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Analysis of a Visual Argument


  1. Choose a television/internet advertisement (a video) that seems to target you and people like you or that you simply find interesting and worthy of analysis.
  2. Analyze how the advertisement works to convey its message to a particular audience through use of visual, textual, and multimedia information. This type of analysis is still a rhetorical analysis, so think about aspects of rhetoric we have been discussing as you study your ad, but it also involves visual argument and multimedia argument.
  3. Write an essay in which you present, explain, and evidence your analysis of the advertisement.
  4. End your analysis with an evaluation of the advertisement’s effectiveness based on your analysis.
  5. Include the link to your advertisement appropriately within the text.


You will find helpful information from Everything’s an Argument in Chapters 6, 14, and 16 in particular.


Your analysis should …

  • Introduce the advertisement and the context in which you encountered it (if you can discover during what shows/platforms it was aired, date, surrounding stories or events, etc.);
  • Describe the major features (visual, textual, aural, etc.) of the advertisement, including the ways in which the ad uses action, movement, sound, colors, arrangement, size, font, etc. to catch the viewer’s eye and direct the reader’s attention toward certain information/images and, perhaps, away from others;
  • Identify the target audience for the advertisement, how you are part of that demographic (establishing your own ethos), and how the ad specifically addresses that audience;
  • Identify the purpose(s) of the ad (typically to sell a product, service, or brand), the claim(s) about the product, service, or brand made towards this purpose and the target audience, and what features of the text seem to support or make each claim;
  • Include an interesting opening and strong thesis that introduce the advertisement and make an analytical point that is evidenced in your essay—while you may make an evaluative claim about the effectiveness of the ad, perhaps you can say more about the significance of the ad (like the example);
  • Move through a well-organized body that presents analytical claims and evidence to support your thesis;
  • End with an evaluation of the ad’s effectiveness based on your analysis;
  • Be academic in style, tone, and format.


Your analysis essay should be at least 1200 words in length. Your advertisement analysis essay should be appropriate to your purpose (to analyze and evaluate), topic and stance (the ad, your analysis, and your evaluation), audience (the ad’s target audience), genre (analysis), and context (formal, academic, public).