Every year, companies around the world spend billions of dollars on market research and subsequent advertising, and every year many of those companies see profits both large and small at least partly because of their advertising efforts. Plain and simple: advertising works. But how? And what can we learn about our society by analyzing the ads produced by the hours and millions spent on market research? And how can we learn to be less effected–and more entertained–by advertising?
Pick two print, radio, or television ads for the same product that you find compelling, intriguing, irritating, or inspiring. (You will need to provide me with copies of the ads, so capture TV ads on video, give me a transrpt of the radio ads, or attach the magazine pages to your essay). Now study the ads many times. Ask your friends about them. Then, compare and contrast the EFFECTIVENESS of these ads by analyzing their use of rhetorical strategies. In other words, you will decide which ad is more effective in convincing the audience to purchase the product. To do this, you will need to compare and contrast the use of rhetorical strategies.
Some things you may include:
Where are the ads from? (Magazine title, TV Network and program name, radio station and program name) Where do the ads appear? Back page of a magazine? Middle page opposite an article on quitting smoking? Between two TV programs? Right at the end of one? Why is this the right time or place for this ads?
What is the specific audience of that magazine, TV or radio show, and how did you determine this? (Give me supporting evidence from the articles and other ads in the magazine, the content of the TV show and time it airs, and so on). What age is the audience? Sex? Ethnicity? What economic class? What kinds of jobs or hobbies does this audience have? Can you identify anything about their priorities or values?
What visual and/or linguistic symbolism is being used? To what purpose? What colors are used? Why? Are the images realistic? Fuzzy? Romanticized? How so and why?
What values and/or fears do the ads appeal to? What strategies do the ads employ? Are these strategies helping to create a convincing argument? Why or why not?
What arguments are the ads making?
Include an introduction, conclusion, and whatever other observations or evidence you find useful in constructing a paper that carefully compares and contrasts these two ads effective use of rhetorical strategies in order to come to a conclusion about which ad is more effective in convincing the specific audience.
Have fun; think creatively and carefully, be sure to provide evidence to back up your assertions.