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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Corporate Communication | 2015
Thesis number: 14322
Marketing to the unmarketed: The semiotics of advertising trade shows to nonattendees. Context: Wedding shows in Singapore.
Author: Soh, Wan Wei
Title: Marketing to the unmarketed: The semiotics of advertising trade shows to nonattendees. Context: Wedding shows in Singapore.
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc program in Corporate Communication
Index terms: yritysviestintä; business communication; viestintä; communication; markkinointi; marketing; mainonta; advertising; tapahtumat; events; semiotiikka; semiotics; Singapore; Singapore
Pages: 125
Key terms: trade shows; contemporary wedding; semiotics; advertisement; Singapore society; signs; ideologies;
Objective of the Study - Extensive studies have been done on the selling and promotional functions of trade shows from the exhibitor's perspective. Much research have also been made on visitors' perceptions and attitudes towards trade shows. These studies however have not discussed in detail how trade show organizers or exhibitors can utilise the knowledge of visitors' discourse to create effective advertisements. By focusing on the signifier, signified, sign and ideology, this thesis aims to bridge the research gap by exploring how trade show organizers can use nonattendees' discourse to create trade show advertisements that engage nonattendees.

Design/Methodology/Approach - This research is qualitative in nature. 5 recent Singaporean wedding show advertisements are analyzed via a semiotic lens focusing on the signifier, signified, sign and ideology. Semi-structured interviews are also conducted with 8 Singaporean brides who do not attend wedding shows.

Findings - By focusing on the signifier, signified and sign, the 5 trade show advertisements are deconstructed and analyzed. Possible ideologies propagated by these advertisements are then made explicit. Findings from the semi-structured interviews show that all interviewees did not want to attend wedding shows prior to their wedding because of the perception of "hard sell" at the wedding shows. Current wedding show advertisements also made use of certain signs that do not resonate with this group of nonattendees enough for them to want to attend the wedding show.

Implications - From the nonattendees' discourse, signs associated with that can be used in advertisements specially targeted at nonattendees are identified. Some of these signs include non-conventional wedding dresses, music and the aisle. Recommendations on how to use signs from nonattendees' discourse in advertisements are made with the guiding spirit of increasing trust and interest between the wedding show vendors and brides. For example, this study found out that some of the nonattendees regard the beach as an ideal place to hold their wedding. Wedding show organizers can then use the beach as a sign in their advertisement to resonate with nonattendees.

Originality/Value - This is one of the first studies that focuses on how trade show organizers can make use of signs elicited from nonattendees' discourse to create effective advertisements that can appeal to nonattendees.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.