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This first assignment will encourage you to become critical of media’s controlled influences on society. I am sure that you are all aware that advertisements purposely manipulate viewers, hoping to entice consumers into buying (often unnecessary) products. These largely visual arguments can be quite influential in our culture. This assignment asks you to analyze how a print ad or television commercial campaign forms a persuasive argument. It will challenge you to refine your rhetorical skills, including summarizing or paraphrasing skills, critical reading skills, and analytical skills. Furthermore, you will need to identify advertising appeals; the use of ethos, logos, and pathos; and the print ad or television commercial’s effectiveness with respect to organization, tone, and visual rhetoric.


Choose a print ad or television commercial that you feel you can analyze in depth. If you are able to find a series of advertisements for the same product, you may choose to focus on the entire ad campaign as long as you focus on representative advertisements to provide examples. In your paper you will analyze how the print ad or television commercial creates an argument that targets consumers, and you will argue whether this is done effectively or not.


Watch television commercials (on TV or on the Internet) and collect magazine ads so that you can find an appropriate advertisement to critique. Keep in mind that you will be writing 4-6 pages on your chosen advertisement. Also be sure to keep up with our reading assignments—I purposefully chose readings that will help you in writing this paper.


All of your formal papers for this class should have 1” margins, be double-spaced, and be printed in Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Use the template to ensure that your paper is formatted properly. Your final essay for this assignment should be 4-6 full pages in length, so I ask that you at least submit a three-page draft. The more complete the draft, the better the suggestions your classmates and I will be able to give you for improvement. In addition to the essay itself, your paper should feature a Works Cited page in MLA style. At a minimum, it will be necessary to cite your advertisement and the Fowles article you will be using; however, you may choose to use and cite your textbook as well. If you intend to use any other sources, you must get prior approval from me.


In this paper, I will be expecting a thorough analysis of your chosen advertisement. I will be looking for detailed information characterizing the ad’s tone, visual rhetoric, and composition. I will also be looking for a discussion of the ad’s appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos, as well as recognition of Fowles’ advertising appeals. As with all assignments for this class, I expect a highly polished essay that has been carefully organized, edited, proofread, and revised. This first assignment is worth 20% of your final semester grade.

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