On this page:

  • Purpose
  • Past Student Example
  • Answer These Questions in your Assignment
  • What is Advertising?
  • What is an Ad Campaign?
  • What Can an Ad Campaign Accomplish?
  • What is a Performance Benefit?
  • Headlines and Body Copy
  • The Tone of an Advertisement
  • Campaign Strategies
  • Socially Conscious Branding
  • Ads Found by Students
  • Assignment Process


Read and view the images on this entire page to gain an understanding of what advertising is and how ad campaigns work. Find 2 advertisements — static, animation, slides, or video ads — for a product, or service, or message, or brand that are part of the same campaign (i.e., have the same or similar tagline). Download or screenshot still frames from the 2 ads and write answers to the questions about why they are successful and work well as a campaign. Use any app (Word, Photoshop, etc) to set up your assignment document and then make a PDF copy of your original file to submit to both the Discussion and Assignment pages. Provide feedback on 2 other student’s projects. It’s important that your assignment includes high resolution copies (downloads or screenshots) of the two found advertisements and that they represent the key components of how the ad communicates its message. Make sure the images of the ads are not distorted (stretched or pinched), maintain the original visual proportions, and show the full frame of the ad (not cropped). If the ad text is blurry or too small to read, please write the words of the ad below the screenshots in your assignment document. If the ad has spoken words, music, or sound, please describe the audio track elements in detail in your assignment document.

Past Student Example:

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Answer these Questions in your Assignment:

  1. What is the tagline used in the campaign?
  2. Who is sponsoring these ads?
  3. What is the benefit being sold or the main message of these two ads?
  4. Who is the target audience?
  5. How did you come to that conclusion? What elements (words, images, colors, typefaces, design layout, etc.) indicate the intended audience? Provide specific details.
  6. What elements help get the message across? How is the story or main point being communicated?
  7. What indicates that these two ads are truly part of one campaign?

NOTE: Please use full sentences when answering assignment questions and posting comments in the discussions.

What is Advertising?

According to William Arens and Michael Weigold in their book, Advertising 4e (McGraw Hill Publishing, 2022), “Advertising is a paid, mediated form of communication from an identifiable source, designed to persuade the receiver to take some action, now or in the future… employing both verbal and nonverbal elements…”. Below is an example of one form of advertising:

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Arens and Weigold explain: “Wendy’s used highly engaging social media platforms. It created fresh, funny, engaging messages that reinforced the core benefit of delicious fresh food. And it focused messages on fans — people who like the brand and who engage with the company — and with one another.”

What is an Ad Campaign?

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An ad campaign is a set of advertisements that revolve around a single message and are intended to achieve a particular goal. For example, a company or organization might create an ad campaign to:

  • Create brand awareness for a new product
  • Drive sales of a product or service
  • Generate leads by asking people to sign up for an email list or another free offer
  • Present a public service message to educate or help society

What Can an Ad Campaign Accomplish?

“An advertising concept is not only capable of delivering a strategic message but does so in a memorable and persuasive way.” (Chapter 5, p103, Ad Critique, Nancy Tag)

To be successful, individual executions of ads for a campaign must have effective headlines and body copy, appropriate visuals, and an obvious relationship between the text and the visuals. The language style must work for the target audience. As an example, in the ad below, Method (manufacturer of cleaning products) is drawing a parallel between substance abuse and our “addiction” to home cleaning agents that might make us very happy in the short term but harm us in the long term.

What does the Method ad below try to communicate? What are the benefits of choosing this product over alternatives?

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One might say the main benefits are something like this: “Get your bathroom clean without harming yourself or the environment.” The headline, “Protect your wetlands” is concise (only three words) and those words have been carefully chosen for style and meaning. Note the way the stressed syllables (proTECT your WETlands) repeat the short “e” sound and the “t” sound. These repeating sounds increase the emphasis of the phrase and make it more memorable.

What is a Performance Benefit?

A performance benefit and is generally the main reason why a consumer would buy the product in the first place. For cleaning products, most competition happens on the battlefield of primary benefits (“get your bathroom clean”) and cost (i.e, “good value”).

Some brands compete, however, by redefining the battlefield. Method provides a secondary benefit (“without harming yourself”) and a tertiary benefit (“without harming the environment”). Scrubbing Bubbles, for example, can’t compete on this battlefield unless it changes its formula and risks a decline in performance. Of course, some (maybe most) consumers don’t care about these extra benefits. Method is really competing for a share of the consumers that already do, or who can be convinced that these extra benefits are worth caring about. These extra benefits add up to a higher-order benefit, “peace of mind,” articulated in the closing line, “Because cleaning shouldn’t make you feel guilty.”

Headlines and Body Copy:

Good headlines are sometimes a little vague, but need to make sense on at least one level. They should be provocative without being too obscure. Look at the amount of body copy in the Method cleaner ads above: four sentences across five lines. This is about the maximum amount of text you can expect your reader to put up with. Look at some of the key words: “toxic” (repeated twice), “pollute,” “kinder, gentler,” “non-toxic,” “spotless.” Consider how “toxic” and “pollute” contrast with “kindler, gentler” and “spotless.” And the way this is summarized in the final line: “cleaning” vs. “dirty.” Note that while the body copy clearly refers to the product being advertised (Method’s Tub+Tile Spray), it doesn’t pitch it forcefully. Nowhere is the reader directly urged or commanded to buy the product.

The Tone of an Advertisement:

Tone is as much nonverbal as it is verbal. Ask yourself how the Method ads, for example, are talking to its target audience. Are they friendly? Aggressive and willing to offend? Taking the role of a teacher? Taking the role of a confidant? Typography and other visual elements are important, too. The headline, for example, begins with a lower-case letter. Why? Is this a sign of informality and accessibility, mirroring the overall Method brand? But that three-eyed rubber duck…. That’s on the edgy side, right?

To a large extent, an overall brand image sets expectations for tone. In fact, departing from a tone can be dangerous because it can confuse consumers, especially the loyal ones. 

Campaign Strategies:

A “big idea” can articulate the campaign strategy to a specific audience. For Method, “Detox your home” is a broad enough campaign theme — or big idea — to inspire a number of different executions for the Method ads. Not all of the Method ads in this campaign need to focus on the same aspect of “detox”. However, they do need to communicate the key benefits in a creative way to be a successful campaign.

Socially Conscious Branding:

Sarah Whitten wrote an article about the Nike ad campaign that featured Colin Kaepernick in 2018: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/07/nikes-online-sales-surge-in-days-after-kaepernick-ad-debut.html (Links to an external site.)

In the article, Sarah explains that shares of Nike plunged after it released this ad campaign for the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It” featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. However, Nike’s online sales actually rose in the days after the ad debuted. Product orders rose 27 percent, Sarah states, according to Edison Trends, a digital-commerce research company. In the same period the previous year, product orders fell 2 percent. Nike’s Kaepernick ad came during a time when customers were looking for brands to be more socially conscious. It is possible that this bump in sales comes from customers who support the cause to eliminate racism. Calls for Nike to drop its sponsorship of Kaepernick started in 2016 when the quarterback began protesting police brutality against African Americans by “taking a knee” during the national anthem.

Ads Found by Students:

Below are ads with strong campaigns found by students who took this course previously, including some of their observations and comments.

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                                                                           Mobile ordering, is here

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Assignment Process:

1. Read this entire page and study the advertisement examples

Read this Assignment Page to gain knowledge about how individual ads and campaigns effectively reach their target audience.

2. Collect two ads from the same campaign that impress you

Find two ads of any format from any source that you believe are part of a successful advertising campaign. The ads should promote the same product(s) or service(s) or message(s) using a similar approach and taglines. NOTE: Sometimes ads have a tagline or slogan that goes with a particular product plus another overarching brand tagline or slogan. If there are two taglines, indicate which of them — or both, in unison — is driving the campaign you are analyzing.

Your found advertisements can be still (static) ads or motion (video or animated) ads. They may have originally appeared on mobile devices, in print, or on TV. Download high resolution versions or take quality screenshot copies of the two ads that you will analyze for this assignment. This link describes how to take screenshots on all devices: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2022/01/10/how-to-take-screenshot-pc-mac-iphone-samsung/9103176002/ (Links to an external site.)

If you select motion ads (time based video or animation ad), take several screenshots of key scenes or frames. You will place those scenes in your assignment document to represent the main idea and flow (timing, change of scenes, etc.) of each ad. If there is audio in your found ads, describe the sounds and voices in detail (using your words), including any important spoken phrases.

3. Create your assignment document in any app 

Place or paste or import your found advertisement images into a file — letter or tabloid size at 300 ppi — using any app you want (Word, Photoshop, etc.). Create a text box in your document to write the answers to the seven required questions. Write using complete sentences, not fragments or dot points.

Title the file with “YourName-Assignment01”. Note: If you do a revision later, save your original file as a copy and alter the file title: “YourName-Assignment01-Resubmit”. You have until the last day of classes to upload any revisions. Please submit both your original document and the revised one at the same time to this assignment page in Canvas.

Do not distort the ad images (stretch or squish) when you place them into your assignment document. When copying or downloading copies of static advertisements, visit the actual page containing reproductions of the ads, if possible. This helps to avoid copying the low resolution thumbnail images that are often shown on web-search pages. You can use tools in your browser to search “high res” images. Even then, the files may not be good enough quality (legible, crisp, zoomable) for this assignment. Once you place the images of the ads that you found into your assignment document, you will be able to tell if they are blurry or clear, especially if you zoom in. If the ad text cannot be read clearly, then type the words that appear in the ads (below the ad images). The same applies to image details that may not be visible in your copies of the ads. Write descriptions of anything that is not shown clearly in your screenshots.

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