Purpose: In this post, you will apply the lessons you have learned about visual rhetoric, practice close-reading skills, and hone your analytical writing skills. Being able to analyze a print advertisement and identify the dominant means of persuasion will help you develop the skills you will need to analyze the literature in the upcoming units. Furthermore, strengthening your critical reading and thinking skills will help you in your other college courses and your career.


Part 1. Select one of the Advertisement Options in the PDF provided for you in this submodule.

Part 2. Take a screenshot of the advertisement you choose and paste it into the posting box. If you have trouble pasting the image, try attaching it to your post or using the “Insert Image” button under the advanced HTML tools.

Part 3. After pasting it, use the same box and answer at least 3 of the following bulleted sets of questions (you may answer in bulleted formatting instead of paragraphs):

  • Who is the ad’s intended audience? Why do you think so? How might the ad be perceived by those outside of its intended audience? How do you know?
  • What is the primary means of persuasion—pathos, ethos, or logos, or a combination? Why do you think so?
  • Who does the advertiser want you to think they are? Who are they, really? What (besides the product) is being sold, literally or figuratively? How do you know?
  • Which of Jib Fowles’ list of needs/desires is being promoted—for sex, for affiliation, to nurture, for guidance, to aggress, to achieve, to dominate, for prominence, for attention, for autonomy, to escape, to feel safe, for aesthetic sensations, to satisfy curiosity, or for physiological needs (food, drink, sleep, etc.)? How and why is this kind of appeal being used?
  • Is there a metaphor suggested here (e.g. “This product is/feels like X”), or is a certain story being told? If so, what is it? What might have been the advertiser’s main purpose in creating this ad the way it is?
  • How does the composition or placement of people or items help the message get across? Where is the viewer’s eye meant to travel as it looks at the ad? What grabs the viewer’s attention, what is less noticeable, etc.?
  • Is there any text that appears in the ad? If so, what form does this text take? (Foreground, background, beneath an image? Consider font and style.) Why use these specific words? Why is it phrased the way it is?

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