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Project Country-ness

Semiotic Analysis

jasherpeikai ming

on 29 August 2013

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Transcript of Project Country-ness

Project :
Product 1:
Lemongrass, Kaffir lime & leaves & Bird's eye chilli
A chilli pepper commonly found in Southeast Asia.
In Thai cuisine, these chilies are highly valued for their fruity taste and extreme spiciness.
They are extensively used in many Thai dishes such as in Thai curries and in Thai salads, green as well as the ripe red chilis; or they can just be eaten raw on the side.
Phrik nam pla: bird's eye chili with fish sauce and lime juice, served with nearly every Thai meal
Bird's Eye Chilli aka Thai Chilli

Lemongrass is native to Asia and is grown commercially in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and China today. It has a unique taste and smell. It is an essential ingredient in Thai cooking as it is used to give unique flavors to the many Thai dishes.
Focus Group Discussion
FGD analysis
Product 2: Chang Beer
The two white elephants on the logo: Elephant is widely used in Thailand as a symbolic animal. Many tourists are able to identify with it.

"Chang" in Thailand is translated as Elephant.
(Ingredients used in Tom Yum soup)
Kaffir lime & leaves is extensively used in Thai cooking. The leaves are widely used in Thai cuisine (for dishes such as tom yum).
The zest of the lime is a key ingredient in red and green curry pastes to give an aromatic and astringent flavour.
Tom Yum Soup
Tom yum or tom yam is a spicy clear soup typical in Thailand.
Literally, the words "tom yum" are derived from two Thai words: "tom" and "yam". "Tom" refers to boiling process (soup, in this case). "Yam" refers to a kind of Thai spicy and sour salad.
Thus, "tom yum" is a Thai hot and sour soup. Indeed, tom yum is characterised by its distinct hot and sour flavours, with fragrant herbs generously used in the broth.
The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and crushed chili peppers.
Product 2: Chang Beer (Con't)
Product 2: Chang Beer (Con't)
The Visual Element:
Product 2: Chang Beer (Con't)
Visual Element:
Kaffir Lime & Leaf
The font “Chang” is designed in a way that identifies itself with the cursive typeface that is used in Thailand’s main language- Siamese.
A flower was featured in the design of the Chang Beer and it resembles its national flower.
Cultural Element:
Elephant is widely used in warfare with kings mounted on elephants fighting the Burmese to defend Thailand on many occasions.

In Buddhist legend, it is believed that Queen Maya (mother of Buddha) was only able to conceive after having a dream that white elephant entered her. This is why the white elephant is seen highly auspicious and enjoys Royal status in Thailand.
Cultural Element:
The color Yellow: Royal color of Thailand.

The flower used, also known as the Cassia Fistula is the national flower of Thailand.
Colour De-Code:
Yellow: Royal color, considered auspicious, represents Buddhism.

White: Auspicious, purity in Buddhism.

Purple: Color of mourning for widows.

Black: Unhappiness, bad luck, evil.
The Colour Green:
Although green was not specifically mentioned as one of the Thai colours, it is a common colour used in Thailand.
FGD analysis
Upon showing the product, participants were immediately able to recognize the brand name and country of origins of Chang Beer. In addition, Chang Beer was remarked as “very Thailand” by one of the participants.

“Product of Thailand” was mentioned twice when participants were first shown the beer can and when they were asked to name some of the elements that made them think it is from Thailand.
It is important to note that “Elephant” was repeatedly mentioned 4 times during the discussion.

Participant 1 and 2 mentioned “Elephant” when first presented with this product. Participant 4 answered that the “Elephant” was an element that made her feel like the product is from Thailand. Participant 1 thinks Thailand is known for their “Elephants” and reasoned that therefore the elephant was used to symbolize the country.
Participants generally do not think the primary colours used (green and gold) were associated with Thailand. Participant 1, however, remarked that the colour “Gold” resembles the colour yellow. She felt that yellow is a colour of Thailand and thinks “Yellow is purity” in Thailand.
FGD analysis (Con't)
Product 3: Muay Thai Shorts
Visual Element:
Colors Gold, Red & Black are used. The choices of colors indicate fearless, danger, courage and boldness yet still having sportsmanship.

The fashion/cutting of the shorts: Contrast
Product 3: Muay Thai Shorts (Con't)
Cultural Element:
Muay Thai originates from Thailand and is practiced as Thailand’s National sports today.

Unlike Western boxing, in Muay Thai the hands, shins, elbows, and knees are all used extensively. The origins of Muay Thai come from Muay Boran (ancient boxing), which was the type of unarmed combat used by Siamese soldiers centuries ago for self-defense against significant numbers of invaders.
Product 3: Muay Thai Shorts (Con't)
Muay Thai competitions came to the forefront during the Sukothai era (1238-1377), a time when competitors began earning money for their fighting prowess.

During the Sukothai Era, Muay Thai became a way to impress the Thai nobility, which could lead to advancement in life.

* This could explain the strong determination to overpower, intimidate and overcome their compeititors!
Product 3: Muay Thai Shorts (Con't)
In Public Muay Thai matches, only boxing shorts are permitted in the ring, and the color depends on which corner of the ring the fighter is in.

Red corner: Red, pink, maroon or with a red stripe.

Blue corner: Blue, Bright blue and black.
FGD analysis
The word ‘Muay Thai’ was mentioned three times in the FGD, and “Thai” was mentioned once followed by the word “boxing”. They were also discussing about the choice of colors being used in the design of the boxing shorts. Participants are able to recognized that the shorts is being used widely in the sports Muay Thai hence went on to discuss about the color indication and intentions behind the choice of colors.

Words like “rough & tough”, “fire”, “fierce” and “death” were used when they were asked to decode the color swatch of the boxing shorts. Indeed, the colors does tell a lot about the product representing the sports and hence associated the product with Thailand due to the nature of the sports and their cultural heritage.
Product 4: Naraya Products
Visual Element
Ribbons on every Naraya products.

Neat, straight and precise stitches on the bags and accessories.

Although they belong to the same brand, the fabrications, texture and colors of each bag and accessory are different.

Price tag on the bigger black bag. The pricing is quite reasonable for such design and quality.
Product 4: Naraya Products (Con't)
Cultural Element
The bow and ribbons are used for brand identity purposes. The Brand signature. In fact in Japan, Naraya products are known to the locals as the “ribbon bags”.
Naraya differentiated themselves through their product quality and colors.
This is no wonder their heritage began with less than 20 sewing machines. Today, Naraya expanded and is utilizing over 1500 employees and a total workforce of over 4000 people producing fabric bags and other fabric based goods in rural villages within the country.
Product 4: Naraya Products (Con't)
As each bag and accessory is sewn manually, this explains why the stitches on each product are of straight and highest precisions compared to mass produced bags by machines.

The cornerstone of Naraya product is their specially chosen and hand-inspected fabrics using superior materials. With a variety of fabrication and textile choices, the color range also differs (to optimize the fabric), offering wide variety of products to their customers.

Their product price range is not steep, allowing rooms for competition while still exceeding through quality and functionality.

The word “Ribbon” is being mentioned three times in a row when the participants were asked the prominent features about Naraya products they observed. This shows that participants are able to recognize that the products come from the same brand although they have not heard about the brand’s name. One of the participants even tried to guess the materials being used on the bags (cotton or cloth?) while the third participants considered the quality “ok for her”

The word “detailed” was also being mentioned by one of the participants when asked about the workmanship of the bags while the other participants would consider buying Naraya bags with such quality being offered, and their price range, relatively reasonable(“$16 plus only, for this is considered cheap”).
FGD analysis
Product 5: Madame Heng Soap
Visual Element:
Pink color used in the packaging.

The "E" printed on the box.
Product 5: Madame Heng Soap (Con't)
Cultural Element
The product is sold exclusively only in Thailand

In Thailand, Pink is an important color, especially for their King Bhumibol.

In 2007, the king spent 3 weeks in hospital for treatment on heart problems & other ailments.
Royal astrologers determined that pink was a good color for his health, and many people believed wearing pink brings the king luck & health.
For example, in the pink of health is an expression for good condition or good health. Hence it is appropriate to utilize the color pink for health care or beauty product packaging.
Product 5: Madame Heng Soap (Con't)
It’s common knowledge that vitamin E is good for the skin. It is an antioxidant that protects and repairs the skin. It is beneficial for scars, acne and other skin conditions, hence the huge letter E on packaging which emphasizes the goodness of Madame Heng’s hand-made soap.
FGD analysis
None of our focus group participants are familiar with this Thai brand.
They could identify from the packaging that it is a product of long history since it is since 1949.
They have also mentioned that it is feminine because of the choice of color – pink. Another participant also agreed that it is a girly product due to the color.
Thank You!
Words like spicy, Asian, sweet and sour was mentioned in the FGD. One of the participant was able to figure out the kind of dish she is able to get out of the ingredients presented to her. She mentioned, 'Tom Yum'.
When asked about where Tom Yum originated from, two of the participants mentioned that Tom Yum originated from Thailand.
When asked about the key ingredients in a Tom Yum, the participants mentioned lemongrass, chilli, lime. They also mentioned that lime adds the sour taste and sour and spicy is essential in a Tom Yum dish.
Full transcript