- To create an advertisement for your product that is tailored to a specific magazine’s audience (worth 50 points);
- To compose a 3 page contextual analysis in which you consider how your rhetorical appeals or strategies are working to persuade the audience and how these devices have been shaped by cultural, social, and/or historical contexts (worth 125 points).
- Pillow Pet Dream Lites for Maxim
- The Potty Patch for Cosmo
- Shake Weight forGame Informer
- Life Alert forESPN Magazine
- Snuggies for National Geographic
- Flex Seal for Shape
- Note: If you use images from magazines or from the web, I want you to keep track of the sites you get them from. You’ll need to cite these as sources in your Works Cited page (Don’t worry. This is relatively easy, and we’ll talk about how to do it in class).
- Who are you targeting with your ad?
- What do you what them to think, feel, or do when they see it?
- What value are you offering?
- Why should people choose your product?
- The most effective, attention-grabbing headlines promise benefits.
- Benefits are good things that will happen, or problems that will be solved, when people choose your product/service.
- Mention any Unique Selling Point(s) (USPs).
- No USPs? Just express the value your product offers as clearly as possible.
- Don’t try to get attention from everyone. Focus on appealing to the interests of your target audience.
- Don’t be afraid to be simple and direct.
- Keep the headline promise: say how the product delivers benefits.
- Keep words, sentences, paragraphs short.
- Use words you’d use when speaking with a person face-to-face. No jargon.
- Use concrete and sensory language, not abstract concepts.
- Less is more. Identify key messages and cut the rest.
- Consider returning to the headline theme at the end.
- Explain what customers need to know. Make the next step (i.e. buying the product/service) easy.
- The design should guide the reader visually from headline through text and on to a call to action.
- Make sure text is clear, large, and legible.
- Think about where and how the design will be seen (i.e. in a printed magazine surrounded by themed articles and among other advertisements) and consider it in this context.
- Give equal priority to words and images/graphics.
- Be creative.
- Good advertisement imagery reinforces the message of your headline (i.e. benefits), or adds meaning that couldn’t otherwise be expressed.
- Bad advertising imagery has no reason to be there and adds nothing to the message. Don’t use images for their own sake.
- Advertisements must be designed on standard 8 x 11-inch paper.
- Your name must be in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
- You will turn in your advertisement to me in class onThursday, October 18.
- Essays must 2-3 full pages, typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, with 1 inch margins on each side.
- Essays must be saved as Microsoft Word documents (i.e. “doc” or “docx”).
- Your document should be titled with your last name and the assignment number (e.g. Smith_Essay 2).
- Rough drafts must be submitted to me via email by 11:59 pm onMonday, October 15.
- Final drafts must be submitted to me via email before class starts onThursday, October 18.
- Title the email with your name, your section number, and the assignment number (e.g. John Smith English 101-008 Essay 1).
- Don’t forget to attach the file.
 From ABC Copywriting’s Five Slide Guide to Writing and Designing in Advertisement. 2009. Web.
Using Contextual Analysis to evaluate texts
A contextual analysis is simply an analysis of a text (in whatever medium, including multi-media) that helps us to assess that text within the context of its historical and cultural setting, but also in terms of its textuality – or the qualities that characterize the text as a text. A contextual analysis combines features of formal analysis with features of “cultural archeology, ” or the systematic study of social, political, economic, philosophical, religious, and aesthetic conditions that were (or can be assumed to have been) in place at the time and place when the text was created. While this may sound complicated, it is in reality deceptively simple: it means “situating” the text within the milieu of its times and assessing the roles of author, readers (intended and actual), and “commentators” (critics, both professional and otherwise) in the reception of the text.
A contextual analysis can proceed along many lines, depending upon how complex one wishes to make the analysis. But it generally includes several key questions:
1. What does the text reveal about itself as a text?
– Describe (or characterize) the language ( the words, or vocabulary) and the rhetoric (how the words are arranged in order to achieve some purpose). These are the primary components of style.
2. What does the text tell us about its apparent intended audience(s)?
– What sort of reader does the author seem to have envisioned, as demonstrated by the text’s language and rhetoric?
– What sort of qualifications does the text appear to require of its intended reader(s)? How can we tell?
– What sort of readers appear to be excluded from the text’s intended audiences? How can we tell?
– Is there, perhaps, more than one intended audience?
3. What seems to have been the author’s intention? Why did the author write this text? And why did the author write this text in this particular way, as opposed to other ways in which the text might have been written?
– Remember that any text is the result of deliberate decisions by the author. The author has chosen to write (or paint, or whatever) with these particular words and has therefore chosen not to use other words that she or he might have used. So we need to consider:
– what the author said (the words that have been selected);
– what the author did not say (the words that were not selected); and
– how the author said it (as opposed to other ways it might or could have been said).
4. What is the occasion for this text? That is, is it written in response to:
– some particular, specific contemporary incident or event?
– some more “general” observation by the author about human affairs and/or experiences?
– some definable set of cultural circumstances?
5. Is the text intended as some sort of call to – or for – action?
– If so, by whom? And why?
– And also if so, what action(s) does the author want the reader(s) to take?
6. Is the text intended rather as some sort of call to – or for – reflection or consideration rather than direct action?
– If so, what does the author seem to wish the reader to think about and to conclude or decide?
– Why does the author wish the readers to do this? What is to be gained, and by whom?
7. Can we identify any non-textual circumstances that affected the creation and reception of the text?
– Such circumstances include historical or political events, economic factors, cultural practices, and intellectual or aesthtic issues, as well as the particular circumstances of the author's own life.
Stephen C. Behrendt – Spring 2008