MEDIA AND CULTURE: TEXTS AND PRACTICES
ADVERTISING ANALYSIS ASSIGNMENT
Value: 15 % of final grade
Due Date: Wednesday Nov. 24, 5:00 pm
Upon completion of this assignment you should be able to:
T Understand the concepts and methods of semiotic analysis.
T Apply these concepts and methods to visual communication in a advertisement.
T Present a semiotic analysis of an advertisement and an argument about meaning and
ideology in clear and carefully organized written form.
G For this assignment you must choose one full-size, full-colour advertisement from a
2020 issue of a general interest magazine such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, People, or
Esquire. (Full-page ads from other magazines are acceptable, but these titles have
the most appropriate ads for semiotic analysis.)
(ADD CHOSEN, WILL BE WITH READINGS)
G OR choose one full-screen, full-colour single image from an Instagram account that
advertises a specific product or service.
G Print magazines may be purchased from convenience stores, grocery stores or book
stores. Magazines may be read or borrowed from most public libraries. You may have
a digital subscription to an appropriate magazine that includes ad images.
G On-line banner or pop-up ads, video or TV ads, and other digital or social media ad
formats are not appropriate for this assignment.
G You must screenshot, download, photograph or scan the original advertisement and
embed this image at the end of your file when you submit your assignment (you may
compress the image to make this step easier).
G Your assignment must be 1500 words, double-spaced, 12-point type, with page
G Include a title page with the assignment title, your name and student number.
G Key terms and concepts in your analysis should be defined and explained with
reference to Chap. 8-13 in O’Shaugnessy, M., & Stadler, J. (2016). Media and society
(6th ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
G No additional reading or research is required for this assignment, but you should
include a bibliography or works cited page listing the textbook.
G You may use the citation style of your choice, all direct quotations should be
properly cited with page references.
G Your essay must have an introduction, a manageable thesis statement and a
G Your thesis statement should explain how the signs and codes used in the
advertisement work to create meaning for the product by drawing on dominant
G You should identify and discuss at least three of the most important signs in the ad,
including the product or service being advertised.
G In your analysis be sure to define the following terms (using the course text) and
explain them in your own words: signifier, signified, denotative and connotative
meaning, iconic, indexical or symbolic signs. Giving relevant examples from the ad
for each term, demonstrate how the analysis of signs helps you understand the
underlying ideological meaning of the ad.
G In your analysis be sure to define the following terms and explain them in your own
words: technical codes, codes of content and modality. Giving relevant examples
from the ad for each term, demonstrate how the analysis of codes helps you
understand the underlying ideological meaning of the ad.
G Develop your argument about how the ad creates specific ideological meanings by
giving examples of how words anchor images, explain the role of intertextuality and
interpellation of the reader in the ad. Remember to define and explain each term.
G In your conclusion, convincingly summarize your interpretation of the ideological
meanings produced in the ad and demonstrate how they are naturalized through the
signs, codes and conventions being used.
Your essay will be graded on the following basis:
1. Comprehension and application of terms and concepts – 5 marks
• Analysis demonstrates understanding of the terms and concepts of semiotics.
• Terms are clearly explained in your own words, with reference to text and lectures.
• Concepts are applied to the most appropriate examples of signs and codes in the ad.
2. Thesis and argument – 5 marks
• Essay has a strong thesis statement and conclusion.
• Thesis explains how signs and codes reproduce specific ideologies and create meaning
for the product.
• Argument develops convincingly throughout the essay, using examples from the ad.
• Analysis demonstrates how ideologies are ‘naturalized’ and shows how the ad
interpellates the reader/consumer.
• Conclusion supports initial thesis and relates to examples given throughout.
3. Organization, clarity and format – 5 marks
• Well written, uses correct spelling, grammar, sentence structure and paragraph form.
• Ideas are expressed clearly and in a logical order.
• Respects format and word length, gives enough relevant detail and avoids unnecessary
• Properly cites concepts and arguments taken from the textbook or lecture.
• Includes original version of the ad that is analyzed
MEDIA AND CULTURE: TEXTS AND PRACTICES