The finished paper should:
▪ Focus on one advertisement. Pick one that gives you enough material to work with!
▪ Analyze the ad, explaining the strategies it uses to appeal to its audience.
▪ Refer to specific techniques used in the ad: types of slanting, propaganda, or weasel words.
▪ Be written for an audience who is in regular contact with media, but who may not be aware of how it influences them.
You may choose a print or non-print ad for the analysis—as long as it uses words. For example:
▪ a magazine, TV, or radio advertisement for a specific product
▪ an advocacy ad in support of an idea, cause, movement, or organization
Before writing, carefully examine the ad and think about:
1. The ad’s target audience: Where was the ad published or aired (a certain magazine or tv station)? What does this tell you about the ad’s intended audience? What are their interests or values?
2. The ad’s purpose and argument: How does the ad try to “sell” its product? Does it suggest that the most successful people use this tech device? That the best parents choose this diaper ointment? That this is the right politician for the job? That the most patriotic citizens will support this cause?
3. The strategies used by the ad to achieve its purpose: What specific techniques—types of slanting, weasel words, or propaganda—does the ad use to appeal to its audience or achieve its purpose?
Then write an essay explaining what you discovered through your examination of the ad:
Introduction: Provide context—why should your audience be aware of these techniques and how they work? Transition into your focus on one ad that demonstrates these techniques; include a clear thesis statement that identifies the techniques the ad uses to achieve its purpose (use specific terms in the thesis, such as slanting through selection of facts, weasel words, bandwagon, etc.).
Body of the essay:
a. Briefly describe the ad; identify its purpose and target audience (see #1-2 above)
b. Analyze the techniques the ad uses to influence its target audience.
a. Focus on one technique at a time (one type of slanting / propaganda, or weasel words).
b. Define the technique.
c. Provide an example from the ad that demonstrates the technique; explain how that example helps shape the audience’s perception of the product.
d. Repeat for other examples of that technique. Then move on to the next technique.
Conclusion: “so what?”—why should readers care about slanting, propaganda, and so on?