Thursday, June 26, 2008

Communication Applications: Marketing, Advertising, and the Science of Selling

One of the most interesting fields of communications involves marketing, advertising, and the science of selling. Advertising uses specific kinds of communication devices, and its aims are to convince consumers that they need something, as well as stoke the desire for something.

This assignment requires you to familiarize yourself with the history of advertising in America, and identify, explain, and discuss advertising and marketing in its multiple manifestations.

This assignment has 6 parts.

1. First, read about advertising here. List 5 new facts you learned about advertising.

2. Second, follow this link to learn more and after clicking on "Browse" you will be able to find examples of advertising from America's past. Select one advertisement, print it out, and be prepared to discuss what it is communicating and why you chose it.

3. Third, pick a decade in American history and search for commercials and/or commercial clips on YouTube or Google Video. For example, use the search terms "1980s commercials" (or its many variations) and see what you find. Be prepared to show a 2-4 minute commercials clip in class, and discuss.

4. Fourth, in a print publication or from an on-line publication, find an example of "religious" or "spiritual" advertising. Bring your example to class, and be prepared to discuss. For expert commentary on this subject, see what you can find at media studies scholar Mara Einstein's weblog "Brands of Faith."

5. Think about what product you enjoy consuming (i.e., buying) most. For example, you may have a favorite brand of clothing or footwear, or you may love eating a particular kind of food, or eating at a particular restaurant. Be prepared to discuss how you would market or advertise your favorite product.

6. Discuss with parents and/or family members about how advertising and marketing informs the choices they make about what they buy, where they live, what they drive, etc. Be prepared to discuss in class.

If you have time, you may also want to finish viewing the Frontline documentary on advertising, "The Persuaders."

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