Written and Oral Communication: Advertising

mcdonalds-logo German

“I’m lovin’ it.” “Think different.” “This Bud’s for You!” “Just do it.” “Got Milk?”

Nothing symbolizes the reach of economic globalization quite like the trail of corporate logos it has left in its wake. Commercial catchphrases born in the boardrooms of “Madison Avenue” marketing firms have become an integral part of our everyday language and experience. There is even a fair chance that you absorbed slogans like these before ever stepping foot in an English language classroom.

Because advertisements have to make persuasive “arguments” in clever and concise language, they are an appropriate topic through which to think about constructing arguments of our own, in writing, in speech, and on the web. This course will reflect upon the kinds of “arguments” commercials make: How do they attempt to persuade potential consumers? What cultural assumptions about gender, race, social class, and nationality do advertisements emphasize and reinforce (or subvert and complicate)? We will examine these questions and more through creative and interactive oral presentations.

Written composition is also vital to the course. As we take a critical look at the five-paragraph format as a means of academic writing, students will build their own argumentative essays from the “ground up.” The course will also explore relevant aspects of digital communication and social media. Practice in all of these platforms prepares students for the final essay examination.



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