Analysis of an Advertisement
by Kelli Randall
Assignment: From a print medium choose an
advertisement that you find rhetorically interesting.
The ad can be one for which you consider yourself part
of the target audience or not. This in-class writing
assignment will give you an opportunity to demonstrate
your ability to “think rhetorically.” Be prepared to
write a brief analysis of your ad that will demonstrate
how the ad works to influence its audience, both through
its images and its text.
Invention: Consider the rhetorical situation of
the ad. What is being advertised? Who is making the
claim? Who is the target audience? Where and when does
the ad appear? Think of the ad as an argument. What
claim is it making?
Consider the reasons which support that claim: reasons
about the nature of the ad’s product or service, reasons
about those responsible for that product or service, and
reasons which appeal to the audience’s values and
beliefs—and their desires. How do you think the ad
affects its audience and why? What effects do you think
it has been designed to produce?
Besides the ad’s images and its language, consider the
underlying assumptions which support the claim and
reasons. What assumptions have the ad designers made
about the audience, about their knowledge, their values
and beliefs, their needs? What are the ad makers’
intentions? Do you think this is an effective ad for its
audience and purpose?
Informal Writing Task: In two well-developed
paragraphs, introduce the ad and your analysis, making a
claim about the ad and its effectiveness. Arrange the
paragraphs of your analysis so that your audience moves
through the parts of the ad with you in an orderly way.
Help your audience see the ad and its rhetoric as you
did. Quote particulars to support your argument. Be
prepared to present your ad to the class.