Introduction and Outline

I’m studying and need help with a English question to help me learn.

[Make sure you read the Prompt for Essay #1 before attempting this assignment]

There are many ways to write an academic introduction; I am going to show you one way, in particular, that you can adapt to just about any academic essay. This type of introduction has three parts: Topic, Material, Thesis.

Topic

When you begin your introduction it is important to understand just who the audience is to whom you are writing. A common mistake some students make is thinking that they are writing the essay to their professor. While the professor may be the one who reads it (or a teaching assistant at a university), the audience you want to imagine writing to is a reader who hasn’t seen the writing prompt you have been given, hasn’t been in the classroom or discussion boards of your class, and hasn’t just read the course readings. In other words, your reader is a stranger who has just picked up your paper and decided to read it. You should imagine this stranger as an educated, intelligent reader who is looking to deepen their understanding of the particular topic you are writing about. Because they have just picked up this essay, they don’t know what that topic is, until you introduce it to them.

So, to begin the introduction, write 2-4 sentences that raises the overall topic of your essay (not the argument you are going to present about that topic). Here is an example introducing the topic of the effects of advertising on culture :

Living in the developed world today has many advantages for those seeking comfort, security, and non-stop entertainment. There are products and services available to anybody with enough money to meet virtually any need and any desire they may have. While that concept may not be so new, the number of people who have at least some access to that ability to satiate their whims is relatively new. It is because of this that advertising has become so prevalent in almost every aspect of modern American life as companies big and small fight for every customer they can find – even in places that were largely overlooked by Madison Avenue in the earlier parts of the 20th century. High-end automakers are no longer solely focused on the ultra-rich and hygiene product manufacturers no longer speak only to the “women of the house.”

Notice how the Introduction begins with general statements about culture that lead into more specific statements about advertising. Open a blank document on your computer and type your own topic introduction, then keep reading for the next two steps of the Introduction.

Material

The “material” of your essay is the object of your academic analysis. If you were writing an essay in which the topic was Shakespeare’s use of tragedy, the objects of your analysis might be Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Othello. If you were writing an essay in which the topic was Health Care in the United States, the object of your analysis might be the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). For the essay you are about to write, the material is the specific advertising campaign you are going to analyze.Again, keep in mind your audience. Does it seem likely they already are aware of the product or service? If so, don’t introduce it to them like they have been living on Mars (So you wouldn’t need to say: McDonald’s is a fast food restaurant that serves hamburgers and french fries).

Here is an example of introducing the material:

One multibillion-dollar industry that has understood the need to reach out to traditionally underrepresented demographics is the big business athletic apparel. In this highly profitable industry there is one company that has soared above the rest, launching from humble beginnings into the atmosphere of seemingly unassailable prestige. This company of course is Nike, who offers popular clothing, equipment, and shoes to its customers and none more prestigious than its division named after its greatest spokesman – Air Jordan.

Thesis

The thesis is the argument you are making in an essay. This should be the main point or points you are wanting to make about the topic you introduced earlier. The thesis is the most important part of your essay because it is the blueprint you will use to construct the body paragraphs that follow, and it will be the map that your reader will use to follow the overall argument that each of your body paragraphs support.

  • Make sure thesis is aligned with what the prompt is asking for.
  • Keep it concise (1-3 sentences).
  • Make it detailed, developed, and dynamic.
  • Make sure it is clear and free of any errors.

Here is an example of a thesis:

While the current advertising campaign for Nike’s Air Jordan shoes seems to be connecting with aspirational sentiments of our current culture while hoping to show connection between their product and personal empowerment, the status symbol that Jordans have held in particular communities shows potentially dangerous and exploitative undercurrent.

Notice how the first part identifies the feelings that the ads are tapping into, the cultural mythologies (aspirational sentiments, personal empowerment), while the second part identifies the “dangerous” and “exploitative” part of the ads as they tap into the cultural mythology of “the status symbol” like Roberts talked about (the idea of conspicuous consumption). With a developed, detailed, and dynamic thesis, I know I will have enough points to develop in individual body paragraphs.

Put all the pieces together and you end up with a nicely developed introduction:

Living in the developed world today has many advantages for those seeking comfort, security, and non-stop entertainment. There are products and services available to anybody with enough money to meet virtually any need and any desire they may have. While that concept may not be so new, the number of people who have at least some access to that ability to satiate their whims is relatively new. It is because of this that advertising has become so prevalent in almost every aspect of modern American life as companies big and small fight for every customer they can find – even in places that were largely overlooked by Madison Avenue in the earlier parts of the 20th century. High-end automakers are no longer solely focused on the ultra-rich and hygiene product manufacturers no longer speak only to the “women of the house.” One multibillion-dollar industry that has understood the need to reach out to traditionally underrepresented demographics is the big business athletic apparel. In this highly profitable industry there is one company that has soared above the rest, launching from humble beginnings into the atmosphere of seemingly unassailable prestige. This company of course is Nike, who offers popular clothing, equipment, and shoes to its customers and none more prestigious than its division named after its greatest spokesman – Air Jordan. While the current advertising campaign for Nike’s Air Jordan shoes seems to be connecting with aspirational sentiments of our current culture while hoping to show connection between their product and personal empowerment, the status symbol that Jordans have held in particular communities shows potentially dangerous and exploitative undercurrent.

Now, write your own introduction for Essay #1 that includes topic, material, and thesis.








prompt of essay

A) Choose an advertising campaign (not a singular advertisement) for a particular product or service that has print and video ads and do a deep semiotic reading discussing how you think culture is being reflected (and perhaps affected) by the campaign. What cultural myths/beliefs (like conspicuous consumption, the American Dream, individualism and dissent, etc.) is the ad campaign perpetuating or deconstructing? What stereotypes (about race, class, gender, sexual orientation) is the campaign perpetuating or deconstructing?

I will choose Adidas

The following are just some questions to help you think about the types of abductive arguments you will make in your essay; you are not meant to follow them like an outline. Some may be more relevant than others to your particular arguments:

  1. How is the advertiser using culture to sell the product? (Think about Robert’s essay about the culture of conspicuous consumption or Frank’s essay using the culture of dissent/counterculture).
  2. How is the product marketing to specific demographics?
  3. Are there different types of ads for the same product targeting different demographics?
  4. Analyze the ads using the questions on page 30. Are the ads appealing more to logic, emotion, or credibility?
  5. Is the campaign exploiting stereotypes or deconstructing them? (Think of Craig’s essay).

Essay should be 4-6 double-spaced pages in MLA format. You must use at least one quote from three different readings from this unit.

  • Should have a title that states topic and hints at thesis.
  • Introduction should begin with 3-5 sentences introducing the topic of how culture influences and is influenced by consumer society and marketing techniques as well as introduce the specific campaign you are going to analyze.
  • A thesis statement should end the introduction making an analytical argument about that particular campaign (What do you think the campaign says about our culture? Or how do you think our culture is impacted by the campaign? What similarities/differences do the ads show about culture? Or…?)
  • Body paragraphs should begin with clearly articulated topic sentences that develop individual points helping to support your overall thesis.
  • Evidence should describe the ads and be connected to quotes from essays in the unit when appropriate.
  • Conclusion should bring these individual points back to the overall thesis and make it clear why it is important to understand not only the argument you made for this particular campaign, but how that helps inform a more conscientious observer of all public discourse.
  • Edit carefully for grammar, spelling, punctuation.

outline requirements

Here is an example:

While the current advertising campaign for Nike’s Air Jordan shoes seems to be connecting with aspirational sentiments of our current culture while hoping to show connection between their product and personal empowerment, the status symbol that Jordans have held in particular communities shows potentially dangerous and exploitative undercurrent.

Body 1 – Aspirational Tone of Ads

–Connecting success of Jordan w/ Success of Consumer

–Drake Ad – “Winning mentality”

Body 2 – Slogans

–Lean and Twist – Connection to Lean In (Westbrook Ad)

–Rise Above – Discuss as Political Slogan

Body 3 – Demographics of Ads (quote from Craig)

–Race

–Gender (Quote from Frank)

–Class

–Age

Body 4 – Status Symbol (Quote from Roberts)

–Compare to luxury items like watches, houses, boats

–Macklemore Song “Wing$”

–Look up reports of crimes involving stealing Jordans

Body 5 – Exploitation of Nostalgia

–1989 Print Ad

–Westbrook/Roberston Ad

Conclusion – Show nuance of positive aspects mixed with negative

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