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Advertisement Analysis – How to Write & Ad Analysis Essay Examples

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In this day and age, advertising is everywhere, from billboards and TV commercials to social media feeds and mobile apps. It’s an essential tool many companies use to draw customers’ attention and showcase their products and services. However, creating a compelling and distinctive advertisement is more challenging than it seems, and professionals often rely on ad analysis to achieve this goal. Advertisement analysis is a form of research that examines advertisements’ effectiveness and impact on society. Below, we will discuss how advertisement analysis can help businesses develop successful ad campaigns while ensuring their ads are ethical and socially responsible.

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Ad analysis is a type of research that experts use to develop compelling and eye-catching advertisements . It addresses each step of the ad’s creation process. Such an approach has become increasingly common because it shows marketing techniques’ impact on human consciousness. Experts evaluate the effectiveness of an ad using qualitative and quantitative methods , which help them create better advertisements. Language, imagery, and music used in a successful marketing campaign are just a few examples of what makes up effective ad messaging.

How to analyze the advertisement? While every company and its marketing team may have their own approach to ad analysis, the framework usually includes these 5 major steps:

Gather information. Before starting a project, looking up information about the product is vital. Make a SWOT analysis of the company for which you are conducting an ad analysis. This method will help you identify potential market opportunities and internal weaknesses.

Find target-audience preferences. To choose the perfect media tools for your marketing campaign, you must know your ad’s target audience . Knowing your audience will also assist you in learning how to convince the customers to get interested and purchase the product you are advertising.

Start questioning. You have to create a list of detailed inquiries regarding the advertisement. These questions will aid in finding information about the message or context of the ad . Also, it will help you understand which areas require more research and improvement.

Examine the strategic and tactical components. During this step, you first need to identify the objective. Make sure the message is conveyed clearly so the advertisement can serve its intended purpose. Then, you need to identify the target message. It’ll help to create a brief messaging framework.

Onlook the results. You have to watch whether your advertisement analysis works or not. Analyze how many new customers you receive after publication and your product’s popularity level. That way, you will both improve your research and gain experience for your next project.

Here you can find 2 incredible examples of advertisement analysis essays! The primary focus of each report is to examine how the created advertisement will affect potential customers.

Essay sample #1 – Pepsi advertisement

Target Audience: Pepsi targets consumers in their teens, early 20s, and early middle age. Pepsi print is of bright color , and that instantly attracts customers’ attention. In the commercial, many young people with happy smiles enjoy life, skating on the board and drinking Pepsi.

Implicit messages: The appearance of joyful teens in the Pepsi ad makes you want to buy this drink. The advertisement suggests that after consuming the product, you’ll feel like you’re living your best life.

Essay sample #2 – YSL perfume advertisement

Target Audience: YSL perfume advertisement targets women of early middle age. In the ad, the women are confident, independent, and successful. The advertisement connects the sensation of freedom and high status in society to the perfume itself.

Implicit messages: The advertisement appeals to those who want to make their own rules. YSL customers are women, so the company creates an image of powerful yet feminine females. The commercial suggests that after buying the perfume, you will embrace freedom and will be able to set old bridges on fire.

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  • How to Write an Advertisement Analysis Essay Like...

How to Write an Advertisement Analysis Essay Like A Pro

How to Write an Advertisement Analysis Essay Like A Pro

Traditional selling tactics of using rational thoughts no longer work. Nowadays, an advertisement that motivates the reader or viewer to take intended action stimulates emotion. Thus knowing how to write an advertisement analysis essay is a skill that every business/marketing student must master before they graduate. So how do you write an advertising analysis? Use this comprehensive post as a guide. 

How to Write an Ad Analysis Essay

A teacher assigns an advertisement analysis essay because they want to gauge your ability to analyze a specific ad and how you give your opinion on its impact on the audience. The instructor will also use the essay to check your writing skills. 

High marks will only be awarded to students who produce content that meets the assignment's academic standards and grading criteria. Thus it’s essential to follow the correct structure and come up with an error-free task. Listed below are the steps to writing an ad analysis essay like an expert. 

Analyze a Specific Ad

While there are several ads to analyze for an essay, often, a teacher will allow the student to choose one. In such a case, you can look through a newspaper or your favorite magazine to find a specific ad to write about. The problem that comes with the freedom to choose one type is that you might find the process of sorting through hundreds of ads exhausting and intimidating. 

But if you choose from an ad publication from a brand you have known for many years or those you find interesting, it will make the writing process more manageable. So select an advertisement you understand and that which you have ample background information on as it will save time on the research process. Knowing the parts of an advertisement and advertising techniques will help produce a thorough analysis and write an informative essay. So what are the 5 parts of an advertisement?

  • A catchy headline
  • Relatable images, identifiable color scheme, and packaging to grab consumer interest
  • Selling the benefits
  • A clear call to action
  • A memorable slogan

When analyzing the ad, look at specific factors such as the Ads target audience, message, language, graphics, cultural significance, and characters. The advertisement techniques used should also be looked into. When looking at the ad, note everything that captures your attention and research to know the main idea behind the ad and any previously launched campaigns. 

Use the Introduction to Introduce the Ad

After choosing a specific ad:

  • Use the introduction to provide background information on the product or service presented in the advertisement.
  • Next provide a brief analysis of the ad history, state why the ad is better than others, and mention the target audience.
  • Mention the ad's prominent features.

If you’re having difficulties coming up with a catchy first paragraph, read a well-written ad analysis essay example from our experienced writers. The samples will give you a clue on which information to include in the introduction and the type of hooks appropriate for this type of essay.

Include a Thesis Statement 

Use the thesis to state what your essay will focus on and what the ad is doing in terms of how it functions or achieves its goal. Your thesis statement should include the message in the ad, whether it’s explicit or implicit. 

Ensure the thesis is the last sentence in the introduction. From the thesis statement, the reader should know your focal point before reading the rest of the essay. Not everyone will agree with the message for the ad you’ve chosen to analyze. However, ensure the claim made about the ad's message is arguable, then support it with credible sources throughout the body section. 

State One Point Per Paragraph

Each paragraph in the body section should represent one main point. For instance, you can use one section to talk about the creativity of the ad and another paragraph to discuss the techniques the ad uses to capture attention. 

Advertisers want to capture attention and ensure the ad is memorable. So use the body to discuss how the attention-grabbing techniques influence your view of the product and whether it motivates consumers to take a specific action. 

For example, did the sales rise that year, or did the company register a massive profit after unveiling the advertisement? Ensure each paragraph points back to the thesis statement. What are 4 advertising techniques can you talk about in your essay?

  • Storytelling
  • Endorsements or featuring celebrities
  • Emotional persuasion vs. appeal to reason

Overall, the body should analyze the advertisement and use facts, statistics, examples, or research to prove how the ad caused a particular outcome. For example, you can quote any emotional language used. The body of your analyzing advertisements essay should further elaborate on how the strategies used work and why it was chosen for a specific audience. Ensure the paragraphs use transitions to achieve a smooth flow and include examples.

The Conclusion Part of Your Essay

Summarize what you elaborated on in the body section. Mention the thesis statement without using the same words from the introduction. State whether the ad attained its goal of persuading, entertaining, or informing the target audience. Without adding new information, use one last sentence to give the reader something to think about.

Bottom Line

The elements to include in an advertisement analysis essay are similar to those of a standard essay. The essay will be structured to have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Topic sentences will start every paragraph, and the introduction will end with a thesis statement. However, the content of the essay will primarily focus on the advertisement and analysis of it. 

When you are familiar with the advertised product or service it makes the writing process smooth. Use the steps given above, and your ad analysis essay will be a successful one. However, if you’re not good at writing an advertisement analysis essay, you might submit a low-quality task if you attempt it yourself. But if you allow our subject experts to work on your essay, you have a better chance of understanding the components to include and handing in a top-notch academic task.

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Sample Ad Analysis

Using the steps for conducting a semiotic analysis outlined in the Semiotics Handout as the foundation for your argument, write a short, 200-300 word analysis of a women's fashion advertisement from a current magazine.

Preparation for this assignment requires the following:

1.) Locating an appropriate advertisement 2.) Going through the steps for conducting a semiotic analysis as outlined in the above-mentioned handout

After completing the steps, your posting should include the following:

1.) A thesis statement 2.) A short but detailed description of the ad 3.) An analysis of the ad that includes some of the details/discoveries that you made while completing the steps

The following is a sample response to the above assignment:

By depicting beautiful and successful women as white, thin, and submissive, high-fashion advertisements promote racist, sexist, and classist ideologies. An ad for Calvin Klein featured in a recent issue of W magazine is an apt example. In this ad, a young, attractive, and apparently wealthy thin white woman with dark blonde hair is sitting hunched over on the edge of a bed in an upscale home, peering down at the ground. Virtually expressionless, she appears to be either drunk or drugged, and her body posture suggests that she is vulnerable. This posture, as well as the dark colors of the ad, create a mood that is both depressive and mournful, almost as if the woman in the ad is, was, or is about to be the subject of some kind of abuse.

This ad bears resemblance to a number of other ads from the same magazine. Such companies as DKNY, Neiman Marcus, Piazza Sempione, Earl Jean, TSE, and Echo have full-page ads that feature thin, white upper-class women in both submissive and provocative poses. Given the overwhelming similarity of these ads, it's clear that high-fashion advertisers are in the business of promoting more than just products, namely images of beauty and success. The problem, of course, is that these images depict women as submissive (if not abused) objects, not to mention that they define beauty and success as "white and thin."

This definition of beauty and success has unfortunate social consequences. High-fashion ads such as those mentioned above, by associating beauty and success with such traits as "white," "thin," and "submissive," promote not only unhealthy and unrealistic images of beauty but class divisions based on racial priority. The message, in short, is that only Caucasian women are successful, and for these women, success is predicated on an ability to appear as a submissive, sexual object.

Following the Steps The above response was composed after completing the steps outlined in the semiotics handout. Here is the information I generated while following these steps:

Establish the sign to be decoded I will be analyzing an advertisement for Calvin Klein found in a recent issue of W magazine.

Set aside your opinion Done.

Define/categorize the sign Judging by the image, and from what I already know of fashion advertisements, this ad for Calvin Klein falls into the category of "haute couture," or "high fashion."

Determine what the sign means (analysis of images, language, etc.) In this ad, a young (20-24), attractive, and thin white woman with dark blonde hair is sitting hunched over on the edge of what appears to be a bed, peering down at the ground. She is dressed in a relatively short black evening dress, and she is wearing black heels. Given the fact that her right foot is arched and pushed slightly forward, I am assuming that she is looking at her shoes. Her face is virtually expressionless, and it seems as if she is either drunk or drugged. In either case, her lack of expression and body posture suggest that she is in some way vulnerable. Where is she? What is she doing? Although the use of muted brown makes the background of the ad difficult to discern, she appears to be in the bedroom of an upscale home (hard wood floors, cherry doors, etc.). Perhaps it's the end of the night, and she's just beginning to settle in. Perhaps she was at a party and wandered off. Regardless, it's clear that she is part of the upper crust of society.

Looking back at the ad as a whole, its dark colors as well as the expression and posture of the model create a mood that is at once depressive and mournful, almost as if the figure in the ad is (or was) the subject of some kind of abuse.

Finally, although not visible from the scanned copy, the ad contains a minimal amount of text, located on a white background below the ad. Just below the bottom right edge of the photograph, it reads, in poetic form, "Barcelona / Bilbao / Dallas / Dubai / New York / Paris / Seoul / Singapore." And slightly further down but in larger lettering, it reads, "Calvin Klein." The implications here are manifold. First, these cities are noted as fashion centers. Second, and more importantly, the language of the ad implies that Calvin Klein's importance and influence is by all accounts global. And when you consider what this advertisement suggests, Calvin Klein's influence is questionable at best.

Establish a set of signs (books, ads, films, etc.) related to the sign you are decoding In the first case, this ad was part of a series of ads from Calvin Klein featuring the same woman. In the other ads, she is also dressed in black clothing. At the same time, however, the other ads have her featured in considerably more provocative poses. In one ad, for example, she is lying on a bed with her eyes closed; she is dressed in nothing more than black heels and black pantyhose, and her hands are covering her breasts. It can be assumed, of course, that this is the same bed she was sitting on the edge of in the previous ad. Now, however, she is nearly naked.

These ads also bear some kind of resemblance to a number of other ads from the same magazine. Such companies as DKNY, Neiman Marcus, Piazza Sempione, Earl Jean, TSE, and Echo have full-page ads that feature thin, white upper-class women in both submissive and provocative poses. Given the overwhelming similarity of these ads, it's clear that "high fashion" advertisers are in the business of selling specific images of beauty and success. The problem, of course, is that these images depict women as submissive (if not abused) objects, not to mention that they define beauty and success on racist and sexist terms.

This specific image of beauty and success is not, however, confined to these advertisements. Similar images of women can be found in non-fashion ads, television shows, movies, and music videos.

Point out the differences and similarities between the sign and related signs I have already discussed some of the similarities among high-fashion advertisers, but it's interesting to note that advertisements for everything from alcohol to cars promote like-minded images of women. In these ads, the women might not always be depicted as successful, but the majority of them feature thin, white, and seemingly submissive women.

Sketch the overall context (historical, cultural, and political) in which the sign appears Historically, Calvin Klein is known as a controversial figure. His ads from 1995 that featured young models in provocative poses blurred the line between photography and pornography. It should come as no surprise then that this ad is designed to raise more than a few eyebrows. Beyond the obvious call for attention, however, the ad is also part of a culture that values style over substance, surface over depth, image over word, and profit over social benefit.

Develop a list of questions, concerns, and/or issues that will guide your analysis

  • What are the social consequences of depicting women in this particular fashion?
  • Is there an agenda behind depicting women in this fashion? If so, who does it benefit?

Develop a focus (thesis) statement By depicting beautiful and successful women as white, thin, and submissive, high-fashion advertisements promote racist, sexist, and classist ideologies.

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14 Analyzing Visual Elements in Advertising

Whether you are reading a magazine, watching a television show, or even sitting in a movie theater, you are likely to be bombarded by advertising. The ability to dissect an advertisement to discover any hidden agendas is an important one. Carefully looking at an advertisement’s audience and strategies often reveals hidden messages about what the advertiser thinks about that audience. Not only is this interesting, but it also helps you to find the same elements in written arguments.

Visual Arguments

Visual arguments provide a wonderful foundation for discovering the elements of rhetoric, as we are often more familiar with images than with texts. Our world is filled with visual arguments—from advertisements on TV and on billboards alongside the highway to T-shirts & ball caps.

Whatever form they take, images are used to communicate with an audience. Whether a human aid organization displays pictures of starving orphans to communicate the dire need for funds or a real estate agent snaps a photo of a home to capture potential buyers’ attention or you choose which photo to put on your Instagram profile, images are used to make a variety of points.

Two girls taking a selfie

In many ways, images shape our behavior and can even change our lives. You might purchase a product based on an advertisement—or you might enlist in the army based on an advertisement. The images used in political campaigns can literally change the way a country functions by influencing how people vote in an election.

Analyzing Visual Elements

The presentation of visual elements is extremely important, affecting how the argument is perceived. Just as how you choose to dress for a job interview might impact whether or not you get the job, so choosing how ideas are represented visually will impact how well the audience receives the argument.

When analyzing visual arguments, such as advertisements, keep the rhetorical situation in mind. The following are important elements to focus on:

Type your key takeaways here.

  • Author: Who created the text?
  • Audience: Who is the intended audience?
  • Purpose: What is the purpose of this image? What does the author want the audience to do?
  • Design: How are elements place on the page? Is anything repeated? Is any information highlighted? How are light and color used?
  • Strategies: Does the image use humor, guilt, youth, celebrities, etc, to make a point? Are there any cultural references?
  • Medium: Does the image also contain text? How does text work together with the image to create meaning?
  • Text/Subtext: What do the words say? What are the implications of the words?
  • Context: How does the image relate to its larger location? ie If an image is in a magazine, how does it relate to the other content in the magazine?

Remember, in advertising, every detail is chosen very carefully. Advertisers typically sell products by way of ideas. In other words, an ad for Coca Cola sells fun, not a sugar-laden beverage. Looking for the idea that the advertiser is connecting to the product can be a very effective and interesting way to frame an ad analysis paper.

Assignment: Choosing a Topic and Guided Brainstorming

Find an advertisement in a print magazine that catches your attention. If you don’t subscribe to any magazines, you can find a nice selection in your local library or at the grocery store. Moving forward, you will need to have the magazine name and publication date and a copy of the ad on hand, so, if you don’t own the magazine, make sure to take a photo of the cover of the magazine and the ad itself. It’s not a bad idea to take a picture of the table of contents, as well.

If you can’t get to a store or a library in person, you can also locate an advertisement through your local library. It’s important to use the library (not just a google search) because you need to know where the ad was originally located in order to complete an accurate analysis of the ad. Here is a video showing you how to access the YC Library’s digital magazine collection:

Thoroughly discuss the following points for your advertisement. Be specific and give reasons for your answers. The goal is to discover the main strategies the advertiser is using to target the specific audience for the ad. What is the advertiser trying to convince the consumer can be accomplished by purchasing the product advertised? Remember, your end goal is to write an essay that shows readers how an advertiser markets a product to a specific target audience.

  • What product or service is being advertised?
  • What are the most important elements that you see in this advertisement?
  • Who is the audience (think about who reads the magazine!)?
  • What is the advertiser using to appeal to the consumer? (humor, guilt, emotion, sex, youth, expertise, celebrities, etc.)
  • Critique this ad as visual artwork. Consider the color, lines, composition, media, contrast, mood, and style.
  • How does the visual artwork assist the words or language to promote the product?
  • Does the advertiser use any double meanings or cultural references?
  • What idea is being used to sell the product? (i.e. Coke ads sell fun)

You may fill in the following form and download your answers:

Here’s an example of what your answers might look like:

This is an image of an advertisement for milk showing the mothers from The Partridge Family, Happy Days, and the Brady Bunch sitting in a vintage salon.

For a more extended discussion of advertising, please watch this documentary from PBS:



Content created by Dr. Karen Palmer. Last edited 5/28/2020. Licensed under CC BY NC .

The Worry Free Writer Copyright © 2020 by Dr. Karen Palmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Advertisement Analysis Essay: Writing Tips

Let's first define the analysis essay to understand what it is. Analysis essays imply examination and evaluation of a particular work like books, newspapers, journals, articles or advertisements. No matter what you analyze, your purpose is going to be the same:

  • break your subject into components;
  • examine each part separately;
  • find the connection between those parts.

For instance, if you are assigned to analyze a poem, you will have to find a relation between the content of the poem and its form. If you have to interpret a play, you might need to find a link between the plots and subplots, and follow the character development by discussing their acting during the performance. There might be different goals when it comes to analysis. It's always important to understand clearly what your professor wants you to highlight.

Ad analysis essay is aimed to study a particular advertisement, provide its main points and give your opinion on its impact on the audience. Advertising has played and continues to play a tremendous role in our lives. We face it everywhere: television, the Internet, roads, shops etc. It doesn't matter whether the advertisement is aimed to sell the product or raise the awareness of the audience about something - it's still has a powerful influence. Therefore, it's imperative to analyze advertisements and understand how they work. If you are wondering how to write an ad analysis essay which can impress the readers, then you came to the right place! Check out the guideline below and write an eye-catching ad analysis essay or get custom online essays from professional writers.

Ad analysis essay guidelines for students

Just as every kind of academic writing, an ad analysis essay has a standard structure which should be strictly followed. Before we start discussing this basic structure and its component, we want to give a list of questions related to the advertisement, which you should work on before writing the essay.

  • First of all, make an introduction to the subject which is advertised. Your readers might not be familiar with the service or the product advertised in your case. The earlier you introduce the advertisement, the easier it is to comprehend. No matter what your ad discusses or how popular it is - give a small description for everyone to have a clear understanding of what they are going to read in your essay.
  • You should also try to understand what "the audience" is. You should realize who you are going to work with because this will help you focus on the right things and highlight those aspects which are interesting for your readers.
  • It's also critical to understand the purpose of the advertisement and why you write the essay on this ad. Why are you telling your readers about the mechanism of this particular advertisement? A clear understanding of the purpose will let you write a well-structured paper.
  • Another thing you should pay attention to is the thesis. It's an overall point which you discuss in the rest of the essay.
  • Take some time to organize your task. There should be a certain order of the things you want to present in your analysis, and you should come up with this sequence before writing.

Your analysis essay should be simple and challenging at same time. Of course, it tries to show what the creator of the advertisement wanted to convey to everyone but you should also help the reader realize all the positive and negative influences of this advertisement. In most cases, the executives try to sell their products to as many people as possible. They might spend fortunes on commercials. The psychological techniques used to convince people are very intricate because they influence our way of thinking subliminally. They alter our preferences and make us buy things we would have never bought. Your readers should get a broader picture of the advertisement and be aware of all the pitfalls it poses. In short, you should describe how effective the ad is or was.


Every essay writing dilemma can be solved right now!

Useful structure tips, and topic examples

We offer a basic structure you can apply while writing an analysis essay. If you want to write a high-quality advertising analysis essay - just follow these simple steps:

  • Come up with the title and thesis statement.
  • Write the introduction. The introduction aims to capture your readers' attention. As it has been stated before, you should give some background information relevant to your advertisement and indicate your opinion on it to show the position you are taking. In this part of the essay, you should include your thesis statement and description of the topic.
  • The body part of the essay. In this section, you lay out the main paragraphs (at least 3 paragraphs for a 500-700-words essay) which support your thesis. Provide the evidence, facts and examples. This will assure the reader that your viewpoint is backed by solid proof. You can use textual evidence which includes a summary, paraphrasing, specific details and quotations. Try to take as much information from the advertisement as you can. Don't miss any details and discuss every single aspect of the ad.
  • Conclusion for an advertisement analysis essay. It is the culmination of your whole work. You should summarize all main points and give your final comment about the ad.

Create an advertisement analysis essay outline. Many people skip this part despite the fact that it helps the author organize all their ideas and thoughts. When it comes to outline writing, you should mention what your topic is, why it caught your attention and what your opinion is. What is more, you should include short names for all paragraphs of the essay and a brief description of what you are going to write in each of them.

Take your time to choose the most suitable topic for your advertisement analysis essay. Select what is interesting for both you and the audience. Here are some examples of ad analysis essay topics:

  • What is the message behind the Burger King's advertisement "BK Super Seven Incher"?
  • Does the new Coca-Cola commercial convince people that they are going to "Open Happiness"?
  • Does Bud Light's "drinkability" have "viability"?
  • How the military commercials influence our mind

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To cite an advertisement in a print magazine, follow the  MLA format template . Provide the title of the advertisement or a description in place of a title. Then provide the name of the magazine in the “Title of container” slot, followed by the date of the issue and the page number on which the advertisement appears.

Advertisement for Head and Shoulders.  Newsweek , 17 Mar. 2008, p. 2. 

To cite a digital advertisement, provide the URL in place of a page number. If the advertisement is a pop-up ad, provide this information in the optional-element slot at the end of the entry. 

“Get the Best of The New Yorker.”  The New Yorker , 10 Jan. 2017, www.newyorker.com. Pop-up ad. 

  • Flipster (EBSCO) This link opens in a new window Flipster is a next-generation digital magazine solution that makes it easy for you to read and download (for offline reading) your favorite magazines on your computer or mobile device. Users can browse magazines by category as well as perform searches for specific ones. Funded by: College

  • Academic Search Complete (EBSCO) This link opens in a new window Academic Search Complete, designed specifically for academic institutions, is the world's most valuable and comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 5,300 full-text periodicals, including 4,400 peer-reviewed journals. In addition to full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 9,300 journals and a total of 10,900 publications including monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc. The database features PDF content going back as far as 1865, with the majority of full text titles in native (searchable) PDF format. Funded by: Statewide Allocation
  • Films on Demand (Infobase Publishing) This link opens in a new window Streaming video from large and small production companies covering a wide range of subjects to enhance college courses. These videos include public performance rights that allow them to be used in the educational setting. Funded by: College (FLVC Group License)
  • Kanopy This link opens in a new window Watch thousands of streaming films, documentaries and training videos. Kanopy’s award-winning collection includes PBS, Criterion Collection, New Day, California Newsreel, First Run Features, and hundreds of other leading producers -- on every topic imaginable. Funded by: College
  • Narrative and Persuasion in Fashion Advertising. Phillips, Barbara J., and Edward F. Mcquarrie. “Narrative and Persuasion in Fashion Advertising.” Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 37, no. 3, Oct. 2010, pp. 368–392. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1086/653087.
  • Fantasy in Food Advertising Targeted at Children. Rose, Gregory M., et al. “Fantasy in Food Advertising Targeted at Children.” Journal of Advertising, vol. 41, no. 3, Fall 2012, pp. 75–90. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bft&AN=85985335&site=ehost-live.
  • The Role of Emotions in Advertising: A Call to Action. Poels, Karolien, and Siegfried Dewitte. “The Role of Emotions in Advertising: A Call to Action.” Journal of Advertising, vol. 48, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 81–90. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/00913367.2019.1579688.
  • THE BEST SUPER BOWL AD THAT WASN'T: Old Spice's 'Man Your Man Can Smell Like' didn't run in the game, but won it anyway.
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  • P&G Refreshes Old Spice Image to Attract Axe Guys.
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McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.”  YouTube , uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.”  YouTube,  uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

Source:  https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_electronic_sources.html 

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English 101 Research Guide: Ad Analysis Assignment

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Guest Essay

I Thought the Bragg Case Against Trump Was a Legal Embarrassment. Now I Think It’s a Historic Mistake.

A black-and-white photo with a camera in the foreground and mid-ground and a building in the background.

By Jed Handelsman Shugerman

Mr. Shugerman is a law professor at Boston University.

About a year ago, when Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, indicted former President Donald Trump, I was critical of the case and called it an embarrassment. I thought an array of legal problems would and should lead to long delays in federal courts.

After listening to Monday’s opening statement by prosecutors, I still think the district attorney has made a historic mistake. Their vague allegation about “a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” has me more concerned than ever about their unprecedented use of state law and their persistent avoidance of specifying an election crime or a valid theory of fraud.

To recap: Mr. Trump is accused in the case of falsifying business records. Those are misdemeanor charges. To elevate it to a criminal case, Mr. Bragg and his team have pointed to potential violations of federal election law and state tax fraud. They also cite state election law, but state statutory definitions of “public office” seem to limit those statutes to state and local races.

Both the misdemeanor and felony charges require that the defendant made the false record with “intent to defraud.” A year ago, I wondered how entirely internal business records (the daily ledger, pay stubs and invoices) could be the basis of any fraud if they are not shared with anyone outside the business. I suggested that the real fraud was Mr. Trump’s filing an (allegedly) false report to the Federal Election Commission, and that only federal prosecutors had jurisdiction over that filing.

A recent conversation with Jeffrey Cohen, a friend, Boston College law professor and former prosecutor, made me think that the case could turn out to be more legitimate than I had originally thought. The reason has to do with those allegedly falsified business records: Most of them were entered in early 2017, generally before Mr. Trump filed his Federal Election Commission report that summer. Mr. Trump may have foreseen an investigation into his campaign, leading to its financial records. He may have falsely recorded these internal records before the F.E.C. filing as consciously part of the same fraud: to create a consistent paper trail and to hide intent to violate federal election laws, or defraud the F.E.C.

In short: It’s not the crime; it’s the cover-up.

Looking at the case in this way might address concerns about state jurisdiction. In this scenario, Mr. Trump arguably intended to deceive state investigators, too. State investigators could find these inconsistencies and alert federal agencies. Prosecutors could argue that New York State agencies have an interest in detecting conspiracies to defraud federal entities; they might also have a plausible answer to significant questions about whether New York State has jurisdiction or whether this stretch of a state business filing law is pre-empted by federal law.

However, this explanation is a novel interpretation with many significant legal problems. And none of the Manhattan district attorney’s filings or today’s opening statement even hint at this approach.

Instead of a theory of defrauding state regulators, Mr. Bragg has adopted a weak theory of “election interference,” and Justice Juan Merchan described the case , in his summary of it during jury selection, as an allegation of falsifying business records “to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 election.”

As a reality check: It is legal for a candidate to pay for a nondisclosure agreement. Hush money is unseemly, but it is legal. The election law scholar Richard Hasen rightly observed , “Calling it election interference actually cheapens the term and undermines the deadly serious charges in the real election interference cases.”

In Monday’s opening argument, the prosecutor Matthew Colangelo still evaded specifics about what was illegal about influencing an election, but then he claimed , “It was election fraud, pure and simple.” None of the relevant state or federal statutes refer to filing violations as fraud. Calling it “election fraud” is a legal and strategic mistake, exaggerating the case and setting up the jury with high expectations that the prosecutors cannot meet.

The most accurate description of this criminal case is a federal campaign finance filing violation. Without a federal violation (which the state election statute is tethered to), Mr. Bragg cannot upgrade the misdemeanor counts into felonies. Moreover, it is unclear how this case would even fulfill the misdemeanor requirement of “intent to defraud” without the federal crime.

In stretching jurisdiction and trying a federal crime in state court, the Manhattan district attorney is now pushing untested legal interpretations and applications. I see three red flags raising concerns about selective prosecution upon appeal.

First, I could find no previous case of any state prosecutor relying on the Federal Election Campaign Act either as a direct crime or a predicate crime. Whether state prosecutors have avoided doing so as a matter of law, norms or lack of expertise, this novel attempt is a sign of overreach.

Second, Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that the New York statute requires that the predicate (underlying) crime must also be a New York crime, not a crime in another jurisdiction. The district attorney responded with judicial precedents only about other criminal statutes, not the statute in this case. In the end, the prosecutors could not cite a single judicial interpretation of this particular statute supporting their use of the statute (a plea deal and a single jury instruction do not count).

Third, no New York precedent has allowed an interpretation of defrauding the general public. Legal experts have noted that such a broad “election interference” theory is unprecedented, and a conviction based on it may not survive a state appeal.

Mr. Trump’s legal team also undercut itself for its decisions in the past year: His lawyers essentially put all of their eggs in the meritless basket of seeking to move the trial to federal court, instead of seeking a federal injunction to stop the trial entirely. If they had raised the issues of selective or vindictive prosecution and a mix of jurisdictional, pre-emption and constitutional claims, they could have delayed the trial past Election Day, even if they lost at each federal stage.

Another reason a federal crime has wound up in state court is that President Biden’s Justice Department bent over backward not to reopen this valid case or appoint a special counsel. Mr. Trump has tried to blame Mr. Biden for this prosecution as the real “election interference.” The Biden administration’s extra restraint belies this allegation and deserves more credit.

Eight years after the alleged crime itself, it is reasonable to ask if this is more about Manhattan politics than New York law. This case should serve as a cautionary tale about broader prosecutorial abuses in America — and promote bipartisan reforms of our partisan prosecutorial system.

Nevertheless, prosecutors should have some latitude to develop their case during trial, and maybe they will be more careful and precise about the underlying crime, fraud and the jurisdictional questions. Mr. Trump has received sufficient notice of the charges, and he can raise his arguments on appeal. One important principle of “ our Federalism ,” in the Supreme Court’s terms, is abstention , that federal courts should generally allow state trials to proceed first and wait to hear challenges later.

This case is still an embarrassment, in terms of prosecutorial ethics and apparent selectivity. Nevertheless, each side should have its day in court. If convicted, Mr. Trump can fight many other days — and perhaps win — in appellate courts. But if Monday’s opening is a preview of exaggerated allegations, imprecise legal theories and persistently unaddressed problems, the prosecutors might not win a conviction at all.

Jed Handelsman Shugerman (@jedshug) is a law professor at Boston University.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , WhatsApp , X and Threads .


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