The Culture of American Advertising Assignment | Top Universities

In his essay “Masters of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising,” (available in Doc Sharing) Jack Solomon claims: “Because ours is a highly diverse, pluralistic society, various advertisements may say different things depending on their intended audiences, but in every case they say something about America, about the status of our hopes, fears, desires, and beliefs.”

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Your task is to find two of these print advertisements in magazines or on a site such as www.adflip.com (Links to an external site.) and apply the Toulmin Model of analysis (as explained in  Perspectives on Argument). To broaden your perspective, try to choose two dissimilar advertisements—either in product or intended audience. Think about the following questions:

  • What is the claim?
  • What is the support?
  • What are the warrants?
  • How universally accepted are they in our culture?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What types of rebuttal or refutation might be offered (to the claim or the warrants)?
  • Does the claim need to be qualified?

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Your goal is not to answer these questions in a list, but to address them in a coherent, logical, and well-organized essay. Your analysis should deconstruct the print advertisement completely from both a logical perspective (how the argument is structured and presented) and a cultural perspective (what warrants make the advertiser believe the ad will work). As a result of this assignment, you will find yourself becoming more critical of advertisers’ techniques of persuasion, and arrive at a better understanding of arguments.

You may need to reread Perspectives on Argument to review the parts of an argument and the types of claims. As prewriting, you should examine each ad thoroughly and then freewrite to generate ideas. During the next two weeks, we will examine advertising as a form of argument and sharpen our interpretive skills on some sample ads. This essay will be four to five pages, typed and double-spaced.


Masters of desire Jack Solomon

The Tolumn Module which is 

Each part of the Toulmin Model defines a specific part of an argument:

the claim is the point that the author or speaker of an argument

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is trying to prove (Example: All drinking water should be chlorinated.)

 the support is what an author or speaker uses to prove this claim (Example: 97% of all bacteria in water is killed by chlorine.)

  the warrant is assumption, belief, or understood opinion behind a claim. Warrants are perhaps the most difficult part of an argument to understand because they vary by geographic location, gender, cultural background, ethnicity, and nationality,to name a few (Example: Those who drink water want the bacteria in it destroyed to preserve their health.)

 the backing is sometimes provided to back up a warrant (Example: bacteria in water such as Chryptosporidium are harmful and undesirable.)

 the rebuttal presents counterarguments or critiques of the support or warrants (Example: There are many helpful bacteria in water that are also destroyed by chlorine.)

 the qualifier attempts to answer rebuttals (and often uses

qualifying words such as potentially, some , or often) (Example:

the risks caused by harmful bacteria outweigh the benefits of

helpful bacteria, so most water should be chlorinated.)Get English homework help today

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