedsharpdifferences amongthe brandswith whitenessdoingbest and brightness worst. In mature markets the efficiency of any specific campaignis. the 'brightness' campaign becomeunconsciouslyassociated has with the 'negative' pole of the binarypair. holidays-takes place in old well establishedmarkets.in some cases. The Persil campaignevoked powerfully and unmistakenlythe image of goodness. while the other campaignsmaintaineda closer associationwith Good.if all communicationsboil down to certain unifying principles. determined by the economy and the closeness of its adherence to the establishedarchetype. The furthera campaign diverges from the 'positive' signifier. The advertisers strugglein the same narrowspace endeavouringto create the most potent image for theirbrand. Facts are said to be the tragedyof a beautifultheory. but their advertising? structuralapproachoffers The an explanation.whicharesimilar in most ways. Furthermore.Any new represenin tation is automaticallyclassified in terms of the existing pattern.

Limitlesseffort to decipheran incompletesystem will resultin naught. the structuraldefinition in advertisingalways consists of the great dilemmasof the human condition. which can only be decoded once the other complementarypieces of the puzzle are found. to Six. the efficiency of cach communication a function of the is strengthof its affiliationto the structural definition. in time. Meanwhile.It is thiswhichenablesthem to convey a coherentmessage upon which depends their very chance of survival.432 VardaLeymore matureproduct fields the archetypehas not been firmlyestablished.often individualcommercials sole or for dominant brands are always equipped with a complete structural definition.This conclusion is testified to by the fact that individualcampaigns. one or two will emergeas the permanent structural dimensionof the field. has which is by far more complex than the commercialpropagation of goods and services.It is formedof the relationshipsbetween such binary pairs as good and evil. life and death. CONCLUDING REMARKS One.meritsa separate discussion. the sine-qua-non of a successful decoding is that the communicationsystem will be represented-as the theory decrees-in its entirety. it has been suggestedthat a correctlyidentifiedsystem of communicationcan be decoded into one or more structural dimensions. Two.however. it becomes possible to reconstructthe underlyinggrid of the grand communicationsystem of advertising. The decoded campaignsappearto be in searchof the correct definition. In the typical case a numberof differentsolutions are provided of which. a complete structuraldefinition is essentialto the understandingof the message. how do the archetypesevolve beforea patternemergeswhichappears'natural' the productfield. At most it providesunrelatedfragments. So does a related problem. constituent elements are Its of the same natureas the archetypaldefinitions. namely.peace and war. It equatesthe prosaic use of mundaneproductswith the universalquestionsof existence. In otherwords. knowledgeand ignorance etc.it is the structureof the structures. efficiencyis determined by the archetypewhich evokesthe strongestresponse. This grid-its . once many systems of advertisingare successfullydecoded. Three. cultureand nature. which constitute the axes in terms of which the whole system is defined. It couldthusbe that advertising a specialrole in modernsocieties. Four. Five.This subject.A long and elaborate campaign for a single brand among many brands (the majority of advertising) never possessesa complete structuraldefinition.

Cape Editions. Shakespeare. qor a more rlgorous olscusslon and a formal presentation. V. London. UniverMass. 1969.R.' Varda Leymore of Department Sociology of University Lagos NOTES 1. L'Homme nu. W. Maranda E. Langholz Leymore. London. op.). London. Banton. believe the for resultsare encouraging. Some further readings concern- ing methodology are: C. Hidden Myth. London. Robey (ed. E. . M. 1969. Paris. Structuralism: An Introduction. 1975.. pp. also 'Structuralismin Social Anthropology' in D. whatever remains. . Leach (ed. Structuralism. Barthes. 28-30. Leach. 1978.1973. 7. The Uses of Structuralism. Harcourt. 1980. Tavistock Publications. Eyre & Spottiswoode. 9. 1967. Jonathan Cape. see M. Chomsky. Cambridge. Structural Anthropology.. London. the Introduction to The Raw and the Cooked. and in P. chs 3 and 4. .. Jonathan Cape. also 'The Legitimacy of Solomon' in Leach. sity Press. For an up-to-date discussion of this and other topics.'The Logic of Riddles' (eds). London. C. The Elementary 3. ibid. Lane (ed. Oxford UniversityPress. 1968. Examples can be found in Langholz Leymore. op. Maranda. The Structural Study of Myth..Harvard ing. Levi-Strauss. Jonathan Cape. Levi-Strauss. R. For a comprehensiveanalysis of the language of clothes and fashion.Languageand Mind. For a particularly enlightening discussion of structural philosophy and the grandest achievement of the methodology in social anthropology. Langholz Leymore. 1968. cit. New York. 2. see the Myt::hologiques TheRawand the Cooked. The Relevance of Models for Social Anthropology. Numerous editions. even if the outcome is not free of questions it is still rich of promise. Languageand LearnPiatelli-Palmarini. London. 5. Structures of Kinship. op. cit. E. 1972. any individual on approach of This study exploredthe ramifications a structural I a well establishedcommunicationsystem. Oxford. Systeme de la mode.. London. ch. Plon. Allen Lane. 1970. 1975. K. 1968. K. 1969.. also. Heinemann. London. Genesis as Myth. Heinemann. Maranda StructuralAnalysis of Oral Tradition. R.Edition du Seuil. Levi-Strauss. 2. Hamlet. London. 1970. From Honey to Ashes. In this paper I endeavouredto present the essential features of the methodological approach in a simple way. cit. 6. quartet: C.). London. Boudon. see. The Introduction. .). R. Tavistock Publications. M. For a non-technical discussion see N.must be the truth. 4. Brace & World. see. 8.factor in systemsof communication Thestructural 433 dimensionsand their associations-provides the sum of the rulesto must conform and of which which any individualcommuriication is communication an expression. Paris. 1973. 1975. 1967. 1965. The Origins of Table Manners.WithSherlockHolmesI may conclude and say: 'It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible. London. Illustrationsfrom other systems of communication are E. advertising. Clarendon Press. . Jonathan Cape. however improbable.

New and Old. Culture and Nature. the terms 'negative'or 'positive' are absolute enough. 'Negative'should not be understood in absolute terms. In binary pairs such as Good and Evil. Happiness and Misery. University of PennsylvaniaPress. the negative or positive implications are unmistakable. The brandswhich made up the product range in this instance were: Heinz. But they are rather less clear cut in other pairs e.g. 5 and 6. cit. Robinson's. though in their specific contexts. 1975.434 Philadelphia. op. For more detailed elaboration of the issues involved in determining effectiveness. 10. ibid. Cow & Gate and Farley's.1971. 1975. Life and VardaLeymore Death. 12. chs 3 and 4.. For details see Langholz Leymore. 11. chs. . see Langholz Leymore. Gerber.