Follow the guidelines for writing good college essays, being particularly specific with a clear thesis statement, well-written topic sentences, evidence (at least one per body ¶), supporting details, and a thought-provoking conclusion. And create an interesting title for your writing. I suggest creating an outline to aid you. Indicate which question you are answering on your final draft.

  1. Write about how a specific YouTube commercial or print advertisement’s argument is manipulative.(By “manipulative,” think about these definitions from “to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose” and “to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.”) Use one of the YouTube commercials in Canvas to explain what the ad is arguing for and what is essentially a dilemma or a problem with that message. Think about what the ad’s underlying message might be: stay away from the generic argument, such as “Brand X is telling people to buy the product,” and look for a more pressing or profound one, such as “Brand X claims women need to (do something) in order to (look or feel a certain way about themselves).” Using the five-step process, quote once from Stuart Hirschberg’s “The Rhetoric of Advertising” in each body paragraph (as well as the ad itself where appropriate but not to replace a quote from Hirschberg).


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  • In addition to your introduction and conclusion ¶s, you need to write at least four body ¶s in the following order to answer this question:
    • the first ¶ looks at how the ad, through its visual information, is conveying its argument; for the YouTube commercial, consider how the audio, camera angles, narrating voices, and anything else aids in this process
    • the second ¶ explains how the ad is using a specific rhetorical appeal (such as the appeal to nostalgia, appeal of the good corporate citizen, appeal to fear, or an unsubstantiated claim) or a specific propaganda technique to convey its argument
    • the third ¶ focuses on how that rhetorical appeal/propaganda technique is manipulative in the way it is used in the ad
    • the fourth ¶ thoughtfully identifies what is problematic about the ad’s underlying message (its deeper level argument)
    • (optional) the fifth ¶ thoughtfully explains why a reader might accept this ad’s argument, given the problems identified above.


  • Use this ideato motivate your thesis statement:
    • 1st: “The argument in (this ad)that (says what specifically?) is (manipulative how?) because (why?).”
  • Use these ideasto motivate your topic sentences:
    • 1st: “(This ad)is conveying its argument (through what visually?).”
    • 2nd: “(This ad)is using (what specific rhetorical appeal?) in order (to do what specifically?).”
    • 3rd: “(This rhetorical appeal/propaganda technique)is (manipulative) because (of what specific reason?).”
    • 4th: “The problem with the ad’s underlying message is (what?).”
    • 5th: (optional) “Despite this ad’s manipulation, a reader might believe in this ad’s argument because (of what specifically?).”


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