The purpose of this assignment is for you to use the skills you have gained so far in the analysis of advertisements and apply them to a print ad you have chosen. You are asked to write a 700-900 words essay, analyzing your chosen ad thoroughly. Make use of some the critical concepts we have learned so far.
You are asked to analyze how the ad creates meaning with reference to your focus (e.g. stereotypes or the representation of identities) and show an awareness of the ad’s functions and (potential) effects within a certain culture.
This requires you to:
a) briefly describe relevant signs of the ad
b) analyze the relevant signs used in the ad and how they are put together to create a certain meaning
c) discuss to whom the ad is addressed and how the ad is arranged to achieves this. This requires you to think about larger cultural issues and contexts and show an awareness of how your chosen ad relates to these.
Core Requirements for this assignment
Critical Thinking: You will have to think hard and communicate some strong critical thinking ideas, so your critical analysis of the ad will be a significant part of the assessment.
Articulated and developed ideas: You must have a clear focus/theme and research question. Make your point using clear and understandable sentences and push your ideas to their fullest conclusion.
Organization: You need to make conscious choices about how to best structure your ideas and how to connect those ideas.
• Find a print advertisement for a product or service that you relate to, use regularly, find interesting or problematic. Pay particular attention to the origin of the ad. Is it meant originally for Middle Eastern Markets or Western Markets?
• Prepare a brief outline of your essay and draft a thesis statement. Come and see me during my office hours to discuss which ad you have chosen, which aspects you are focusing on in your analysis, and how you plan to analyze the ad.
• Format your essay in the following way: double-spaced, Times New Roman, Font 12. Have a separate cover page that includes your full name, ID, date of submission and the full course name and number. Also include the title of your essay.
• In the introduction describe your research question/problem and frame your analysis that will follow. Provide a concise thesis statement – what are you focusing on and what is your main argument?
• You may also briefly provide relevant information regarding the ad. This may include a brief description of the ad and the product that is being sold, the target market, when it was made and some further relevant background information if (e.g. who made it, brand information, social and cultural context).
• In the main body briefly and concisely describe relevant signs of the advertisement on a denotative level. Explain what and who is pictured in the advertisement and how the ad is arranged.
• Analyze the ad in detail with regards to your focus, using some of the critical concepts we have discussed. Break your analysis down into paragraphs.
• Address questions of audiences and culture, such as who may be the target audience, what impact may the ad have had and how? How did the ad relate to and seek to influence potential consumers, society and culture?
• Briefly summarize your main findings at the end and point out the relevance of these.
• Proofread, edit and improve your essay until it reads fine. If in doubt, find a friend who could give you some feedback about the essay. You can also come and see me again during my office hours. Do not send me your essay via email.
• By the deadline you must upload your essay to Blackboard and also hand in a hardcopy. Hand your hardcopy in at the beginning of class or put it in the assignment folder outside my office. Include a copy of the ad at the end of the essay.
• Make sure to understand the instructions and guidelines properly – if in doubt ask
• Be focused and have a clear research question and thesis statement
• Remember that you cannot do everything – Only discuss relevant information
• Make sure to chose a published print ad – not a promotional image or artwork
• Make sure to properly edit and proofread your essay – I need to be able to clearly understand you
• Remember that your essay will be checked by SafeAssign – any plagiarism will be detected and penalized
• Hand in your essay on time – you will lose ten points for each day your assignment is late, unless you have been granted an extension before the deadline
• There is no chance to rewrite your assignment if you receive a low grade – so make sure to do it properly the first time and if in doubt, seek feedback before you hand it in
Some questions you may find useful when analyzing the ad
• Which product/service/event is being pitched?
• What persuasive strategy is being used?
• What makes you or others want to purchase this product? How does the ad try to appeal on an emotional and/or intellectual level?
• What is the intended effect of the ad and how does it try to achieve this?
• What is the ad saying about society or culture? Which cultural symbols does it use? How does it affect culture and society?
• What is the ad for? What does the ad look like?
• Who is the audience for the ad? How do you know? How would you describe them? How would you characterize their interests and desires? What assumptions are the writers of the ad making about the people who make up the audience?
• How is the ad designed to appeal to that particular audience? What message(s) do the designers of the ad want to give them? What is the ad “really” saying?
You can also use some of the questions mentioned in the Media Studies textbook on pages 46-47.
How I will grade your assignment
• Choice of ad: 5 marks – Is the ad suitable with reference to your focus of analysis?
• Ad and context description: 25 marks – Does your ad description clearly describe the
relevant signs of the ad and show how the ad is related to cultural issues and
• Ad analysis: 50 marks – Do you critically engage with the relevant signs of the ad
and show how the ad is arranged in order to create particular meanings? Do
you analyze how the ad aims to influence its target audience?
• Assignment format and structure: 10 marks – Is your essay properly formatted? Is your
argument well structured and organized and do your ideas flow well
throughout the essay? Do you have a clear focus and do you provide a strong
and concise thesis statement?
• Grammar and spelling: 10 marks – Is your writing free from mistakes and easily
ADVERTISING ANALYSIS SAMPLE
Coca cola Advertisement
Nowadays, it became a commonplace practice among advertisers to go about increasing the commercial appeal of the advertised products by the mean of emphasizing the pathos and ethos related subtleties of these products’ discursive positioning. The reason for this is simple – by taking advantage of this specific advertisement-strategy, advertisers are able to ensure that the conveyed commercial message is fully consistent with the targeted audience’s unconscious anxieties, in relation to the promoted product/service. In this paper, I will explore the validity of the above-suggestion, in regards to the poster ‘Refresh on the Coca-Cola side of life’, chosen for the analysis.
The poster in question features the opened bottle of Coca-Cola with a drinking straw inserted in it. The straw itself is shown extended beyond the poster’s spatial boundaries in the direction of one of the windows on the wall – hence, creating a visual illusion, as if the apartment’s resident is in fact able to take sips out of the bottle. This, of course, creates objective preconditions for onlookers to spend more time, while observing the poster, because when exposed to it, they get to experience the sensation of a cognitive dissonance.
One of the poster’s most striking features is the fact that it organically incorporates the appeals to logos, ethos and pathos. Its appeal to logos is concerned with the textual message ‘Refresh on the Coca-Cola side of life’, which establishes discursive parallels between the advertised product, on the one hand, and the notion of ‘refreshment, on the other. Nevertheless, it is specifically the poster’s strongly defined appeals to ethos and pathos, which make it memorable.
The first of these appeals is concerned with the fact that, while observing the poster, potential consumers are able to confirm the validity of the idea that Coca-Cola is indeed a high quality product. After all, if it was not the case, people would not go as far as trying to drink the promoted beverage by the mean of inserting a straw into the product’s one-dimensional depiction. In other words, the discussed element of the poster’s design serves the function of convincing people that doubting the advertised product’s high quality, on their part, would prove highly unreasonable. Consequently, this is expected to provide them with yet additional stimulus to consider purchasing it.
What also adds to the poster’s ethos-related appeal is that the featured image is culturally relevant, within the context of the affiliated socio-cultural settings. After all, it subtly hints at the sheer industriousness of the individual, which supposedly succeeded in taking advantage of the poster’s proximity to his or her apartment. Yet, as we are well aware of, in America one’s endowment with the sense of industriousness is considered reflective of the concerned individual’s existential worth. Therefore, there can only be a few doubts that the discussed poster is indeed adjusted with what happened to be the essence of main existential drives, on the part of the majority of Americans.
The poster’s appeal to pathos is concerned with its ability to trigger a variety of emotional responses in onlookers. In its turn, this has been accomplished by the following:
a) The poster prompts people to experience the earlier mentioned sensation of a cognitive dissonance – when observing it; they do spend some time assessing the de facto possibility of what is being depicted. As a result, the image ends up being ‘engraved’ in their minds. This, of course, points out to the fact that the poster’s designers we well aware that, in order for a particular advertisement-message to be memorable, it must necessarily be emotionally charged.
b) The poster conveys the message of ‘realness’, in regards to the advertised beverage. In its turn, this is supposed to lessen the acuteness of onlookers’ awareness that, while exposed to the advertisement in question, they are being psychologically manipulated. This, of course, implies that while designing this particular advertisement-poster, its creators remained thoroughly aware that the process of ‘seeing’, which takes place in people’s minds, is highly subjective.
c) The poster addresses one of main unconscious anxieties, on the part of potential consumers – specifically, their deep-seated desire to perceive the surrounding reality, as such that can be transformed by the sheer strength of their willpower. In this respect, a certain parallel can be drawn between what accounts for the power of the poster’s appeal, on the one hand, and the power of just about any organized religion’s appeal, on the other. In both cases, the advertisement/religious message’s recipients are encouraged to consider the possibility that there is indeed a good reason to believe in the possibility of ‘miracles’. This once again substantiates the legitimacy of the earlier suggestion that the design of the concerned advertisement-poster is culturally appropriate. After all, it appears discursively consistent with the fact that, as of today, the so-called ‘moral majority’ (consisting of bible-thumpers) continues to exert a considerable influence on the societal dynamics in America.
d) Because there is an undeniable element of ‘silliness’ to the poster in question, the conveyed advertisement-message helps onlookers to suppress their fear of aging. The rationale behind this suggestion is quite apparent – by finding the earlier mentioned ‘silliness’ amusing, people do realize themselves being cognitively related to the qualitative characteristics of a youthful living. Consequently, the induced workings of their unconscious psyche convince these people that the very fact that the discussed poster appeals to them, signifies that they are rather ‘young at heart’ – regardless of what happened to be their actual age. There are also cultural connotations to the above-suggestion – the poster in question appears thoroughly consistent with the discourse of ‘youthfulness’ in America, which causes many elderly citizens in this country to mimic the act of young people.
In light of the earlier provided analysis, it will be fully appropriate, on our part, to suggest that the poster at stake will indeed prove an effective tool for increasing the promoted beverage’s commercial appeal. This simply could not be otherwise, because it does not simply feature the appeals to logos, ethos and pathos, but combines them organically – hence, creating a powerful cognitive effect. Moreover, this poster also exploits a number of culturally relevant anxieties, on the part of the targeted audience members, which in turn causes the promoted message to be particularly memorable in both: cognitive and perceptual senses of this word.
I believe that the deployed line of argumentation, in regards to the discussed subject matter, is fully agreeable with the paper’s initial thesis. Apparently, there is indeed a good reason to expect the poster ‘Refresh on the Coca-Cola side of life’ to never cease attracting people’s attention, as an imaginative and psychologically sound advertisement-piece.
(THE SAMPLE HAS BEEN PRODUCED BY ONE OF YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS – IT IS NOT PERFECT, BUT GIVES YOU A GOOD IDEA OF HOW YOU CAN PRODUCE A STRONG ANALYSIS OF AN AD)