Assignment: Audience Analysis of an Advertisement Speech



  • Four to six minutes. Practice and time your speech for about five minutes, plus video time.
  • A slideshow with a minimum of five slides using previously established guidelines is required. Screen shots of commercial moments and diagrams, such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, or graphs and charts that depict target audience traits work well. A working link that directs to the video is needed in the slideshow.
  • The speaking style should be extemporaneous.
  • Use note cards with keywords. The speaking style should be extemporaneous. No written speeches are allowed. No reading or heavy note use is allowed.
  • Use and orally cite the materials used in this course, such as textbooks, videos and blogged articles. Some basic research might include the company’s Web page, who narrates the commercial, and who is in it. Additional research is required.
  • Define and describe key course terminology.

Assignment explanation and discussion

Find an advertisement or infomercial on broadcast TV, cable, or the Internet for analysis. You can certainly pick a favorite that you already know of. Typically when you see an advert on TV/cable, you can find it on YouTube or a company’s Web site.

Analyze the advert. It is this analysis that will make up the bulk of your speech. You should draw on everything you have studied during the semester, but find depth and focus, not just a collection of scatter-shot observations. In other words, don’t try to make a main point for every common area of analysis discussed below.

In short, a critical analysis of the commercial is desired. A wide variety of approaches to this assignment are possible.

Common areas of analysis include, but are not limited to, nor must the speech have:

  • Audience analysis: Who is this advert designed to appeal to? How can you tell?  What network/channel was it on and why? What time of day was it broadcast? How long was it? Are there demographics that might find this advert offensive or in poor taste? Are there age groups that should not view it?
  • Compare/Contrast: Play two commercials for the same product that are designed to appeal to different audiences.
  • Feelings/Emotions: What emotions or feelings are created? What do you feel when you watch this advert?
  • Values: What underlying value is being played upon? Is the value the message? Why is the value important? Is the value important to you?
  • Logic & Reasoning & Evidence: What proof exists to support the claims or conclusions reached in the commercial?
  • Visuals/Pictures/Graphs/Charts: What images are used? How do the images impact you as a viewer? Does size or color make a difference?
  • Myths & Stories: Does a cultural appeal exist that is played upon? Are there cultures or populations that would just not get it? What does a viewer have to know or have experienced or watched to have the commercial appeal to them?
  • Organization/Structure: What organizational structure was used? If Monroe’s Motivated Sequence was used, can you break the five steps down and discuss them?
  • Needs & Motivation: What level of Maslow’s Need Hierarchy is the product or service designed to satisfy? Does that need level as advertised differ from the actual product or service? Often a slogan will do this, the emotional elements of the advert will do this, or the quality or prestige of the product will appeal to a different level. In this culture, a car is probably a level 2 need; but a 2010 Lexus RX Hybrid is probably not just transportation.
  • Credibility/Testimony: Who narrates the advert? Who is in it? Why are they credible or believable? Are there different levels of testimony? Does the commercial cite someone else or an organization? Why would they do this? Has the narrator or spokesperson had his or her credibility damaged?
  • Historical or Issue Background: What is the history of the claims or the issue being made in the commercial? Can you enlighten the audience or build on what the commercial discusses? Are there serious omissions in the commercial that should be included?