creative strategy in advertising



Newspaper ad

This is your first assignment. It must be rendered in black & white, and must conform to column/inch specifications. For our class, a column is 12 picas, and a gutter is one pica. Your ad can be any size you wish, up to broadsheet size, just so your width is in columns, and your depth is in increments of half an inch. This should be an informational ad, including availability information.


Magazine (color) ad

Must be in color, and must be 7.5 x 10 inches, 8.5 x 11 inches, or an internet standard size measured in pixels. Internet standards change, so you should look up what your size needs to be for the site or sites where you plan to advertise. This ad should be an ad that's pleasant to look at and should reinforce the logo, key selling attribute or user benefit for your product. You may want to use one of the ad designs we discussed in class. Consider this a brand reinforcement ad.



You must write two radio spots of :30 each. Use the form you will find here.



You will turn in one TV storyboard. Video will go on a TV storyboard, and audio will go on a audio form.



Your promo, premium or packaging must be fully produced, which may require a trip to the crafts store or the thrift store.



Your final project

You will turn in several projects during the semester. Each of these will be graded on its own merits. However, your final project must cohere; that is, it must hang together, each segment part of a cohesive whole. Your TV ad must remind me of your print; your radio must reinforce your billboard. Part of your grade will be based on this cohesion. Please note that it is possible to get an A on each of your ad designs and still get a B or C on the final project. This is due, in large part, to the cohesion principle, and to the fact that, during your campaign meeting prior to the due date, you will know what changes are needed. You will turn in both a printed portfolio and a digital portfolio. The printed portfolio is what you present to a potential client or employer, and it must be smashing. Creativity counts here. Attention to detail and flawless execution will be paramount. Please use a pocket folder, and place your best-looking piece on the right, the second-best-looking piece on the left, and all other items in a way that makes sense to you. Put your logo on the front of the folder.

Your digital portfolio is what goes to the production house, and it must be flawless and precise. Organization, comprehensiveness, and attention to file management will determine the success of this part of the final project. Print materials must include all embedded photos as well as illustrator and/or photoshop work files. You will also create PDFs of these ads along with logos, labels or anything else created digitally.

Final project grading will be determined in roughly equal parts by:

  • appropriateness of target market for your product, relevance of message to that target, and your campaign's effectiveness at reaching that target;
  • campaign cohesiveness, execution and presentation;
  • technical comprehensiveness, including disk files and print quality.

A few days before the end of semester, you will turn in your printed portfolio in draft form. These will be critiqued but not graded. I will work with an outside reader and return the folios to you as quickly as possible. This is your opportunity to make last-minute changes in your final project. Portfolio drafts will not be accepted after the due date for drafts.

Your final project is due the last day of class, and must include the following: newspaper ad, magazine ad, TV storyboard, radio scripts, your promotional item, and a photo and explanation of your promo. You must also include a printout of your copy platform (formatted as 6-up handouts). You can keep your promo item if you like, as long as I have the photo as specified above. Nothing will be returned. If you want a copy for your own use, please produce an extra. You must also turn in all project computer files on CD or flash drive. Because final projects are due at the last possible moment, there will be a fifty percent final project grade reduction on all finals turned in after the last class.

You will do an in-class presentation of your campaign near the end of semester. You may be asked to explain how and/or why you did what you did. Be sure to include your print ads in your powerpoint presentation. Put your logo on your first and last slides, and include it as a bug on each presentation slide. Do not include any forms in your presentation. Instead, transcribe your radio and insert your television in a way you see fit. You will read aloud your radio, and act out your TV. So you might be well-served to rehearse prior to presentation day.

Update 12/19/2015:

Some notes fresh from recent presentations:

Have you targeted an appropriate target? Are you reaching your target audience? Are you saying appropriate things to that audience. To answer these questions, you should know the target audience of your advertising vehicles. For example, a high-status product might not sell well in Star Shopper, while a low-cost item might not sell well in Citiscapes. You would know why if you read the media kit from those publications.

Please run your presentation from your CD or flash. DO NOT email it to yourself and then download it to the presentation computer. This takes up time and looks unprofessional. Don't tell me that you want to run it from your computer because it won't run on anything else. If that's the case, your files are incomplete and that's the problem you should fix. A useful tip: try running your presentation from another computer before presentation day. There are many opportunities for you to do this. Please don't read your presentation to me. Please don't turn your back on the audience. Please be prepared for questions.

What needs to be on the CD or flash?
Pretty much everything. I should be able to produce your entire campaign from what's on your drive. Make five folders. Name them color ad, bw ad, radio, tv, promo. The radio and tv folders should contain your scripts and story boards. The promo folder should contain any computer files used to make your promo. The color ad and bw ad folders should contain all files for printing and editing your print work. Specifically, they should include your Illustrator or InDesign files and PDF outputs for each. Illustrator files must have all graphics embedded, and all type outlined. InDesign files must be fully packaged, with font and links folders intact. If you don't know what that means, ask. Don't skimp here. This is a third of your final grade.


Language, diction and matters of style

We will adhere to the grammar rules of common usage. That is, your copy should not conform to rules of AP style, nor to MLA or APA formats. For this class, you should write the way literate people talk.


Please turn in neat, professionally executed work.

Deductions will be made for spelling and grammar errors, and for general sloppiness.


Policy on academic ethics:

You and/or your partner(s) must complete your own project(s) and/or assignments. You may not use an outside artist, copywriter, etc., to complete any project and/or assignment. You may not use creative ideas from another source or person, including but not limited to another student's idea, or any published ideas. Obviously, you will be influenced by the advertising you see around you. But if I can see an assignment and say, "This looks like the 1967 VW Beetle campaign," we have a problem with academic ethics. Good luck, and be fabulous!