Media Analysis Essay 2: Analyzing Advertisements

For this assignment, you need to select ONE campaign from the 15 campaigns selected by AdAge as the top ad campaigns of the 21st century. You will find the campaigns here:

http://adage.com/lp/top15/#intro

Your task is to analyze the purpose and potential effectiveness of the advertisement campaign, paying close attention to its strategic goal (enhance awareness, shape perceptions, encourage consistent use, etc.), its target market (who it strives to reach and influence), its content (the persuasive message), and its context (the media it appears in, the media’s target audience).

In your thesis, you should make a clear case about what the aim of the advertisement campaign was, and whether it achieved that aim through a coordinated and concerted effort in messaging and placement. You should thus consider the questions:

What was/were the strategic goal/goals of the advertisement campaign? Who is the target audience? Where was it placed? Was this effective advertisement placement? What is the message of this advertisement campaign?

Which principles of persuasion are being employed in the message? Are they are being employed successfully? What is your evidence for this? What route of persuasion (peripheral or central) is being employed? What is your evidence for this?

And at last, bringing all the pieces together, how well do you think the advertisement campaign performs in achieving its strategic goal/goals? What are the reasons? Your answer to this final question will be the starting point of your thesis and your essay as well.

Your paper should offer some answers to all these questions, but DO NOT simply answer them. These are the core questions you should contemplate. Your essay should be an argumentative and analytical piece that has a strong thesis and rich and cogent arguments supporting the thesis.

One challenge of analyzing an advertisement campaign in this way is that you must be careful of circular reasoning! Here would be an example of circular reasoning: because an advertisement appeared in a certain magazine, it was targeting the kind of people who read that magazine. Because the advertisement was targeting those people, that magazine was an ideal medium for the advertisement. Be sure that you have good (non-circular) reasoning and evidence to substantiate claims!

Another challenge of this essay is that you have to analyze rather than describe the advertisement campaign. It is easy to drift away from the core questions and aimlessly describe the campaign in general terms. You need to clearly identify the strategic goal/goals of the advertisement, and to evaluate the effectiveness of messaging and placement with regard to how they achieve/not achieve the strategic goal/goals. Furthermore, you have to work into your analysis both principles of persuasion and route of persuasion.

A third challenge of advertisement analysis is that advertising campaigns spread themselves over a variety of media today. Consider looking at the broader context of the campaign.

Throughout your essay, use class concepts—from lectures and readings—to make your case. There is an expectation that you will use at least 2 outside sources, and properly cite and reference each. Use the outside sources in the development of your arguments. Outside sources include further readings, guest lectures and other authoritative articles, but not required readings or Prof. Rojas’s lectures. In choosing the articles to help you analyze this advertisement campaign, remember: you don’t have to agree with the authors of the articles you use, but you have to show that you understand how those authors would interpret the advertisement you’ve chosen.

When you turn in your essay, include a picture of or link to the advertisement.

Media Analysis Essay – General Rules

You will write a1500-word (five-page, double-spaced) papers, tied to the class readings and each requiring some outside investigation. Even though this paper is short, it should still each have the three basic components of an academic essay:

  1. An introduction, which clearly states a thesis (please underline that thesis).
  2. A body, which develops the thesis, with one argument per paragraph, and several points ofevidence supporting each argument.
  3. A conclusion which not only restates the thesis, but leaves the reader with something more, suchas speculation on the broader implications of the thesis.

Use APA citation style throughout.

The first draft of the essay is due via Turnitin.com by 9:55 am on DECEMBER 4. You will be assigned to peer reviews group and you should also make it available to your peer reviewers.

You will receive feedback from your TA, provide and receive peer reviews (week 15) and then submit a final version of your paper by DECEMBER 18.

Short Writing #4 Revisit your media experience with a critical eye

This short writing assignment is due Week 10 in section. (So November 7-10 depending on when your section meets.) This writing assignment should conform to the normal guidelines for short writings: 500 words, posted to turnitin.com, APA style.

In Weeks 6, 7 and 8 we focused on some of the major issues faced by journalists. In this short writing assignment, you will return to your own media experience—but this time with a more critical eye as well as a better understanding of a journalist’s role. How do we evaluate news content, perspectives in media, possible biases, and ultimately truth and accuracy?

Specifically, consider your daily experience of selecting and processing information with a focus on two things:

  • How do you decide what is relevant?That is, of all the information options presented to you in a day, which do you choose to allocate your attention to, and which do you discard out of hand? It is helpful to think concretely about this. For instance, when you are scrolling through your Facebook feed, which posts do you actually click on, repost, or like? What is your reasoning process for doing that?
  • How do you decide what is true?In addition to sorting out things that interest you from those you just let pass by, you have to make many choices about what you believe. Well, how do you do that? What is it about the information that makes you believe it? Think about all the cues of such information—its author, the person who shared it, the amount it has been shared, and others—which of these are the most compelling signal of truthfulness to you?

In your short essay, reflect on your media experiences with these two information-processing tasks in mind. What rules or clues do you find yourself using when you encounter and process information? This makes it much less of a descriptive overview—which is what Short Writing #1 was—and more of a careful analysis of your own processes of thinking.