DEFINITION Essay

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For the focus of this writing, you will be assigned one particular brand of a single product (Calvin Klein Jeans, Marlboro Cigarettes, Wolfschmidt’s Vodka, etc.,). Examine the print and/or electronic advertising to determine the “proposed” identity of the consumer. The identity is who the product promises the consumer will be, not who the consumer really is. By using the product, who does the consumer become? In order to arrive at this definition of the consumer, you will need to examine the associations suggested or stated in the product advertising.

Your task will be to define the specific, “suggested” identity of the consumer as reinforced by the explicit and implicit messages of the advertising. Particularly consider the more implicit associations of the visual components of the advertising (colors, layout, text, images, models, font, design, etc.,) and the emotional appeals the advertising attempts to induce in the consumer. What personality traits and identifying qualities are passed on to the product and, consequently, the consumer by the advertising? How does the product fulfill consumer desire for distinction, transforming the consumer into an individual apart from others: I own, therefore I am. What are the specific characteristics of the Marlboro smoker ? Who is the Wolfschmidt drinker? Your argument of definition will provide a specific portrait of that consumer, distinct from other brands of this type of product. Look behind the obvious to what promises lie buried within the advertising.

In order to construct an effective argument, you will need to find/study a wide sample of print and/or electronic media ads for your selected product brand– particularly those with implict vs. explicit techniques. Do not depend on one ad since this argument is concerned with defining an overall identity. Minimally, your essay should draw from three to five sample ads.

Be specific in constructing a claim (thesis) that clearly establishes your definition in the introduction of your writing (i.e., What “kind” of sexy do you mean?). Then, make use of the examples from various ads as evidence to support your definition, describing the essential features of the ads that are relevant to the identity that you have created.

Note: Since your description of specific details within the ads is your evidence, make sure you incorporate at least 3-5 different ads by the brand, in order to support your claim.

Example claim: Apple Products target consumers whose self-image is based on fierce non-conformity,wizardry with the internet and untapped creativity. (The evidence would describe how elements of the ads project these three traits that define the consumer.)

Attach a copy of the ads referenced to your draft: copy/paste the ads directly at the end of your essay, or provide a link to them there.

Since the final draft will involve collaboration, it is important that you submit your rough draft by the deadline in order to allow for the process of peer review and moving from rough draft to final draft. Further instructions will follow. On the next page are critique questions to consider in completing the required peer reviews.

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