What’s the purpose of this assignment?
The purpose of your first major writing project in this course is to practice summarizing, analyzing, and reflecting. In this case, you’ll be summarizing and analyzing a single advertisement to figure out how the ad’s creators use rhetorical strategies to target you and attempt to persuade you. You’ll also be reflecting on how that ad made you feel and what it made you think. By doing this kind of analysis and reflection, you’ll become more sensitive to when and how someone is trying to use rhetorical strategies to manipulate you into buying something or thinking a certain way.
What kind of ad should I analyze?
You’ll get to choose the ad and its genre (print, online, video, audio, social media pop-up, or something else), but the ad you choose to analyze should be targeting you and your peers. “Peers” can mean lots of things, however. For example, the ad could be targeting you and others of the same age, gender, race, ethnicity, values, beliefs, sexual orientation, location, income level, nationality, political views, occupation, etc.
Who is my audience?
Your audience for this essay should be your classmates and your instructor, but assume that we have not seen the ad you’re analyzing. This means you’ll need to describe the ad in detail and explain your ideas thoroughly. Don’t just assume we’ll know what you mean. Explain.
What genre will I write in?
Your genre will be an essay organized around a main idea or thesis, but you can structure your essay however you like. It doesn’t have to have a certain number of paragraphs, but it should be at least 800 words (or more).
What are the main things my essay should do?
- Summarize the advertisement in vivid detail so that someone who has never seen the ad can picture it in their mind.
- Analyze the major rhetorical strategies in the ad (the techniques the advertisers used to persuade or manipulate you and others like you).
- Reflect on how the ad’s rhetorical strategies make you feel and how those feelings that the ad triggered relate to the advertiser’s purpose.
How will my essay be evaluated?
I’ll evaluate your essay using the following rubric, so use these items as a checklist for yourself:
- Does your essay’s introduction attempt to hook your audience and set up the rest of the essay? (10%)
- Does your essay contain a clear, specific, and arguable thesis or main idea about the ad and how it works? (15%)
- Have you summarized and described the ad clearly and thoroughly, and included an explanation of the ad’s rhetorical situation (purpose, target audience, genre)? (15%)
- Do you support your thesis with detailed, thorough analysis of the ad? (15%)
- Do you reflect thoroughly on how the ad’s rhetorical strategies affected you or made you feel? (15%)
- Does your essay’s conclusion reinforce the thesis or main idea and bring closure to the essay? (10%)
- Is your essay clearly and logically organized? (10%)
- Does your essay show evidence of thorough proofreading and editing? (10%)
Got any tips?
Sure. If you get stuck, here are some questions to help you develop your essay:
- Purpose and audience: Who is the intended audience for your ad? How do you know? What values or beliefs does the audience hold? What effects might the use of font, layout, color, and image have on the ad’s audience? What’s the relationship between the images and the text?
- Logos: Does the ad make sense? Why or why not? Does it have to?
- Ethos: Does the ad seem professional and credible? Why or why not? Is it relatable? Pathos: Does the ad try to evoke certain emotions or trigger your values or beliefs? Why?
- In what ways does the ad reflect the culture or society that produced it? Does the ad include any popular culture references that resonated with you?
- Angle of vision: What does the ad emphasize? Is there anything left out of the ad? Why?
- Reflection: How did you feel while watching the ad? What thoughts arose in your mind as you watched it? Did you feel any physical sensations (hunger or arousal, for example)? Did it make you think about yourself or anyone else in any specific way? Did it leave you with any emotions (sadness, happiness, longing, excitement, inspiration, emptiness, belonging)?
The ad that I chose: https://www.adsoftheworld.com/media/film/gillette_your_best_never_comes_easy (Links to an external site.)
Attached, I will add some brainstorming that I did.
Here are some things I already began to write about the ad:
- This ad targets athletes, people who are disabled, coaches, African American’s that grew up in a low-income home that want to make it one day.
- The ad shows a young African American boy with an amputated arm growing up with his brother and father in their small home. Obviously, one can understand their circumstances. The father is very enthusiastic and driven to show Shaquem Griffin (a real life football player) that anything is possible, such as, teaching him how to shave with one arm and practice for sports with one arm. Then, it suddenly shows a clip of Shaquem already playing for the Seahawks with a message that writes “Your Best Never Comes Easy”. With this being said, the ad’s creators were provoking emotion, because in the beginning of the ad, you can’t help but feel sorry for him for having one arm, because one can see how badly he wants to play football and how interested he is in learning to shave and whatnot. But towards the end of the ad, you feel happy for him. Kind of like ‘yeah, he did that’. And of course, that’s what the company of Gillette wanted the audience to feel like.
- The ad is a video. The video helped achieve the purpose of the ad because it starts from the beginning of his life right up to the point he is in life right now. A picture wouldn’t be able to express and demonstrate all of the above.
- This ad makes me feel like I’m on Gillette’s side. From the beginning to the end, it shows a story – kind of like a fast movie. I found this interesting because it is a cool concept. You get to see how Shaquem’s story in life began and how it is right now in life. You can’t help but feel sorry at first, like you want to help Shaquem. And then, the commercial does what you wanted to do by itself – it shows Shaquem’s success. This gives the audience a good warm feeling, which is what Gillette was aiming for.