What is the ad’s message?

Advertisement Analysis Assignment
During the second half of the semester, you will be constructing an effective argument of your own in which you attempt to persuade an audience about a specific claim. In this paper and the one that follows it, however, you will be analyzing how others make claims for a specific audience. We are bombarded with messages and commercials everyday. By looking closely at these messages, we gain a deeper understanding of assumptions and perceptions. We also can become more critical thinkers both in our academic and every day life.

For your first assignment, you will be working with an advertisement paying particular attention to the intended audience. In this assignment, you will choose a current (within the last 5 years) advertisement. This can be either print or video. You will then analyze it to determine if the advertisement is successful or not.


Objectively analyze the advertisement to determine how it works.
Come to an understanding of who the audience is and how they’re being persuaded.
Analyze for visual rhetoric, rhetorical appeals, and weak claims (use both logical fallacy information in JAC and Schrank’s “The Language of Advertising Claims.” Both will be assigned later).
Create a clear argument about the success of the advertisement (this will be your thesis).

Note: You will determine if the advertisement’s perception of the audience is accurate or not. In this paper, you can be the target audience. If this is the case, you can talk about how and why they tried to appeal to you and people like you. You will need to talk in both generalities (your age, gender, ethnicity, class, etc) and specifics.

Consider the following questions in helping you to shape your response:

What is the ad’s message? Is there an underlying message, too? (What is the subtextual message? How does it connect to larger social/cultural issues?)
Who is the target audience? Again, what evidence can you find? Is the advertisement’s perception of the audience is accurate?
What are the visual appeals that the ad uses?
What rhetorical tactics or appeals (logos, ethos, pathos) are used by the creators of the ads?
How (and how well) do these appeals work to accomplish their desired effects?
How are the features of the target audience affected by the appeals? (“This tactic works well because it taps into the young male audience’s feeling of insecurity and how much they want to imitate this celebrity.”)
Why do you believe this advertisement effectively or ineffectively connects to the audience? Your answer to this question will become your thesis statement.

Evaluative Criteria

In this assignment I will be looking for:

A clear, specific thesis statement that takes a stand on the ad’s effectiveness.
Strong evidence that addresses both the visual and rhetorical persuasiveness of the ad.
Use of rhetorical terms to establish your authority as experienced analyst.
Logical organization of your ideas, including clear paragraph breaks in a 4+ page essay.
Correct use of the academic genre (paragraph structure, tone, MLA conventions)
Please include copies of the advertisement if you’re using print ads or a Works Cited page with URLs if you are using a television advertisement (please make sure that the ads are on YouTube or an easily accessible website).

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