Advertisement Analysis Essay Writing Guide

Advertising plays a huge role in modern life. It interrupts TV and radio programms, decorates (or defaces) the sides of buildings and sometimes it seems like it’s the main function of the internet. It’s estimated that over $450 billion is spent on advertising every year, nearly a third of it in the United States alone.

The advertising industry hasn’t always been measured in US dollars either, because it’s old; Roman sesterces used to pay for quite a lot of it (both political and commercial advertising materials have been found in the ruins of Pompeii) and archaeologists have discovered ancient Egyptian posters that they think were advertisements.

With all this history and money involved it’s no wonder that advertising is a much-discussed subject, and a common essay topic is the analysis of an advertising campaign. Most essay writers aren’t advertising professionals though, so what’s the best way to go about it?

Introduce the product or service being advertised

It doesn’t matter if it’s an insurance company, a political party or a new brand of salad dressing; don’t assume that your reader has heard of it. Make sure to give a short history, a description (and perhaps how it compares with some competitors) and an idea of its market share.

Discuss who the advertising is aimed at

It’s almost impossible to make an advert that’s going to appeal to everyone, unless you’re selling a tree that money really does grow on, so every advert has a target audience. The target audience will influence its style, so in turn the style can be used to work out the target audience. For example an advert that uses skateboarding images is aimed at teenagers; an offer of payday loans is aimed at people who can’t manage money and don’t look like learning any time soon.

Estimate how popular the advert has been

This used to be quite difficult to work out. Often it was a matter of seeing how many people bought a newspaper that the advert was in (or watched a TV programme that it interrupted) and guessing what percentage paid any attention. Now, though, the internet makes it much easier to track. Popular adverts, especially if they’re amusing, often go viral. When this happens social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube make it easy to see how often they’ve been viewed and forwarded. Just make sure it’s not being forwarded with a tag that says “Look at this dumb advert LOL!”

You can also look at the history of similar adverts, if any exist, as well as new techniques or media that have been pioneered. Before you start adding these refinements, though, make sure you’ve covered these three basics thoroughly.

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