Use the following steps to analysis (from Lester) and choose one analytical approach to analyze ONE TV ad of your choice.
If you do not have cable or have access to TV advertisements, check out some ads on YouTube and choose one that interests you.
Consider authorship. Who created this ad and why are they sending it? Look into the political economy behind the ad. What agency produced it? How does the ownership/production of the ad affect its content?
Evaluate the audience. Who are the intended targets of this “text?” Try to theorize about the intended audience using context cues from the program it aired on, if applicable. Who do you think mostly watches the show that the ad was placed in? Why do you suppose this ad was considered a good fit for the program?
Also consider how audiences may be prompted to interact with the ad, or with the company. Does the ad display a hashtag to use? (e.g. #LikeAGirl?) Or does it prompt audience members to submit their ideas, visit a website, or call a number?
Determine the institutional purpose: Why is this content being sent? Remember that most of the world’s media are moneymaking enterprises. Scholars of political economy suggest that the overall “purpose” of much media content created by huge corporations is to reinforce the power of those companies. How might that be true with the ad you chose? Or do you think this ad might be an exception to this rule? What other purposes might be behind this ad? (For example – the choice of spokesperson might be a calculated decision to garner good PR.)
Analyze the content: Ask yourself: what values, lifestyles, and points of view are represented in (or omitted from) this message? Remember that all media offerings are constructed, and choices must be made. Consider the Jhally and These choices will inevitably reflect the values, attitudes, and points of view of the people doing the constructing.
Identify the creative techniques. What creative techniques are being used to catch your attention? Still images, moving images, words, camera angle, music, color, all work together to produce different feelings or senses. Think outside the box. There are many different creative techniques to consider.
Finally, in your conclusion, I want you to very briefly discuss your opinion of this ad based on the answers to these five questions. What did you think of it? Do you find it compelling? Annoying? Does anything about it bother you? Do you love it? Hate it? Find it boring?
This paper should be 2-3 pages long. At most, it should be 4 pages. Being concise is good; just make sure you address each of the five questions COMPLETELY. Please use a Times-based font, and use 1-inch margins (1.25-inch margins on the sides, at the most). It should also be double-spaced.
At the TOP of your paper, or on a cover page, please be sure to include:
The name of the class
Make sure that your paper has a clear structure: (1) Introduction, (2) Thesis statement, (3) Body (in which you address each of the questions listed above) and (4) Conclusion (You should address question 6 in your conclusion).
IN YOUR INTRODUCTION, Make sure you note:
The name of the company/ad (if applicable – some ads have titles)
The basic premise of the ad in 1-3 sentences (so I can understand it, in case I’m not familiar with the ad in question)
How you watched it (online or on TV)
IN YOUR CONCLUSION, make sure you note:
Your reasoning behind your conclusions
I also expect you to list your references on a separate (final) page of the paper. This paper should have at least 2 references (the ad itself, and a class reading). You may choose to add more references if you cite additional outside information.
You can use whichever citation style you feel most comfortable with for the references, as long as you are consistent. Feel free to cite the readings from this class as references if you are using concepts from the readings. You will need other external citations to fully answer the above questions, such as “authorship” – you will need to look at which media company owns the network, for example, and who produces the show.
Please do not use Wikipedia as a primary source. Feel free to use it as a tool to point you to other, better primary sources, however.
Also, be thoughtful about your sources. Use sources that are reliable and trustworthy—extremely partisan sources, for example, or blog posts, do not make very good sources for academic work.
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