Does it challenge entrenched ideas or perceptions?

Objective: For this assignment, you will be applying your knowledge of rhetoric and persuasion to analyze a print advertisement and write a 600-800 word rhetorical analysis essay critiquing the ad.

The Plan

1. An analysis breaks a whole into parts and examines each part to determine how it functions as part of the whole. For this assignment, you will be analyzing a print advertisement. In order to do this, you will need to go beyond the obvious. The thesis must state what you believe is the underlying message of the ad. What is the ad doing besides persuading the consumer to buy something?

2. After reading all of the information presented in this module and viewing the Power Point presentation and videos, you will need to choose an ad to analyze. You may choose any ad you want, but you should make sure that the ad is complex enough that you can analyze it. Some suggestions are listed at the end of this page.

3. You will study the ad carefully and do a little research so you can identify the context of the ad (historical, cultural, political). In order to do this, you might consider the following questions:

What does the ad tell about American culture? Think what a foreigner would think about the US based on this ad. What assumptions would be made about the American people and their values.
What larger social issues does this ad involve? This could be the importance of family, the American ideal of individualism, the power of wealth, the importance of popularity, weight and self image, etc.
Do you agree with the way that the ad portrays the issue?
Does the ad perpetuate a stereo type? If so, which one?
Does the ad break apart a stereotype? Does it challenge entrenched ideas or perceptions?
4. After you answer these questions, you should complete the prewriting worksheet which will help in guiding your analysis. You can download the questions by clicking on this link.Preview the documentView in a new window

5. Once you have answered all of the questions, you are ready to begin writing your draft. Use the questions as a guide in setting up your thesis and body paragraphs.

6. Follow these guidelines as you structure the essay:

The introductory paragraph should identify the ad and summarize it by providing a vivid and thorough description. As much as possible, this description should show, not tell, and your showing should highlight the elements you will discuss in your body paragraphs. Avoid phrases such as In the ad I chose…. Instead, identify the ad: PETAs “All Animals Have the Same Parts” ad featuring Pamela Anderson….” When you are done with the introductory paragraph, ask yourself the following question: If I read my paragraph to someone who had never seen the ad, would he or she be able to visualize what is there?
One body paragraph should explain and discuss the type of appeal (think Ethos, Logos, and/or Pathos) the ad uses. If the ad youve chosen to analyze employs more than one persuasive strategy, you can discuss the combination, but strive to identify the dominant mode of appeal. In addition to the type of appeal the ad uses, you might also identify/discuss the type of need (think Maslows Hierarchy) the ad creates and/or targets. If both of these fit together nicely in one paragraph, that is fine. If your development is strong for each, however, you can separate “appeal” and “need” into different paragraphs.
Another body paragraph should explain what the ad wants from viewers/consumers. For example, does the ad want people to change an opinion, purchase a specific product, donate money, etc? In order to get viewers/consumers to do what it wants, an ad must convince them of something. What assumptions are being made about the viewers/consumers? What is the ad trying to be convincing about, and how does it try to be convincing?
The concluding paragraph should, based on the explanations and discussion (i.e., analysis) provided in the previous body paragraphs, reveal your opinion regarding whether or not the ad is successful. Remember, your opinion—whether the ad is successful or not—results from, and therefore has to match, the evidence provided in the body paragraphs.
6. As usual, once you complete your draft, get help with revision and submit the final paper for a grade using the assignment link in this module.

7. Make sure that you paste a copy of the ad you have chosen to your essay.