The Symbolic Meaning of Body Parts in Images: the Case of Hands in Advertisement

This study presents a better understanding of the relevance and the meaning of human body parts, hands in this particular case, in contemporary advertising. To achieve this goal I will explain the importance of the visual aspect in advertising to then provide an in-depth analysis of two images, the Donna Karan perfume ad and the Nokia phone display picture, to then compare them to other images. In the discussion part I try to uncover the meaning of hands to finally indicate a suggestive application of hands in print ads. My investigations reveal that hands can transfer several meanings, whereas six meanings were predominant: communication, connection, protection, intimacy, identification and status. By showing body parts of people (apart from faces), consumers maybe identify themselves more easily with an advertisement and are more likely influenced by the image.


Mali Pohlmann (2005) ,"The Symbolic Meaning of Body Parts in Images: the Case of Hands in Advertisement", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7, eds. Karin M. Ekstrom and Helene Brembeck, Goteborg, Sweden : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 352-359.


Mali Pohlmann, Doctoral Student of Marketing


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7 | 2005

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