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Assignment Sheet, Essay 1

Comparative Analysis of Two Print Ads

For this assignment, you will write an essay of about 1200 words (3.5-4 pages) in which you do a comparative analysis of two different advertisements that are advertising similar products. You’ll develop a specific thesis that makes a claim about this comparison, and support your thesis by describing details from each advertisement. This requires that you do the following:

  1. Analyze each advertisement: the target audience for each ad, the context (i.e., the publication in which each ad originally appeared), the ad’s goal, and the compositional features of each ad. (Note: you will be doing this over the course of a few days in your homework assignment.)

  2. Based on this invention work, decide what main claim or thesis you are going to make about how the two ads attempt to persuade their target audiences. Like all thesis statements, yours will serve as a “map” that will guide readers through your essay. Your thesis statement should have tension: it should show your readers something about how the two ads persuade their respective audiences that isn’t obvious to the casual observer.

  3. Draft the paper, supporting this thesis with relevant details from the ad (the key word here is relevant – don’t include every single detail you’ve considered in your invention process. The details you include should support your thesis. See below for a more complete breakdown of the parts of your paper.

  4. Revise the paper, using feedback from me and your peers;

  5. Format your final draft according to the Guidelines for Formatting Final Drafts.

A note about analysis: For this assignment, you are not evaluating the effectiveness of the ads (for the purpose of this assignment, you should assume that they work for their intended audiences); rather, you are analyzing them. An analysis requires you to provide an explanation of the parts of the things you are analyzing and how they relate to each other. Your paper should make a claim comparing how the ads work differently (or similarly) to persuade their audiences, and the body of the paper should develop and support that claim.

  • Hooks readers’ interest (perhaps by talking about the cultural context or marketing constraints of the product being advertised in the two ads).

  • Introduces the two ads (the name of the product, and where each ad appeared);

  • Sets up the similarities or differences between the two ads;

  • Ends with initial mapping and forecasting by providing the claim or thesis statement.

Body of Paper

  • Describes each ad in turn (assume that the readers of your essay don’t have the ad in front of them, so you’ll need to orient them by describing the ad).

  • Analyzes and compares/contrasts the ads, using ideas that you generated from close examination of the ads, and your homework assignments on context, target audience, and the compositional features of the ads.


  • Returns to big picture for sense of closure: might talk about the significance of your analysis – i.e., why would/should anyone care about the differences in the persuasive strategies of these ads?

Grading Chart, Essay 1 Final

Quality Of Revision. The writer has revised in the true sense: by re-seeing the essay, using feedback from the instructor and other reviewers to make substantive, thoughtful changes.

10 points

Analytical Acumen. The essay has an identifiable and clear thesis that makes a significant claim about the differences or similarities between the persuasive strategies of the two ads. The essay demonstrates a more-than-superficial understanding of how the ads work to persuade their target audiences in the light of their compositional features.

25 points

Support. The essay provides adequate description of both ads, and the description is used in service of the writer’s analytical points.

25 points

Organization. The essay is coherently organized, with a strong introduction and conclusion, well-developed paragraphs, and clear transitions between ideas and paragraphs.

20 points

Proper Editing And Format, including correct use of MLA citation style (the ad should be cited on a separate Works Cited page at the end of the essay). The essay is free of spelling, punctuation, and other mechanical errors, and is formatted properly.

20 points


100 points

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