MDSC 200 annotated advertisement (2011)

Annotated Advertisement

The critically informed annotated analysis of a television advertisement will allow you to engage and apply our readings and classroom discussions to an innovative digital product. For this project you will create a “pop-up video” style annotation of a 30 second television commercial. There will be both written and digital components to this assignment.

  1. proposal of advertisement

 You will choose three 30 second television commercials that you would be interested in analyzing.  For each advertisement, you should write a paragraph (100-150 words) that argues how and why this advertisement is a cultural representation.  In an email to me with the subject line “Ad Links for (your name here)” provide links to where a video of each advertisement can be found online.  Provide a title for each advertisement with the link. Please submit the paragraphs on paper, and the links via email. I will provide you with brief comments and a decision about which advertisement you will proceed with.

resources for finding ads:


  1. screengrabs and descriptive notes

After receiving my comments, the next step in the assignment is to break the advertisement down into its component parts, in order to help you analyze its elements. To begin doing this, you will create a document that includes screengrabs of each second of the advertisement and descriptive notes.  Using the attached directions, pause your advertisement approximately once every second, and capture that image using the screengrab technique. You will produce 30 of these images.  Using these images as your guide, write a descriptive storyboard of what happens in the advertisement: note what you see, what you hear, what the transitions are like, which elements are most important visually and which elements are most important thematically for each image. It will be helpful for you to use Photoshop – or colored pens – to draw arrows at, circles around, or other visual commentary that marks important or prominent elements, on the images. Note the ten most evocative moments, then choose five of those moments to write a paragraph long (100-150 words) preliminary analysis about. Be sure to reference the elements of the advertisement in your discussion of the moments.

You will turn in a document that includes the 30 images, each with accompanying commentary, and the preliminary analysis of what you feel are the five most evocative moments in the advertisement.

III. guided analysis

In this stage, you will take the five moments that you wrote about in the descriptive notes and write revisions of those notes that integrate both responses to my comments and cited critical commentary from course readings.  You will use these expanded notes to begin drafting an overall analytical reading of the advertisement. This analysis will make an argument about the ways that the advertisement communicates its message, the content of that message, and the way that the message reflects the culture out of which this advertisement was produced.  Details or research about the product, the campaign, and the agency behind the advertisement will provide useful context.

You will turn in a document that is 4-5 pages of written text (approximately 1000 – 1250 words), an appendix of images that you refer to in your text, and a bibliography of sources, using the MLA style.

  1. annotated advertisement

You will the tool of your choice (such as a timed Powerpoint with narration, an enhanced podcast, an iMovie) to translate your analysis into a 2-3 minute annotated version of the original advertisement.  You will essentially be creating an annotated version of the advertisement that integrates your insights and observations (as demonstrated in the earlier stages of the assignment) into a digital format that mirrors and expands on the original advertisement.  The work that you began in the screengrabs and descriptive notes – particularly the elements that you highlighted, drew on, or otherwise marked – will serve as a guide to your work here.  You will want to think of this digital version as something that offers us analytical insight into the way that the advertisement communicates its message as well as commentary on the ways that that the advertisement, its evocative elements, and its overall message, engages and reflects its cultural moment.

  1. reflective response

The final phase of this project is the reflective response, which will take the form of a two minute video that you will upload to our course Tumblr page. This is not meant to be an edited video, but a narrated commentary in the form of a vlog entry. Detailed instructions on how to record yourself making this commentary will be made available. In this response you will talk about the process of putting together this annotated advertisement, the insights that you gained from working this closely with the material, and your thoughts about the annotation process. We will spend time in class responding to and critiquing the annotated advertisements created by the class on this date, so you will also be responsible for having watched the advertisements annotated by your fellow classmates.

general guidelines for written assignments:

All submitted written work should:

*be printed on white paper and stapled.

*use a standard 11 or 12 point font (i.e. Helvetica, Times New Roman, etc.).

*be double-spaced with 1 ½ inch margins.

*have a title.

*Don’t underline or italicize your own title.

*Center your title on the page.

*Use the same font that you use for the rest of the essay.

*include your full name, your e-mail address, and the date in the upper right corner.

*contain documentation and a list of references using the MLA format

*provide the correct page number for all quoted material.

%d bloggers like this: