14 Assignment: Outline

Dr. Karen Palmer

Assignment: Writing an Outline

If you completed the last assignment in this text, you have already chosen a print ad and completed some brainstorming questions. Now it’s time to take that information and create a a thesis and an outline for your argument. Remember that your goal is to write an essay showing readers how the ad you chose uses specific marketing strategies to convince the consumer to buy the product advertised. Here is where you will put the writing formula into practice as you begin with the main sections of an essay.

Here are some pointers:

  • The hook should relate the ad to a larger concern of your audience–make the paper relevant to them.
  • You should assume readers have not seen the ad nor read the magazine. Therefore, they will need some background information before they can understand your argument. In this case, background information should include a description of the ad and a discussion of the audience of the magazine (the context).
  • Remember to stay focused on showing readers how the advertiser is targeting a specific audience!

You may want to practice with both formal and informal outlines to see which works better for you. Here’s a sample outline based on the “Got Milk” ad featuring Carol Brady that we discussed earlier in this text:

Ad Analysis Sample Outline



You may use the following as a template for your own outline:

  1. Introduction
    1. Hook
    2. Topic (Include what product is being advertised and where the ad is located)
    3. Thesis (ie The advertiser successfully persuades the consumer that drinking Coca-Cola will bring them joy by using a celebrity endorsement, a brightly colored image, and a catchy slogan.)
  2. Background
    1. Description of the ad (Assume your audience has never seen it!)
    2. Context of the ad (Where is the ad located? Who is the primary audience of that publication?)
  3. Argument
    1. Point one:
      1. Topic sentence (ie One way the ad convinces the consumer that Coca-Cola will bring them joy is by using a celebrity endorsement.)
      2. Evidence from the ad
      3. Wrap up sentence
    2. Point two:
      1. Topic sentence: (ie In addition to the celebrity endorsement, the advertisers use a brightly colored image to further convince the consumer that drinking Coca-Cola will bring them joy. )
      2. Evidence from the ad
      3. Wrap up sentence
    3. Point three:
      1. Topic sentence: (ie Finally, the advertiser clinches the audience’s understanding that Coca-Cola will bring them joy by using a catchy slogan.)
      2. Evidence
      3. Wrap up sentence
  4. Conclusion

Need help?

If you’d like more help, here is a video of a classroom session with Dr. Palmer:


Content created by Dr. Karen Palmer and last edited 5/29/2020. Licensed under CC BY NC.


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