Advertising Influence—Thinking and Writing about Cultural Influences Purpose: This exercise encourages students to think about and write on their cultural influences and what makes them associate particular images and messages with specific groups using periodical advertisements – magazines, newspapers, etc. It is particularly useful for a strand dealing with cultural observations through media. Description: Drawing from a variety of periodicals that cater to diverse audiences (i.e.Essence, Vogue, Maxim, GQ, Cosmo) students should discuss the ad as a visual text. Suggested Time: This exercise could serve as an entire class period activity. Procedure: Students can either bring their own ads and magazine to swap with another student or the instructor can do some research on their own and create a PowerPoint presentation for the students to review and discuss. Instructors should be prepared with questions about the ad as a visual mode of communication. Ask students to pay close attention to the construction of the ad (use of color, models, location, word font) and what they feel these characteristics suggest about the group being displayed. Encourage conversation about the impact of ads on our understanding of ourselves and communities that may not be as familiar to us. As students write, remind them to think about the expected outcome of the ad (what’s the message?) and how it is relayed to its audience. Additional Information: This exercise is a great tool to open discussion about the role ads play in our daily lives and how we absorb their messages through visual rhetoric. It also challenges students to step outside their comfort zone and engage in texts they might normally overlook in the store when choosing or subscribing to a magazine that suits their interests.