ASSIGNMENT Write an essay that provides a semiotic analysis on one of the text o


ASSIGNMENT
Write an essay that provides a semiotic analysis on one of the text options noted below (e.g. advertisement, physicalstore, package). Construct a specific and argumentative thesis statement that makes an assertion about what the text tells the viewer about American culture or the American consumer. Your thesis should address the sociological, psychological, or cultural values that the text is addressing. For example, you might assert that “Advertisers try to appeal to the consumer’s paradoxical need to excel and the need to be like everyone else.” Then by analyzing the text you have selected, you will support your thesis statement. Other support should include ideas and assertions from the articles we have read for this unit as they relate to your argument.
At some point of your essay, you should point out one of the logical fallacies we have addressed so far. Identify the fallacy, define it, and then show how it applies to the example you have selected. For example, you might show that an advertiser or marketer is using a faulty generalization while trying to market the product. If you can’t find a logical fallacy in your text, then you could use an example of one in your introduction or conclusion to show the problem with it.
Select 1-2 ads or a commercial and provide a semiotic analysis of the ads. You should address the following questions: To which needs does the advertisement appeal? What signs are used to present these appeals or how are they used to convey a message to the audience? Is it directed to a specific audience? Does the ad portray certain values?
If addressing more than one ad, you may also want to consider the following questions: do the ads appeal to similar or different needs? Do they use similar signs to present these appeals? Are they directed to the same or different audiences? Include the advertisement(s) when you submit your essay.
Select a product and analyze the packaging. Again, what signs are used to convey a message to the audience? Is the packaging directed to a specific audience? Does the packaging portray certain values?
You may also compare and contrast the packaging of 2-3 different brands of that product. What are some of the similarities and differences? Do not provide merely a literal comparison/contrast; instead, discuss what these elements of packaging suggest about our cultural practices and beliefs. Semiotically analyze a physical store (not a whole business/corporation). Discuss how the store uses certain signs to appeal to a specific group or demographic. Consider different aspects such as layout, space, store name, personnel, nearby stores, etc. Discuss whether certain values are portrayed through the store’s signs.
IMPORTANT CAUTIONS
You are NOT analyzing a product itself. Instead, you are analyzing how marketers use advertising, packaging, or a physical store to sell that product.
Do not write about sex unless you have something to say that is not obvious. If your point is “sex sells” or “advertisers are using sex to capture our attention” then you will earn a “C” at the highest since those are obvious points.
OBJECTIVES
To think critically about the way in which America or other cultures have become consumer cultures.
To think critically about the signs that are used in the world of consumerism use and to provide a semiotic analysis of a text from that world.
To utilize other writers’ theories to help support and/or to articulate your own opinions and disagreements with those writers.
To provide a central thesis statement and to support that thesis statement with evidence from your analysis.
LOGISTICS
Must be typed and double-spaced with 1” margins on all sides. Use MLA formatting.
Standard 12 pt. font should be used. The paper should include an informative and interesting title (do not use “Essay #1” or “Advertising” as the title).
Papers must be a minimum of three FULL pages in length (not including the heading and title). Papers that are shorter will be graded as if there were not a page minimum then multiplied by the percentage that is completed. For example, a paper that is 2.5 pages will be graded and then multiplied by 83%, which is how much of the assignment was completed.


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