Major Essay 3: Remix

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This assignment consisted of remixing Major Essay 2 (a rhetorical analysis of a post-1945 ad campaign) as a multimodal ten-minute oral presentation. I use Prezi to present my arguments in an organized fashion to display what I have learned about visual rhetoric. Additionally, I inserted images of magazines and other advertisements that explore similar themes. These enhance my arguments visually and provide the audience with a range of relatable sources. I decided to provide my classmates with the picture of my 2002 BMW advertisement so that as I am analyzing and explaining the photograph, they can observe the various elements I refer to simultaneously. I also provide spaces for their own personal notes.

Before I commence my presentation, however, I am going to hand out about three different advertisements to each group and give them brief guidelines as to how to analyze the image. This process will get them thinking about the themes of male dominance, female passivity and objectification, and gender imbalance in general. It will introduce my topic in an interactive way that engages the whole classroom.  

Q. How are females used as ornamentation to sell cars?

Q. How does this 1950’s Jem magazine display male dominance?

Q. How does this Jensen MP3 advertisement objectify women?

Major Essay 2 is about analytically explaining the different strategies used in a multimodal text to persuade the target audience. I chose to analyze a 2002 BMW car advertisement that displays an undressed man and woman in bed with a magazine of the BMW advertisement covering the woman’s face. The slogan is “The Ultimate Attraction,” which does not refer to the man and woman, but instead to the man and the car. This car advertisement is a perfect example of sexualized ad campaigns and of gender imbalance, as women are degraded and objectified whilst the man dominates. There are many visual aspects of this image that reflect and contribute to gender inequality and that attract the viewer’s eye to the purpose of this ad: the BMW. I then conclude by mentioning some issues and consequences that have arisen due to the increasingly used sexualized and gender advertisements.

Prior to writing this piece, I had background knowledge of gender imbalance and sexualized advertisements via my Geography and English Language and Literature courses during the I.B. program in high school. These concepts have always interested me so when I found this advertisement, it felt like the ideal opportunity to further explore them. I first looked at the image profoundly, picking out every little detail I noticed, and then I went on to develop each idea, tying them together through one common thread or theme. Each element I picked out had something interesting to say about it, whether I would make a personal assumption about the advertiser’s underlying intent, or if I would use my prior knowledge to explain a concrete technique. During the process of writing the piece, new ideas and notions came to my attention, like the irony of the word “model.” And finally, I wanted to conclude with a paragraph relaying this type of advertising to the real world: what the effects and issues are on our society, in the hopes of drawing attention to the influential prevalence of advertising, which in turn might change the way audiences perceive them.

The audience my piece is directed at mostly consists of younger women, possibly feminists, who can relate to the inferior and subordinate stance in which women are portrayed compared with the power and strength of men. It can also appeal to women who are subject to one or some of the societal issues that have arisen due to this representation.

What I like most about my writing piece is the depth and detail in which I analyzed the image. This in-depth analysis enabled me to further explore this gender theme and the techniques advertisers use in today’s world. I like the fact that my interpretations of this ad are personal to me, and others might disagree or perceive it differently. 


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