Short Advertisement Analyses

Over the course of the semester you will write three ad analyses (~500 words each) in which you

(2 due by spring break, 1 due by end of term) 30% choose an ad that illustrates concepts from an assigned reading, write a ~500 word analysis of the ad using those concepts. Your analysis should demonstrate your understanding of the concept and your ability to apply it to an example not discussed in the reading. For two of these analyses, you may choose any reading, concept, and ad. You will post these to the class wordpress site. For one of these analyses, you must respond to a post by one of your classmates. You will write a 500 word analysis that either contests or furthers their analysis. You must add something of substance to their analysis with your own (i.e. you can’t just agree with them and say they did a great job). You may also choose to supplement their analysis with material we’ve covered since they posted it.


Long Campaign Analysis

You’ll make a multimedia curation that collects several images/clips (at least 5) from a current advertising campaign. You are encouraged to select ads from across different formats (print, TV, digital, in-person, etc.). Your curation should include commentary (1250-1500 words minimum) that analyzes the campaign, using concepts and historical precedents covered throughout the course. You may discuss the ads from the campaign individually, but you should also take into account how the campaign makes use of various formats and multiple images to create a whole branding message.


Before completing your write-up, you will submit a proposal (in hard copy) that:

  • indicates which campaign you have chosen
  • describes the specific ads from the campaign you will be discussing
  • outlines which concepts or historical precedents from the course readings you will be using to build your analysis

Your outline should indicate how you plan to apply these concepts to your campaign (e.g. if you are going to argue that a modern campaign can be understood as parallel to the mass culture critique that emerged during the Creative Revolution, you should briefly explain the basis for this argument in your proposal, with specific reference to both the elements of the ads you’ve chosen and the relevant readings on the topic). Your outline should also include complete citations of the reading material, including authors, titles, and page numbers.

Your proposal is due in class on Thursday, April 18. It will be returned to you with feedback on Tuesday, April 23.

Final curation

Your final curation must be posted to the class blog by 11:59pm on Wednesday, May 1. You will informally present it to your classmates on May 2. Your write-up will be graded on the following criteria:

  • visual effectiveness (images are high quality and embedded properly into the body of your post)
  • proper digital sourcing (hyperlinks are used where appropriate, images link back to their original source webpages)
  • proper academic sourcing (all concepts are attributed to the appropriate authors and articles/books, with page numbers included where appropriate)
  • writing quality (are the ideas structured logically and thoughtfully? is the prose free of grammatical and typographic errors? is the tone engaging?)
  • comprehensiveness of analysis (ideas are drawn from across the course content, multiple concepts are woven into the analysis)
  • depth of analysis (ideas are thoroughly explained and are applied convincingly to the examples shown, with supporting details marshaled to support the analysis)
  • integration of ad analysis and campaign analysis (the ads are examined both individually and as part of a coherent campaign; concepts from the course are applied to both specific ads and to the campaign as a whole)
  • originality and creativity of analysis (does your curation and analysis tell us something we didn’t know before? does it make us think of the campaign and/or the course concepts in a novel way?)


Midterm Exam

Final Exam (take-home)