Date of Award

Spring 1987

Document Type



Communication Studies


Part of the mystery of advertising comes from its speculativeness. Advertisers are gamblers betting they can create a demand for a supply. In that respect, advertising itself becomes a gamble. In turn, the uncertainty and risk of advertising makes 9 studying advertising a game of chance. Advertising incorporates the expertise of marketing, retailing, psychology, sociology, statistics, communication, and more. Hugh Rank characterizes advertising research in this passage from The Pitch: Randomness characterizes most discussions and books about advertising. If you've ever discussed advertising with friends at a party, or in school, you'll recall how frequenty the conversation jumps around: from products and slogans, to actors and actresses; from expressions of personal likes and dislikes, to arguments about the morality, the legality, the honesty, or the effectiveness of advertising. It's very hard to carry on a sustained coherent conversation about advertising because of such side tracking and shifting premises... While it is perfectly valid to discuss advertising from any number of ways, be aware of the approach used. Consider these basic questions: who is saying what, to whom, when and where, with what intent, with what result, and how (11:14). The following pages contain an analysis of the Reality Assessment advertisement for Shodair Adolescent, a division of Shodair Children's Specialty Hospital (see Appendix A). The analysis takes data gathered from an original questionnaire directed to the Reality Assessment advertisement and interprets those findings using independent advertising research and study. As the analysis will support, advertisers manipulate viusal and verbal elements within advertisements to create a message that will capture the attention of the audience and persuade them to buy the product.