Read the following stimulus text, guiding question and the student's response. Apply the P1 assessment criteria and discuss the marks that you would award the script before reading the examiner's marks and comments. How different were your marks and comments from the examiner's marks and comments? What improvements could be made to this student's response, in order to achieve better results?
Guiding question: How does this advertisement use written and visual language to ‘speak’ to its reader?
In this textual analysis we will analyse the advert from Metrecal called “You know why she’s wearing the sweatshirt, don’t you.” The advert is also known as “Text 2”. This advert was placed in a newspaper during the 1970’s. The purpose of the text is to convince the reader of buying their product, the author does this by stating a ‘problem’ and coming up with a solution, the product from Metrecal.
To start off, we will talk about the very outstanding formatting used within this advert. When you look at the text, there are two things that stand out the most. Firstly, the colourful picture in the middle of the text is surrounded by two columns of text to make it stand out even more. In this picture you can see three girls on the beach. Two of them with slim bodies and bikinis, the other one is wearing a sweatshirt. The sweatshirt is most likely meant to cover up the belly fat from the girl. This assumption is enforced when you look at the legs of the girl while comparing them to the legs of the other two girls. This directly links to the title of the advert. It says: “You know why she’s wearing the sweatshirt, don’t you.” By using such a title, the author tries to strengthen the assumptions you have made by using the phrase “don’t you.” They used this presumptuous title to convince you to read the rest of the text. Also, some other things you notice when reading the rest of the text are the headings in bold. Take for instance: “Face it, you’ve got to stop eating.” The author has used these headings in order to emphasise the importance of the words. All of this helps the author with convincing the audience of this text to buy the Shape product from Metrecal. Secondly, we have to analyse the syntax that is used in the Shape advertisement. What is made very clear when reading the text is, that if you’re fat, you have to stop eating. You even get that idea when this advert is not meant for you. The author does this by a lot of two- and three-word sentences, most of them in imperative language. Such as “You knew that”, “Try it” and “Stop eating.” The effect of these short sentences with imperative language is that you get the idea that the author knows what he or she is talking about. Also, the imperative language suggests you have no other choice than to buy the product, which supposedly helps with losing weight. These things combined help a lot with the purpose of the text and convinces the audience to buy the diet-product.
Lastly, we have no other choice than to talk about the clever way the author has made a problem-solution advertisement. At first glance, you see the ‘fat’ girl with a sweatshirt next to the skinny girls, who are not ashamed of their body. The problem the author introduces is the little overweight of the fat girl. The first few paragraphs of the text are about this problem, all the way up to “Not any more. Shape. It’s new from Metrecal.” There the author starts with the solution for the overweight problem of the girl in the picture. This goes on for the rest of the advert. In addition to the solution in the text, the author has added a picture of the product that is supposed to fix all of the issues. By doing this he adds strength to the products mentioned in the text. The overweight girl is meant to represent potential customers, and by proposing a solution to her problem the author is trying to convince the reader of using the same solution to their little problem. Therefore, this too contributes to achieving the ultimate purpose of the complete advertisement, namely: selling more of the Shape products made by Metrecal during the 1970’s.
Concluding, the entire advert was made to convince the audience of the text to buy the product that is mentioned in Text 2. The author had done this through various ways, such as the format, syntax and pictures.
Criterion A: Knowledge, understanding and interpretation – 2 out of 5
The analysis only explores a few ways in which the advertisement speaks to its reader. ‘The reader’ however is not really defined or explored until the final body paragraph, where the analysis states that “the overweight girl is meant to represent potential customers.” Even then, this relationship between advertiser and overweight customer is not explored in depth. The target reader’s response is not explored, and there are only a few examples from the text.
Criterion B: Analysis and evaluation – 3 out of 5
The analysis touches on some key features of the text, but it comes up short in its exploration of how meaning is constructed. For example, a sentence such as “The author has used these headings in order to emphasise the importance of the words” does not show in depth analysis.
Criterion C: Coherence, focus and organization - 3 out of 5
The analysis shows coherence. The student uses sigh posts, such as ‘secondly’ and ‘lastly’, which guide the reader and make the points of the analysis clear. The focus of the analysis is fairly consistent.
Criterion D: Language - 2 out of 5
The student’s use of language is not always appropriate or consistent. There are frequent slips in register, using words such as ‘we’, ‘things’ and ‘a lot’. The analysis even sounds chatty at points, such as “we have no other choice than to talk about...”