The mass media in the form of advertising is extensively employed in the process of nation-building in Malaysia. Advertising has been used as an important tool for educating the public about State issues, ensuring diverse cultures are equally represented and the multicultural values are emphasized to the fullest. The objective of the present study is to investigate how outdoor advertising, particularly billboards, promotes the language, social identity, and multicultural values of Malaysian society for nation-building. In Malaysia, the extensive use of advertisements has been argued as one of the most powerful mechanisms to enhance Malaysian identity, foster interactions and thus contribute to the process of nation-building even though it is portrayed in a banal and routine way. To achieve its objective, this paper utilizes semiotic methodology to examine 11 billboards to understand the relationships between texts and visuals that communicate messages to the public. The findings revealed that the billboards do not only communicate pro-social messages, but also reflect the language, social identity and multicultural values of Malaysian society towards nation-building. This study expands the work of outdoor advertising within the Malaysian society and contributes to Semiotic Analysis by examining textual-visual elements of billboards.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited