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For the final major assignment, you’ll develop your visual literacy by examining and analyzing two television advertisements or PSA’s. Summarize how they make their points. By summarize, I mean explain the general features of each commercial: what appears to be happening in it? Where/when did the advertisement/PSA appear?
By analyze, I mean unpack in detail some specific ways in which the commercials create their effects on the viewer. What is effective? What is ineffective? Are their tricks that other less astute observers may glaze over? The effect on the viewers can vary by audience.
Some of the old commercials I’ve shown you in class, for example, don’t exactly work for our generation. In cases like this, we can analyze why (specifically) the commercials are no longer effective—have we become more wary of advertising tactics, do we have more empirical knowledge than our predecessors, are the issues presented in the advertisement no longer relevant?
In our YouTube, constantly streaming, image-saturated lives, the ability to critically engage and analyze visual texts becomes increasingly important. As the authors of your textbook point out, these texts hold the power to “validate, reveal, and construct the world” (p. 227).
As I mentioned in class, I encourage you to pick your own pairs advertisements to analyze. Nobody picked their own articles last time, and we all ended up a bit disappointed. I’d like to try something different with this assignment.
But to get you thinking, here are some examples. These pairs all take very different approaches to further their agendas. Pay attention to the particulars.
1. New York City anti smoking ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRgNS1P6k6o
“Truth” anti smoking ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIf5MDNxJ7Y
For the final major assignment, you’ll develop your visual literacy by examining and analyzing two television advertisements or PSA’s. Summarize how they make their points.