Reflective Essay Paper-Marketing

Reflective Essay Paper:

A 2,250 word individual essay. The essay must draw from three seminar topics. I am looking for students to incorporate their opinion in this essay and use literature to help you substantiate your arguments. Please use subheadings and page numbers. There should be an overall introduction and conclusion for the paper. Each subsection should read as a standalone essay that is linked to a coherent argument that runs throughout the paper.

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Due Date: The 15th of January 2021

This document is to serve as a guide to help students in writing the self-reflective essay. My hope is that by providing you some additional documentation, you will have a clearer picture of what is expected for this assessment.

Tip One: What is a Self-Reflective Essay?

First, the self-reflective essay is an opinion on three separate seminar topic lectures covered this term. This means that you would express an opinion about three topics we covered. Second, you are required to bring in supporting literature that helps you to substantiate your opinion. This means you will need to use google scholar to help you bring in supporting arguments that help you to substantiate your argument.

For example, in one of the special topic lectures will talk about brand priming. Brand primes are associated with a brand identity (i.e. personality) and whether or not our exposure to branding/ advertising influences our behaviour. We will look at people primes and ask whether or not exposure to brand advertising can influence us in the same way that people can influence our behaviour (people primes). How do you feel about this? Do you agree that exposure to advertising works in the same way that that our parents or our friend can influence us? A good starting point would be to state: ‘I believe that brand primes influence us in the same way that people influence us…;” alternatively, “I do not believe that brand primes have the same influence over behaviour as people primes do.” This would be a good starting point if you were to choose this topic.

In order to fully substantiate the points that you want to argue, bring in literature to help you make your point What do other scholars argue about brand primes and their effectiveness? I will give you a paper that shows there effectiveness. In this paper they discuss other authors who disagree with them. Choose an argument and then use those scholars who also argue in the same way. This is how you use literature to help you support your arguments.

The most effective reflection papers focus on your opinions (you can use the first person of “I”) but still cite authoritative resources to back up what you believe.

Tip Two: How to get started?

The idea of having a self-reflective essay in this course is to get you to start writing while at University in a way that requires you to think and develop your own ideas. The self-reflective essay will help you develop a critical opinion on a subject matter, whether it is to support an argument or disagree with an argument.

The starting point for the essay is to articulate:

-What three topics will I use?

-Are these topics inter-related, or are they different topics?

Inter-related topics are topics that link together. For example, sustainability is a theme that might link topics together. Ethics or globalization might be themes that link all three topics together.

Standalone topics is an approach where you write each topic individually.

Tip Three: What language and structure should I used in the self-reflective essay?

You will be provided with powerpoint slides for the self-reflective essay. I have provided you with a specific structure for the essay. This would include an introduction that frames what you are looking at and the arguments that should be contained within the introduction.

It provides you with two potential structures through which to frame your arguments. The suggest format for the essay should follow the following structure:

  1. Introduction to the Essay
  2. Topic One
  • Topic Two
  1. Topic Three
  2. Conclusion


Each topic should contain 3 key elements:

  1. A brief description of what you are looking at
  2. Your interpretation of that topic in a way that is:
    • Personal
    • Analytical: how you made sense of the topic
    • Impact: how it informed you (i.e. confirmed what you know or challenged what you know)
    • Linked- linked to broader understandings and debates on the topic
  3. Outcome
    • A critical reflection of how this has impacted or changed your thinking or the way we think about things


Tip Four: I think I know what I want to write about, but I am not sure how to develop it.

Here is a query that I last year regarding the self-reflective essay:

Question…I am aiming to get a concrete idea of what I want to write about for my assignment, conduct some research and get started. The video you showed us in a previous lecture with the kids in the store affecting the spending habits of the parent made me question the general ethics of child marketing. If I was to look at visual communications targeted at children, the effect of children on consumer behaviour and brand priming with children, for example, would this be acceptable for the essay? I understand that it is a reflective essay rather than an investigative essay, but this is something of interest to me and I find specific subjects easier to write about as opposed to discussing topics in a generalised manner….Can you please let me know whether this sort of structure would be viable for the essay, or if I need to focus on three topics in a more broad sense, what I have learnt from them and whether it has challenged or reinforced my initial perception, consolidated with individual research.

Answer: In terms of your essay, here are a few thoughts for you to consider.

First, I think you need to be specific in your language to ensure you get the best grade. You tend to talk in broad generalizations, which is fine for brainstorming the essay, but you want to ensure that you are more precise. Let me explain.


The ethics lecture falls under what I called ‘representational conventions.’ A representational convention is a standard practice that marketers use when marketing a category. We talked about hair, corporate communications, movie marketing, watches, the body, and minorities. I would suggest that you are interested in the representational convention of ‘children.’ You could talk about how marketers market to children using it as the ethical convention that you are interested in. The starting point here would be to look at the representation norms that marketers use to market to children- it could be how marketers genderized toys for example. Another approach might to look at how marketers in fast food market to children and the types of approaches that they use (i.e. anthropomorphic characters/ prize give away). My point here is that one of the key points in the ethics lecture was the ethics of the convention being used.


Now you have also mentioned priming, which is a separate topic, but potentially linked (although I am not entirely sure). We talked about the potential for brand primes to work as behavioural primes. I guess the question you could potentially ask here is does kids marketing exhibit the same type of priming effect as does behavioural primes? I think you need to go beyond advertising when looking at primes. I would suggest the placement of products on the shelf could be a prime that influences. Packaging is another form of priming that directly affects purchasing behaviour.


The essay includes two things- your opinion to these topics AND additional literature to help you substantiate your points. Thus, it is not just a descriptive, discursive essay- part of it is, but it is also substantiated with literature that helps you to substantiate your points.


Tip Five: Choosing a topic(s)

Choose a topic(s) that is most interesting to you. A topic where you can express a clear opinion and find supporting materials to help you develop your topic.

You have the choice of writing on three separate special lectures or you have the opportunity to develop ‘themes.’ Themes are apply to more than one lecture. For example, take the special topic of ethics. We can look at ethics as it relates to ‘cool marketing,’ which involves marketing to teenagers- this also ties into segmentation strategies. We can look at ethics in regards to subliminal advertising and we can look at ethics in regards to food factory farming.

The only requirement is you must draw from three lectures- in the ethics example here you have created a single theme that has applicability to three separate topic lectures.

Tip Six: Style notes

  • Short and Sweet – For the most part, most reflection sections/ themes are between 550 and 650 words long. Don’t go off on tangents. Only include relevant information. Now, if you decide only to develop one or two themes your sections will be longer.
  • Clear and Concise – Make your paper as clear and concise as possible. Use a strong research questions that frame your arguments so that your essay follows a clear line of argument.
  • Maintain the Right Tone – Use a professional and academic tone, even though the writing is personal.
  • Cite Your Sources – Try to cite authoritative resources and experts to back up your personal opinions. Use APA referencing style.
  • Proofreading – Not only should you proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, but you should focus on organization as well. Answer the question presented in the introduction. Use Studiosity as a resource to help you check your work.


Tip Seven: Brainstorming your ideas

  • Note taking is an essential part of writing an effective reflection paper. It helps you get your thoughts in order and makes writing far more efficient.
  • Start by writing a few sentences that are relevant to your main theme. Use these as a sort of summary of the rest of your notes.
  • From there, jot down ideas and thoughts that relate to this theme. Remember, that the idea of a reflection paper is to present your own opinions, so keep this in mind while brainstorming.
  • Everyone has a different favoured method of brainstorming for an essay. A few of the most common are charts, diagrams, and lists.
  • The result of your brainstorming is a rough outline that you can use to guide your writing.

Tip Eight: Other things to keep in mind:

  • APA referencing.
  • Bibliography, appendix and tables do not count on your word count.
  • There is no specific style in terms of single space, 1.5 or double space.
  • Create clear subsections/ heading that are labelled within the paper.
  • Please use 12 point font.
  • Show your essay to a classmate and see what they think.
  • Have a positive attitude. Essay writing is soo much better than a timed exam. Trust me on this one. You can do well on this assignment.


Tip Nine: Writing help

  • There are writing resources available for you to use. There is one-to-one writing coaching available in XFi on Monday and Friday- please notify them you are coming.
  • Use studiosity- you get 10 attempts per year.

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