Ad Plan Assignment
You will develop a plan for a new advertisement for an existing company, product, brand, or public service announcement. (The ad does not need to be for an American or english-speaking audience, but cannot be for a fictional product).
You may plan an ad for nearly any real product, but it must be appropriate for an academic environment. Content should not be violent, discriminatory, or overtly sexual (yet, a condom ad or “safe sex” message is acceptable).
- Your ad can be for print, TV (and streaming), radio/audio, social media, or web
- You may do this paper by yourself, in pairs, or in groups up to 3 people
- You must use at least two sources; one of which must be a “library” source (accessed via our CSM library, not a website) and you will cite sources in APA style with in-text citations, and a “sources cited” page at the end. Your sources should be current, not 15 years old.
1. DECIDE what to do your ad for
Consider the following ideas, or come up with your own, but it must be real and be specific:
- Big Brands: McDonald’s, KFC, Pepsi, Domino’s Pizza, Budweiser beer
- Stores: Target, Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Insurance company
- Home alarm system
- Candy and snack food
- Airlines, hotels, and travel services
- Clothing and fashion
- Cosmetics, beauty and hair care products
- Smartphone, computer, tablet, laptop
- Video game or game system
- Health, fitness, wellness products
- PSA: don’t text and drive, recycle, adopt a rescue dog, climate change, save wildlife
- Other ideas and variations as approved by Prof Brown
2. RESEARCH and WRITE YOUR AD PLAN
- The Product. Describe the product, brand, company/organization
- History of product
- Advertising. Describe previous and current advertising (what does it look like?)
- What ad agency usually produces their ads? What kind of advertising platforms do they use? (print, TV commercials, billboards, FaceBook ads)
- How much money does the company spend on advertising each year?
- What is the main message of their ads? Include slogans and themes
- How will your ad be similar or different to previous ads?
- I. Target Audience. Create a demographic profile of the target audience. The target audience is NOT “anyone” or “everyone”. Describe the target:
- Age & Generation
- Sex (Links to an external site.)/Gender/Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
- Marital Status: Married, Single, Separated, Divorced, Engaged
- Do they have children?
- Education Level
- Home Owner or Renter
- Geography – City of Residence
- Hobbies, Activities, Interests, Clubs
- Pet Ownership
- Political Affiliation
- Religious Affiliation
This site has some info on a products’ consumers: http://snapshot.numerator.com/ (Links to an external site.)
C. II. After you have determined the target market, describe them as one specific person, such as this consumer for beer:
“Dave, who is a 36 year old (older Millennial) white male, has a beard, works at a chemical plant, has a wife and two kids, drives a truck, owns a house in Ohio, makes $65k/year, loves barbecues, listens to country music, and plays pool in his spare time.”
- Competition. Analysis of primary competition
- Who is their primary competition, and what are their ad messages?
- How is your product/company/message different from the competition?
- Ad Strategy. Description of your advertisement’s creative strategy
- Explain what you’ll be saying in the advertisement and how you’ll say it
- Persuasive Techniques. Explain your ad’s use of persuasive techniques:
- You must explain, in detail, how your ad will use ethos, logos, and/or pathos as the primary strategy to persuade the target audience
- Explain why your persuasive strategy will work on the specific target audience
- You must also apply the use of Specific Appeals (see attached list), such as basic needs, bandwagon, fear, humor, association, nostalgia, symbols, etc.
- Explain your use of specific appeals and why they will be effective in reaching your target audience.
- Concept Demonstration. Demonstrate your idea by including a script, design, audio/video, or storyboard.
Resource: https://www.canva.com/ (Links to an external site.) Templates for everything! Great site.
Your paper will probably be about 5-7 pages, plus a “sources cited” page and your demonstration piece (G)
You will upload your paper and demonstration piece to Canvas
Your paper should use the headings on this assignment sheet for each section of your Ad Plan:
- The Product
- Target Audience
- Ad Strategy
- Persuasive Techniques (most important part of paper)
- Concept Demonstration
- Sources Cited
Use APA Style citations in-text and for the Sources Cited page. Remember you must use at least TWO sources, and one of them must be a library source.
See the examples posted on Canvas.
SPECIFIC AD APPEALS
- Association. This persuasion technique tries to link a product, service, or idea with something already liked or desired by the target audience, such as fun, pleasure, beauty, security, intimacy, success, wealth, etc. The media message doesn’t make explicit claims that you’ll get these things; the association is implied. Association can be a very powerful technique. A good ad can create a strong emotional response and then associate that feeling with a brand (family = Coke, victory = Nike). This process is known as emotional transfer. A sense of nostalgia also fits in this category.
- Bandwagon. Many ads show lots of people using the product, implying that “everyone is doing it” (or at least, “all the cool people are doing it”). No one likes to be left out or left behind, and these ads urge us to “jump on the bandwagon.” Politicians use the same technique when they say, “The American people want…” How do they know?
- Basic Needs: Tries to connect to our basic human needs, includes appeals for love, safety & security, convenience, health, wealth.
- Explicit claims. Something is “explicit” if it is directly, fully, and/or clearly expressed or demonstrated. For example, some ads state the price of a product, the main ingredients, where it was made, or the number of items in the package – these are explicit claims. So are specific, measurable promises about quality, effectiveness, or reliability, like “Works in only five minutes!” Explicit claims can be proven true or false through close examination or testing, and if they’re false, the advertiser can get in trouble. It can be surprising to learn how few ads make explicit claims. Most of them try to persuade us in ways that cannot be proved or disproved.
- Fear. This is the opposite of the Association technique. It uses something disliked or feared by the intended audience (like bad breath, failure, high taxes or terrorism) to promote a “solution.” Ads use fear to sell us products that claim to prevent or fix the problem. Politicians and advocacy groups stoke our fears to get elected or to gain support.
- Humor. Many ads use humor because it grabs our attention and it’s a powerful persuasion technique. When we laugh, we feel good. Advertisers make us laugh and then show us their product or logo because they’re trying to connect that good feeling to their product. They hope that when we see their product in a store, we’ll subtly re-experience that good feeling and select their product.
- Loaded Language: Wording that attempts to influence the audience by appealing to emotion (Links to an external site.). The language of ads is full of intensifiers, including superlatives (greatest, best, most, fastest, lowest prices), comparatives (more, better than, improved, increased, fewer calories), hyperbole (amazing, incredible, forever), exaggeration, and many other ways to hype the product.
- Repetition. Advertisers use repetition in two ways: Within an ad or advocacy message, words, sounds or images may be repeated to reinforce the main point. And the message itself (a TV commercial, a billboard, a website banner ad) may be displayed many times. Even unpleasant ads and political slogans work if they are repeated enough to pound their message into our minds.
- Testimonials. Media messages often show people testifying about the value or quality of a product, or endorsing an idea. They can be experts, celebrities, or plain folks. We tend to believe them because they appear to be a neutral third party (a pop star, for example, not the lipstick maker, or a community member instead of the politician running for office.) This technique works best when it seems like the person “testifying” is doing so because they genuinely like the product or agree with the idea. Some testimonials may be less effective when we recognize that the person is getting paid to endorse the product.
- 10.Sentimentality. This technique uses sentimental images (especially of families, kids and animals) to stimulate feelings of pleasure, comfort, and delight. It may also include the use of soothing music, pleasant voices, and evocative words like “cozy” or “cuddly.”It works well with some audiences, but not with others, who may find it too corny.
- Extrapolation. Persuaders sometimes draw huge conclusions on the basis of a few small facts. Extrapolation works by ignoring complexity. It’s most persuasive when it predicts something we hope can or will be true.
- Flattery. Persuaders love to flatter us. Politicians and advertisers sometimes speak directly to us: “You know a good deal when you see one.” “You expect quality.” “You work hard for a living.” “You deserve it.” Sometimes ads flatter us by showing people doing stupid things, so that we’ll feel smarter or superior. Flattery works because we like to be praised and we tend to believe people we like. (someone as brilliant as you will easily understand this technique!)
- Glittering generalities. This is the use of so-called “virtue words” such as civilization, democracy, freedom, patriotism, motherhood, fatherhood, science, health, beauty, and love. Persuaders use these words in the hope that we will approve and accept their statements without examining the evidence. They hope that few people will ask whether it’s appropriate to invoke these concepts, while even fewer will ask what these concepts really mean.
- New. We love new things and new ideas, because we tend to believe they’re better than old things and old ideas. That’s because the dominant culture in the United States (and many other countries) places great faith in technology and progress.
- Nostalgia. This is the opposite of the New technique. Many advertisers invoke a time when life was simpler and quality was supposedly better (“like Mom used to make”). Politicians promise to bring back the “good old days” and restore “tradition.” This technique works because people tend to forget the bad parts of the past, and remember the good.
- Rhetorical questions. These are questions designed to get us to agree with the speaker. They are set up so that the “correct” answer is obvious. (“Do you want to get out of debt?” “Do you want quick relief from headache pain?” and “Should we leave our nation vulnerable to terrorist attacks?”) They’re used to build trust and alignment before the sales pitch.
- Simple solution. Life is complicated. People are complex. Problems often have many causes, and they’re not easy to solve. These realities create anxiety for many of us. Persuaders offer relief by ignoring complexity and proposing a Simple solution. Politicians claim one policy change (lower taxes, a new law, a government program) will solve big social problems. Advertisers take this strategy even further, suggesting that a deodorant, a car, or a brand of beer will make you beautiful, popular and successful.
- Slippery slope. This technique combines Extrapolation and Fear. Instead of predicting a positive future, it warns against a negative outcome. It argues against an idea by claiming it’s just the first step down a “slippery slope” toward something the target audience opposes. (“If we let them ban smoking in restaurants because it’s unhealthy, eventually they’ll ban fast food, too.” This argument ignores the merits of banning smoking in restaurants.)
- Snob Appeal. Works by appealing to our desire to be better than others. Often used for high-end expensive products that most people cannot afford.
- Symbols. Symbols are words or images that bring to mind some larger concept, usually one with strong emotional content, such as home, family, nation, religion, gender, or lifestyle. Persuaders use the power and intensity of symbols to make their case. But symbols can have different meanings for different people. Hummer SUVs are status symbols for some people, while to others they are symbols of environmental irresponsibility.