Dr. Josh Pryor
“From infancy to adulthood, advertising is in the air Americans breathe, the information we
absorb, almost without knowing it. It floods our mind with pictures of perfection and goals of
happiness easy to attain... We are feeding on foolery, of which a steady diet, for those who feed
on little else, cannot help but leave a certain fuzziness of perception.” Barbara Tuchman
After reading the Conducting Visual Arguments handout and responding to the questions, write a well-
organized and fully developed thesis-driven analytical essay of at least 900 words in which you do the
Choose a print advertisement that has been used within the last 12 months from a popular American
magazine that illustrates what Tuchman terms “pictures of perfection and goals of happiness” and then
analyze it in terms of the advertising techniques used to convey its core argument.
➢ Magazine covers do not count as ads.
THINGS TO DO IN YOUR INTRODUCTION:
1. Briefly discuss the history, purpose and scope of mainstream advertising in the United States and its
impact on American society.
2. Introduce the specific advertisement and summarize its core argument. What claims does the ad make?
Are these claims plausible? Helpful? Harmful? Explain what the ad “says” about American culture?
American values? Belief systems? Prejudices?
3. Identify the ad’s target audience? How can one tell? Consider ad placement and the magazine’s core
4. Summarize the current issues/causes/ideals revealed in the advertisement. What type of