I am grateful to anyone who gives me an excuse to share that vintage image of a pig bisecting itself. In this case, it’s Dr. Gordon Slethaug
who, this fall, will be teaching English 408B: The Discourse of Advertising. According to the description:
Print advertising is dead; Long live advertising. Well, no, door-to-door advertising mainly involving newspapers, magazines, and other printed material and is not entirely dead, but it no longer represents the main thrust in advertising or the bulk of revenue. Still, because TV and digital advertising now surrounds us in ways that it never did before, the volume of it and the revenue have been steadily climbing and are expected to climb further. Moreover, of the 584 billion dollars spent on advertising in the US in 2017, over 50% of that is said to be on Google and Facebook. In fact, 97% of Facebook’s enormous revenue comes from advertising. So, the face of advertising may have changed, but the consumer is increasingly influenced as never before. This course will introduce students to the history and present reality of the discourse and rhetoric of advertising that surrounds us at home and increasingly abroad. In addition, students will have ample opportunity to write about advertising, create ads of their own, and compile a portfolio of advertising copy and discussion to show prospective employers.
Barry, Pete. 2017 (third edition). The Advertising Concept Book. New York: Thames and Hudson
Various online and PDF articles on LEARN as required
“Glen talks” by Glen Drummond (Quarry Communications) and Gordon Slethaug
Test X 2 (30%)
Twice a term (Oct. 16, Nov. 29), in a full class period of an hour and twenty minutes each, students will write a test applying readings and lecture material to ads. Each test will cover a specific section of the course. Both will hold equal weight with regard to your final grade. (15% each)
Advertising Portfolio: Reflections (32%/8% each)
Students will create and maintain a portfolio for the duration of the course. Four reflections of about 1200 words each submitted on LEARN as well as in hard copy will give students the opportunity to create, analyze, and edit ads within the context of course readings and lecture material. Reflections will include:
–Oct 2: Use Barry’s basic tools and campaign analysis to unpack an advertising campaign
–Oct. 11: Reflect on the semiotic use of color in a campaign
–Oct. 30: Reflect on the use of males or females in advertising or relationship between the two
–Nov. 15: Subtervise (substitute/revise) either a single ad or campaign
Advertising Portfolio: Major Campaign (15%)
–Nov. 27: This major assignment will require students, working in groups of three (a sign-up sheet will be distributed), to design and comment on a multi-platform advertising campaign (consisting of 3 print ads, 2 TV spots, 1 viral component), present the projects in class, and submit them to me.
In-class presentation (13%)
Students will work in groups of three to make PowerPoint presentations on material for one particular day. This should be 30 minutes long, commenting on some of the main take-away points of readings with reference to selected ads.
By enrolling in this course you obligate yourself to read the assigned texts in advance of class, attend classes, and enter readily into class discussion. Our class discussions will be an important part of your learning, and that is reflected in the mark distribution. Should you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed.