Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
November 22, 2005

Smiley And The Wal-Mart Identity Crisis

Standard-Smiley  Antismiley  Pro-Smiley

So, I ask you, Where else in the political blogosphere can you go to discuss the semiotic implications of the Wal-Mart smiley face?

For yesterday’s “Wal-Martathon” at The Huffington Post, I did a brief comparative analysis of the posters for the dueling “pro” and “con” movies just released about the retail monolith.

The High Cost Of Low Price-inspired “Evil Smiley” seemed fairly straightforward to deconstruct (middle above).  What I found really strange, however, was the version of the face created for the “pro” Why Wal-Mart Works poster (right).  As I said in my write-up, the rectangular eyes just don’t make sense — unless they are intended to somehow mesmerize or get you to focus specifically on the smile.  (And why didn’t they go with the version on the left that Wal-Mart typically uses?)

You can see the posters, and the analysis here.

I’ll be interested in your interpretations.

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