CA 170D: Advertising & Society DRAMATIC REALISM ASSIGNMENT Due 10am, Wednesday, March 27 (new deadline – updated on 3.15.2019) 100 points; 15% of final grade Dramatic realism became a common strategy advertisers used in the earliest days of advertising, especially the 1920s. Ads with dramatic realism exaggerate everyday problems, which the advertised product or source is supposed to solve. In many cases, such ads make everyday problems so excruciating and embarrassing that they must be avoided at all costs. The advertised products are seen as “heroes” who provide an escape from others’ negative judgments. These products are also represented to guarantee fitting into “desirable” societal and cultural expectations. One prominent example is for Listerine, which had ads for many years implying that bad breath (“halitosis”) leads to the loss of friends or an inability to marry. How has dramatic realism been used in advertising? To answer this question, you will find and analyze one U.S. American ad from before 1970 that relies heavily on dramatic realism to convince viewers to purchase a product that solves a “grave” everyday problem. Step 1 Find ONE U.S. American ad from before 1970 that uses dramatic realism.
The ad should be original. In other words, it should not be an ad we discussed in class nor should it be for a product or service we discussed in class such as Listerine. Also, be sure to verify that the ad you have chosen is real. Some ads found online are photoshopped or manipulated for particular purposes. You can analyze an ad in any form (print, billboard, TV commercial, online video, etc.). Here are some good places to find ads: Ads of the World The Advertising Archives American Marketing Association Advertisement Archive The American Package Museum Coloribus Advertising Archive Duke University’s Ad*Access (highly recommended!) Ebony Magazine Archive George Mason University’s Making Sense of Ads Life Magazine Archive The National Archives National Museum of American History Philip Morris USA Advertising Archive Race and Ethnicity Archive Stanford Research into Tobacco Advertising Taschen Ad Books (1900-1910, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1950s and 1960s) – all on reserve at Lilly Library Step 2 Take detailed free-form notes (about 3-5 pages) identifying 1. the problem(s) the ad claims to solve 2. how the ad tries to convince viewers the product can protect or save consumers from the problem(s) 3. the underlying societal and cultural expectation or “rule” that is met through the purchase and use of the advertised product. Your notes should be accompanied by a copy of the ad (if it’s a video, screenshots of key moments in the ad should be provided). In addition to a close analysis of how the ad uses dramatic realism, you should include your personal reactions to your encounter with specific strategies and messages found in the ad. Your notes can be handwritten (if your handwriting is legible) or typed up. In addition to your free-form notes, you should complete the ad analysis worksheet found on Sakai to analyze your ad. The ad analysis worksheet does not count toward the 3-5 pages of notes. NOTE: There may be some overlap between your free-form notes and your ad analysis worksheet, but you should still complete both as thoroughly and in as detailed a manner as possible. Step 3 After taking your detailed free-form notes and completing the ad analysis worksheet in Step 2, you need to develop a one-page “warning” document about the ad’s use of dramatic realism. The document should identify and explain the ways the ad uses dramatic realism and how it might try to convince or pressure viewers. The document should have an explanatory paragraph that does not exceed 250 words.
You are encouraged to include bold headers, images from the ad, and supplemental but related graphics to warn viewers how the ad uses dramatic realism to achieve particular ends. You can choose how to format your document, but it should be well organized and easy for viewers to understand what is being conveyed about dramatic realism found in your ad. You should assume that viewers do not know what dramatic realism is, so you need to build in a clear definition of the concept. You can use any major citation style (APA, Chicago, or MLA) as long as you are consistent. A works cited/bibliography/references list should be provided on a separate page if sources are used – it does not count toward the page limit. Step 4 By the deadline, submit the following in lecture (printed in color and stapled) and on Sakai (in ONE pdf document) in the following order: • Warning document (Step 3) • Free-form notes from Step 2 (providing photographs of your handwritten notes is fine as long as they are organized and your penmanship is clear and legible) – here, you can include any photographs not included in the warning document • Ad analysis worksheet (Step 2) • Works cited/bibliography/references list (if applicable) IMPORTANT: You should use the rubric as a checklist in preparing and finalizing your assignment. Before you submit on Sakai, double-check that you are submitting the correct file and that it opens properly – late penalties still apply even if you submit an incorrect file