Overview: Now that we have been practicing logos, ethos, pathos in class and by watching television commercials at home, I want you to begin focusing on specific methods by which advertisers market their products to you as consumers. This next assignment is a 'scaffolding' one; in other words, it helps us to prepare for concepts and activities that will be a part of our Argumentative Essay.
Specifically, we will be focusing on the rhetorical concepts of logos, ethos, pathos, kairos, and topos--the logical, ethical, emotional, time-based, and topicalappeals that are common to most forms of argument and advertising. In my mind, knowledge of these concepts can help to strengthen our Argumentative Essays and can even help us think about potential topics for that assignment.
For example, if you choose to analyze how an average tobacco advertisement attempts to lure younger smokers into thinking that smoking is awesome and cool, you might potentially then think about argumentative topics along those lines: smoking areas on campus, smoking in bars in Hawaii, marketing tobacco to young people, or preventing underage smoking amongst elementary and intermediate-aged students.
OPTION ONE: (easier) ANALYZE a magazine advertisement or commercial on television.
1. Find a magazine advertisement or commercial on television. If you select a commercial from television, you may want to create screencaptures (3) that show specific scenes worth advertising.
2. Skim and use Post It Notes to figure out your plan of attack, depicting what elements are worth focusing on.
3. Craft a thesis statement that captures the dominant (and/or) hidden appeals in the advertisement.
4. Work with your instructor to figure out how the advertisement appeals to the audience, the topic/product sold, and the speaker / presenter. This element represents the rhetorical triangle.
OPTION TWO: (harder) ANALYZE a sustainability advertisement that you create yourself.
This semester, I want you to polish up both your "soft skills" and your "academic skills" by developing skills that might be valuable in one of the hottest majors right now: Sustainability and Sustainability Consulting.
SCENARIO: Kapi'olani Community College's marketing department has hired your group (3 or 4) to raise awareness about sustainability principles on campus, or elements of environmental awareness that you think other faculty, staff, and students should be aware about. There are a ton of topics out there right in front of your eyes:
1. how much water and electricity does the campus use?
2. how much gets recycled?
3. is the school powered by solar energy?
1. You should look at several print advertisements from magazines that you have at home or pick up free magazines at the State Libraries. Select several advertisements; in class, you will be using these advertisements simply for "PRACTICE." We will use these magazine articles to identify and analyze the rhetorical concepts.
1. You will walk around campus in a group of 3 or 4. Develop your own group dynamic; typical dynamics include a leader, a notetaker, a photographer, and a cheerleader.
2. You will have an inventory sheet that resembles a Sustainability Inventory. On it, you will walk around identifying real sustainability successes or snagpoints that you want KCC's 'ohana to be aware about: e.g. too much water being used, paper not being recycled, etc.
3. You will create with your group an ATTRACTIVE 8 1/2 by 11 inch poster that captures your message.
Categories the committee is looking for: FUNNIEST | MOST VISUALLY INSPIRED | MOST MOVING | GREATEST TOPICALITY/MESSAGE | OTHER
4. Groups that craft the best posters will have their posters hung up on campus.
STEP TWO: ANALYTICAL/WRITTEN PORTION
2. PAGE ONE: (PRODUCTION SECTION)
On page one, create a print advertisement that employs graphics. (or just reproduce, for each member, the advertisement you made)
You may want to use a digital camera, and sometype of graphics editor, although advanced Photoshop techniques are by no means mandatory.
Include pictures in your assignment to make it more appealing for the reader. You may use copyrighted images across the Internet. Learn how to cite these images.
Things you might consider: 1) who am I trying to hook into buying my product/message; 2) am I using logos, ethos, pathos, kairos, topos or a combination of each to hook the audience; 3) what pictures should I use to hook my audience; 4) what gimmicks or approaches am I using? 5) What textual elements do I need within my advertisement?
PAGE TWO, THREE: ANALYSIS SECTION
3. PURPOSE: In the first paragraph of the essay, preferably towards the end, create a strong thesis statement that successfully identifies the core appeal of the advertisement. If you remember SUBJECT-VERB-THEME-EXPANSION structure, I expect to see something along the lines of "X advertisement DEMONSTRATES _____(rhetorical appeal)________ because ______________." If you notice that the advertisement has a hidden or lesser appeal, you may also make note of it.
4. AUDIENCE APPEAL: There are many things you can do to enhance audience appeal.*
WHO? WHAT? WHEN ? WHY? WHERE? HOW?
A. You can talk about the history of the add and the objective background information regarding it. Who is selling it? What are they selling?
B. You can describe a lot of features within the ad? What is most striking? What's going on in the ad? What colors, lines, fonts, shapes are really shocking?
C. You can react personally to the ad. How do you feel about the ad? How does it appeal to you?
D. You can, for BONUS POINTS, include outside sources that are properly identified and cited in the work. Each external citation should have an author's name, the ethos or credibility of the speaker, and a parenthetical citation showing where you got the work.
For example, if you were investigating a Pepsi ad, a strong outside source might be a scholarly article about how Pepsi has traditionally appealed to its audience in the 80's, 90's, and 00's, even now. You might use another outside resource depicting how Coca Cola uses similar or different marketing techniques.
Or, if you want to really tie in to sustainability, you might refer to materials like those found here or here.
5. STRUCTURE: After your introduction and thesis, you might make a rough outline that looks something like this:
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THE ADVERTISEMENT
DESCRIPTIVE FEATURES OF THE ADVERTISEMENT
SUBJECTIVE FEATURES OF THE ADVERTISEMENT
CONCLUSIONS: AUDIENCE APPEAL
At the end of the unit, You will share your products with your classmates and instructor and we will evaluate your work. There may be a contest for certain advertisements:
A) FUNNIEST AD
B) MOST CREATIVE AD
C) BEST VISUALS
D) MOST THOUGHT-PROVOKING AD
Resources: Ad Analysis
A. How to Analyze an Advertisement
B. Analysis of Advertisements
C. Common "Hooks" that Advertisers Use
D. Sample Advertisement Analysis
E. Potential Worksheet for Initial Advertisement Analysis
|How to Write / Craft an Advertisement|
|Create an Effective Print Ad|
Resources: Visual Rhetoric
A. Purdue OWL Visual Rhetoric website
B. Purdue OWL: Analyzing Visual Documents
*Other critical questions:
1. What is the general ambience of the advertisement? What mood does it create?
How does it do this?
2. What is the design of the advertisement? Does it use axial balance or some other form? How are the basic components or elements arranged?
3. What is the relationship between pictorial elements and written material and what does this tell us?
4. What is the use of space in the advertisement? Is there a lot of 'white space" or is it full of graphic and written elements?
5. What signs and symbols do we find? What role do they play in the ad's impact?
6. If there are figures (men, women, children, animals) what are they like? What can be said about their facial expressions, poses, hairstyle, age, sex, hair color, ethnicity, education, occupation, relationships (of one to the other)?
7. What does the background tell us? Where is the advertisement taking place and what significance does this background have?
8. What action is taking place in the advertisement and what significance does it have? (This might be described as the ad's "plot.")
9. What theme or themes do we find in the advertisement? What is it about? (The plot of an advertisement may involve a man and a woman drinking but the theme might be jealousy, faithlessness, ambition, passion, etc.)
10. What about the language used? Does it essentially provide information or does it try to generate some kind of emotional response? Or both? What techniques are used by the copywriter: humor, alliteration, definitions" of life, comparisons, sexual innuendo, and so on?
11. What typefaces are used and what impressions do they convey?
12. What is the item being advertised and what role does it play in American culture and society?
13. What about aesthetic decisions? If the advertisement is a photograph, what kind of a shot is it? What significance do long shots, medium shots, close-up shots have? What about the lighting, use of color, angle of the shot?
14. What sociological, political, economic or cultural attitudes are indirectly reflected in the advertisement? An advertisement may be about a pair of blue jeans but it might, indirectly, reflect such matters as sexism, alienation, stereotyped thinking, conformism, generational conflict, loneliness, elitism, and so on.
Excerpted from Signs in Contemporary Culture: An Introduction to Semiotics by Arthur Asu Berger (Longman, Inc., 95 Church Street, White Plains, NY 10601)