Tuesday, December 9, 2008

McDonald's Coffee Billboard - A Semantic Analysis

McDonald's billboards continue to provide data for linguistic analysis. A previous post covered the creative use of phonology on a billboard and now there is a billboard that begs for a semantic analysis. The billboard has a picture of a cup of coffee with the following text:




Rich...
so you don't have to be.

Just like yesterday, I am going to get into word choice. When I read this billboard it semantically implies to me that only the people who cannot afford expensive coffee chains should try McDonald's coffee. I think a far better choice of conjunction would have been: Rich...and you don't have to be. This choice of wording semantically implies that you could be wealthy, middle-class or poor (basically, your income has nothing to do with the supposed richness of the coffee) because everyone will like and be able to afford the coffee.

5 comments:

Monica said...

Wouldn't 'but' work just as well, semantically?

Laura Payne said...

Right you are my semantically-wise friend. Thanks for commenting. Keep reading and commenting - the comments are what make it fun to blog.

Larry B said...

Good ole' Micky Donalds - billions and billions made to feel less than...

Jesse said...

Text from a billboard currently on view in a low income neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan;

"98210 taste, 48202 budget!"

48202 being the zip code for that impoverished neighborhood, of course. Perhaps needless to say but just in case, 98210 is the zip code for Beverly Hills, California.

McDonalds is perfectly aware of the implication their messages denote.

Laura Payne said...

Thanks Jesse. I have actually already written a post about the Flint version of that billboard. It is scheduled for next Tuesday.

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