On 20 May 1995 an enigmatic poster started appearing in London bus shelters, on the escalator of London underground stations and on the tube train itself. For four weeks Londoners – and those living in other large urban conurbations in Britain – were supposedly intrigued and tantalised by a turquoise poster with a single ‘i’ on it. The deconstruction of advertising semiotics has become a necessary quotidian proficiency in the conditions of late capitalism, interpolating the consumer into the construction of product appeal. Increasingly over previous decades advertisements have become not communicators of product information, but referents of allusion and intertextuality that presuppose a complex matrix of consumer subjectivities and identities. It is often only possible to be certain that an advertisement for cigarettes is an advertisement for cigarettes by counter indices, by reading the health warning legend along the bottom.
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