MP6032 - Analysing Advertising: Designs and Demographics

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What will I learn on this module?

Analysing Advertising: Designs and Demographics will develop your understanding of the variety of considerations accounted for in designing adverts. In this module, we will examine and compare various examples of advertising campaigns, interrogating the design choices made, and considering the social and political contexts that shape such choices. Emphasis will be placed on the ways in which advertisers seek to appeal to different demographics, aiming to chime with the presumed desires of various groupings. In doing so, advertisers reflect and concretise hegemonic ideological presumptions about different demographic groupings. We will investigate this balance, flagging implications for practitioners. The module will therefore enhance your ability to evaluate and critique specific aspects of advertising campaigns. It will also develop your insight into the creative process, and how real-world contexts shape those decisions. The module will be assessed by completion of a 3000 word case study essay, consisting of a) an analytical critique of an existing advert/brand/campaign’s attempt to appeal to a particular demographic, and b) suggestions for improvement, drawing comparisons to competitor’s adverts/branding/campaigns.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is taught through a series of workshop sessions. The workshops will contextualise the historical, political, and social issues that impact on various demographics, and shape the ways advertisers seek to engage with those demographics. The workshop is long so as to allow space for the tutor to: a) introduce case studies; b) demonstrate the ways in which those examples can be understood in relation to design choices and rhetorical strategies; and c) delineate areas of contention raised by the examples. The connections between examples of advertising campaigns and the issue at hand – for example, appealing to children – will be explored via interactive debate during the workshops. After being introduced to the central ideas, you will apply those ideas to relevant examples. You will then present your reflection to the rest of the cohort. The module includes a significant time allowance for self-directed study. During this time, you will be expected to engage in workshop preparation (for example, by engaging with relevant scholarship). You will be expected to come to the workshops prepared (i.e. having attended the lecture and having conducted independent preparatory reading). The major scholarly texts are available from the campus library and electronic library, thereby ensuring that you can access the literature required for workshop discussion and assessment preparation. You are encouraged to read extensively beyond the taught components of the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor has weekly office hours during which you can drop in for academic support. All students are also provided with an academic tutor who also has hours to support student learning. The workshops will allow you to engage in group discussion and problem-solving with the module tutor and your peers, thus developing a constructive support network. The delivery of the module will be supported with learning and workshop materials that are accessible via the e-learning portal.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• KU1: Demonstrate your ability to develop appropriately sophisticated analyses of advertising campaigns, accounting for how those campaigns seek to appellate to particular demographics

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• IPSA1: Draw upon the transferable skills (methods, approaches and communicative skills) you have developed to-date to independently formulate solutions to the complex design problems faced by advertisers
• IPSA2: Demonstrate confidence in your ability to analyse advertising campaigns in a lucid manner, with a degree of sophistication that is commensurate with undergraduate study at Level 6

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• PVA: The themes covered during the module will encourage you to reflect on your position as a consumer, focusing on focusing on the political, social and ethical responsibilities faced by advertisers

How will I be assessed?

At the end of the semester, you will produce a 3000 word case study essay, consisting of a) an analytical critique of an existing advert/brand/campaign’s attempt to appeal to a particular demographic, and b) suggestions for improvement, drawing comparisons to competitor’s adverts/branding/campaigns. The analysis will be based in ideas and themes raised in the module.

The essay format will allow you to demonstrate: a) analytical depth and detail; b) understanding of the issues raised during the workshop series; c) the ability to develop a sustained argument; and d) a greater degree of reflection and contemplation than other forms of assessment (such as verbal debate or written examination) would permit. The assessment will test your skills of organisation, communication, research, and critical engagement.

You will receive formative feedback on your ability to conduct analysis of events and cultural objects during the workshops. Class discussion will test your ability to critically engage with issues relating to demographics and design choices in an academic fashion and allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the theoretical concepts raised in the workshops. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your ideas with your peers, working together to find solutions to design problems faced by advertisers, and so forth.

Under normal circumstances, you will receive written feedback on your summative submissions within 20 working days. The feedback will normally be supplied electronically as part of the ESAF process. This feedback will provide a detailed account of your research/methodological skills, critical engagement and communicative ability, as well as supporting future learning by indicating areas for development. You can also request additional verbal feedback on your submissions by arranging a meeting with the module tutor.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

Analysing Advertising: Designs and Demographics will develop your understanding of the variety of considerations accounted for in designing adverts. In this module, we will examine and compare various examples of advertising campaigns, interrogating the design choices made, and considering the social and political contexts that shape such choices. Emphasis will be placed on the ways in which advertisers seek to appeal to different demographics, aiming to chime with the presumed desires of various groupings. In doing so, advertisers reflect and concretise hegemonic ideological presumptions about different demographic groupings. We will investigate this balance, flagging implications for practitioners. The module will therefore enhance your ability to evaluate and critique specific aspects of advertising campaigns. It will also develop your insight into the creative process, and how real-world contexts shape those decisions.

Course info

UCAS Code P3N5

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location Lipman Building, Newcastle City Campus

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

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