The Relationships Between Quaker, The Company, and Semiotics


KOREY SHIENFIELD
CS100
1/9/97

For my presentation I have looked at one of Peterborough\'s oldest and biggest
manufacturer, The Quaker company. More specifically the outside and inside of
the building. As I was driving towards the building I thought, what was so
significant about the Quaker building and how could a picture of a Quaker be so
significant in today\'s culture. I also thought that this whole image of Quaker
could not be that overwhelming, however, with great embarrassment I was
completely mistaken. This one business and more specifically building has so
many signified meanings and linguistic meanings that I did not no where to start
from.

When I stood at the foot of the hill of the Quaker building I was overwhelmed by
the enormous size of it and how it sits on a hill overlooking the north end of
downtown Peterborough. I started to think that this is the signifier, it\'s big
and it\'s on a hill. Now if you think about this for a minute you begin to
realize that simply the size and position of this building has many meanings,
which are of course subconsciously.

The Quaker building has many meanings and therefore the signified list is very
long, but first we will look at the signifier. The sign is the word Quaker,
plain and simple, and the signifier is Q-u-a-k-e-r. However the word Quaker is
not just a word, it means many, many things, which is where the signified comes
in. The actual building is huge, which gave me the feeling that they are a
successful company and that their product must be all over the world. The
building is also white brick. This, without even knowing it gives you a feeling
of safety and purity(just as their products should be). Then there is the fact
that it is situated on the top of a hill, when you put meaning to this, there is
the feeling of greatness and domination. In my opinion these meanings or
signified\'s work like a funnel, they all at first have nothing to do with each
other, but when you put them together they all funnel into one thing, a
marketing ploy to buy their product. My point is, that they new exactly where to
place theirbuilding and what colour to paint it for the sole purpose of selling
their products. They new what meanings people would pull from these signs and
signifiers.

When looking at the word Quaker you get a feeling of comfort. It gives an
impression of going back to past times where morals and family values were at
the forefront of Quaker society. This feeling is supported with the literal
meaning of Quaker, which of course was a people of purity and religion. This
sits very well with people, especially parents, who are the main market of their
products. All parents would like to think of their kids as pure and innocent.
These are signified meanings associated with the word Quaker.

Quakers major marketing technique is their image. They express their image
through a sign system of pictures, which have a lot of signified meanings. In
Peterborough the Quaker building is on top of a hill towering over part of
downtown . When looking up you see that very wise, happy Quaker face. Even
though this is only their building they can still market there product. The sign
system of a picture of a Quaker is a way of saying were a good, wholesome
product like this man who is a Quaker, who you can trust and who is pure and
simple like our product. A person sees this and says (not literally), well if
its made by Quakers who are good pure people then I guess its good enough for my
children who are good and pure. The person doesn\'t actually say this, however,
it is a sign system working subconsciously for the sole purpose of marketing. My
point is, that the picture of the Quaker is not there by accident. The colours
of the Quaker are green and white. To me these colours represent purity, and are
an excellent way of saying our products are pure. When analyzing this company
more, it becomes clear that they are working very hard to get the point across
that their product is pure and wholesome. They attack you from every angle, such
as pictures, words, colours and even their building.

Quakers linguistic sign system is not a simple letter like "M" is for McDonalds,
or a word such as "great" for frosted flakes. Its a slogan,