FT 012-H Advertisers & Advertising: Creating the Ad, Selling the Product, Changing the World?
Tobey Herzog, Department of English
In this tutorial, through books, articles, films, YouTube, and visits with Ad-Men and Ad-Women, we will explore the multi-billion dollar industry of advertising—both commercial and political. During the semester, we will investigate the following topics: the history and basic components of advertising production—developing ads and ad campaigns for diverse target audiences using traditional and new media; the economics of advertising in terms of marketing, branding, and selling; the deconstruction of ads—the rhetorical/persuasive techniques (words, images, sounds, action, layout) of selling a product, a person, a concept, a feeling, etc.; the psychology of ads (“ads don’t sell a product; they sell psychological satisfaction”); the mirroring and shaping influences of advertising on our country and its target audiences—”who we are and who we want to be”; a comparison of commercial advertising with advertising for the 2012 presidential election (“selling a political candidate is no different from selling a bar of soap”). Class activities will include reading books on the topics (Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Campaign; Hey Whipple, Squeeze This; and Brandwashed); viewing numerous documentaries related to advertising (Killing Us Softly, The Persuaders, POM Wonderful Presents); evaluating individual commercial and political ads, including the Super Bowl ads; visiting Young & Laramore Ad Agency in Indianapolis and Leo Burnett Ad Agency in Chicago; discussing what we read, view, and hear; constructing our own ads; and writing several papers related to our topic. No background in advertising is necessary—just a strong interest in understanding the creative, powerful, all-pervasive, and sometimes wacky world of advertising and its consumers.
Herzog, Tobey C.