The Man Your Man Could Smell Like Paper


In this essay, you will offer a critical analysis of five television advertisements.

Your essay should be 3-4 pages in length (not including title page, works cited, and statement of originality).

1. Choose any television network that broadcasts commercials. Choose any type of show that you enjoy: sporting event, soap opera, comedy, movie, news, etc. Watch five commercials in a row. You may also find commercials on YouTube. If that is the case, the commercials must be recent (within the last year) and ones that were broadcast in the United States.

2. Use the concepts discussed in Chapters 6-7 of the textbook to analyze the commercials and to write your essay. (You can also draw upon learning from earlier chapters and discussion postings but you’ll need to apply key concepts from Chapters 6 and 7).

3. Give your essay a title.

4. Write an introduction. Include the channel, television show, and date when the commercials were broadcasted.

5. Consider who the commercial seems to be made for. Does it appear to target a broad, diverse audience, or does it seem to be positioned to appeal to specific social identities? (social identities include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, national identity, gender, sexuality, age, religion, occupation, etc.) 

6. Analyze the significance of the cultural patterns and values depicted in the commercials and support your reasoning with information from the textbook. In your analysis, describe how some of the following concepts are exemplified in the commercials:










Control over nature/Harmony with nature


7. Cite the textbook at least four times. Give page numbers when citing or referencing concepts from the textbook. You may also cite outside research sources, if applicable.

8. When analyzing the commercials, you may consider some of the following questions:

Note: You do not have to answer each of these questions in your essay. These are some of the questions that you could address to complete the assignment satisfactorily.

What do the people in the commercial value: youth? wealth? beauty? fame? technology?

How does the commercial depict people of a particular racial or ethnic group?

What traditional gender roles are challenged by the commercial? What gender roles are affirmed? How?

How do the people in the commercial interact with each other? What do these interactions portray about dominant or co-cultures in the United States?

Are the commercials based on stereotypes? Explain.

What age groups are represented by the people in the commercial? What does the commercial communicate about these age groups?

Can you distinguish any identifying religious behaviors in the people in the commercial? What does the commercial communicate about these religions?

How are the people in the commercial dressed? What does their clothing indicate about their lifestyle?

Does the commercial in any way promote the ideas of individualism or of collectivism? Explain.

What social organizations are depicted in the commercial: family? government? military? schools? churches? community groups? What does the commercial communicate about these social organizations?

What natural resources are present in the commercial? How are they used? What does the commercial communicate about the use of these natural resources?

Are any environmental issues raised by the commercial? Explain.

Does the commercial make any historical references? Explain.

Do any nonverbal symbols in the commercial create meaning? (i.e. a recycling symbol)

Is there any evidence of globalization in the commercials? (i.e. foreign products or other signs of global economic integration)

Does the commercial utilize a slogan? What cultural messages are communicated in the slogan?

What is the overt message of the commercial? What is the covert message of the commercial?

How does the commercial relate to the deep structure of American culture?

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