Read an Ad

Part I: Post an Ad

Search the Web for a provocative or interesting television advertisement (video). Most ads are 30 seconds, but some (important) ones are longer. Try to keep it under 2 minutes. 3 minutes max. Create a new page on your blog and title it according to your ad. Copy and paste a link to your ad on the new page. Add the new page to your menu under “Assignments” (remember to offset it so that it appears nested under the “Assingments” field) by 8:00 am on Sunday, February 23, 2014. Come to class prepared to discuss your ad in terms of the tools we are building in our Cultural Studies 101 Toolbox (Longinus: the sublime, Plato: dialectic, Aristotle: logos/pathos, Descartes: priority of the subject, Barthes: agency, Saussure: capital-T Truth and “truths”, Hall: representation).

Part II: Read an Ad (500 words total)

Using tools from your Cultural Studies 101 Toolbox (Longinus: the sublime, Plato: dialectic, Aristotle: logos/pathos, Descartes: priority of the subject, Barthes: agency, Saussure: capital-T Truth and “truths”, Hall: representation) and Stuart Hall’s The Circuit of Culture, analyze an ad for it’s cultural content and significance. Begin by identifying facts about the ad that stand out to you. What do you see? What don’t you see? How are certain types of people, products and props (“things”) used?  Your first paragraph should focus on the facts at hand–the signifiers.

Next, analyze the meaning of the ad. There are no wrong answers, here. You, as the audience, bring with you a certain set of experiences. It is the advertiser’s responsibility to encode the meaning in a way that you can understand. What did you understand? How did you understand it? Did the advertiser succeed in encoding the message so that you could properly decode it? Can you see through the BS and read the ad from a critical perspective? Use Stuart Hall’s The Circuit of Culture to help you see how the identity, representation, regulation, production and consumption are working. Your second paragraph should be an in-depth reading of the meaning of your ad–the signifieds–framed in terms of the tools from your Cultural Studies 101 toolbox and/or Stuart Hall’s The Circuit of Culture.

Post your reading of the ad (on the same Web page that you posted your ad) before 8:00 am on Sunday, March 1, 2014. Please logout and double check that you can see your ad and reading under “Assignments.”

Bring a copy of your blog post to class on Monday, March 3, 2014 for feedback and discussion (in-class).

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