An effective political ad or campaign commercial works on several levels. It must make an effective argument, either for or against a candidate. It must work on an artistic level, using the techniques of filmmaking to capture the viewers’ attention and stay in their memories. And it must work on an emotional level, creating a connection with the voters. While a strong advertising campaign does not guarantee election, it often does indicate which candidate has a clearer and more effective message. It is not surprising, therefore, that in most years, the best ads also happen to be in support of the winning candidates.
Choose one of the Top 10 Political Ads. Write a 5-paragraph paper (4 to 5 pages long) analyzing the ad that you have chosen. Your analysis should include a description of the campaign during which the ad aired, a description of the ad itself, as well as an argument about the quality of the ad – why was the ad effective? Your paper should include an introduction (paragraph 1) and a conclusion (paragraph 5), as well as a paragraph explaining the political context of the ad (paragraph 2), a paragraph describing the ad (paragraph 3), and a paragraph explaining why the ad was effective and has become famous (paragraph 4).
Introduction (paragraph 1): Your introduction must have the following:Introduction of the ad (e.g., This paper will analyze the political ad titled “X”).Introduction of the context of the ad (e.g., The ad aired during the X presidential campaign between A and B).Outline the paper (e.g., This paper will first describe the political context of the ad, second describe the ad itself, and finally make an argument about why the ad was effective).Thesis statement: One or two sentence statement summarizing why you believe the ad was effective and has become famous as an example of a good political ad (e.g., This ad was effective and has become famous because …).
Context (paragraph 2): Your second paragraph must have the following:During which campaign did the ad air? Who were the candidates in the campaign? Which parties did they represent?What were the major political issues of the campaign that year?What were the platforms of the candidates? What promises did they make?Which candidate does the ad support or which candidate does the ad attack?What were the election results?Use the website livingroomcandidate.org to find this information. You will also need to do additional research to find information about the candidates’ platforms. For example, a Google-search for “2008 Presidential platforms.”Description of the Ad (paragraph 3): You third paragraph must have the following:What happens in the ad? What story is being told?What does the viewer of the ad SEE, HEAR, and READ?Is the ad negative or positive? Is it an attack ad?What is the overall message of the ad?
Analysis of the Ad (paragraph 4): Your fourth paragraph must have the following:Why was the ad effective? In what way does it meet the description of an effective political ad listed above?How do the images, text, audio or music reinforce the candidate’s message?Does the ad appeal to the viewers’ emotions? How? Which emotions?What symbolism does the ad use? How does it help the ad tell its message?Is the ad misleading? Does it trick the viewer? For example, is the ad racist, as is arguable the case with “Willie Horton,” or does it make exaggerated claims?What is your opinion of the ad? Would it have convinced you to vote for the candidate it supports or to not vote for the candidate it attacks?
Conclusion (paragraph 5): Your fifth paragraph must have the following:Restatement of thesis: Why was the ad effective?In your opinion, what is the place of political ads in our politics? Do political ads mobilize or persuade voters? In your opinion, (1) are political ads effective at getting people to change their minds about who to vote for, (2) do political ads convince the undecided, (3) do they motivate the already committed to get out and vote on election day, and (4) are political ads overall a good thing or bad thing? (5) Should there be more regulations on political ads?
Your paper will be graded on a 100-point scale based on the following criteria:
Content (80 points): Does your essay includes 5 paragraphs, each of which has all the required elements listed above? Is your paper at least 4 pages long?Writing Style (10 points): Does your essay use correct grammar and spelling. Does each paragraph begin with a topic sentence explaining what the paragraph will be about?Format (10 points): Is your paper double spaced, written in a 12-point font and with 1-inch margins? Does your paper have page numbers? Does your paper have a title?
All quotations and paraphrases from the livingroomcandidate.org website, as well as any other sources must be cited with APA in-text citations; these citations must refer to a Work Cited page (this page does not count toward your 4-page minimum or your 5-page maximum).
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