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Have you ever purchased a product watching an infomercial? Consumer behavior theory states consumers will allocate income among different goods and services to maximize their well-being. —

When consumers follow this theory, we find what is know as the Consumer Purchase Decision Process, a 5 step process that ultimately leads purchases.

As a media writer, the second step of the process is important: consumer information search. This begs the question, How do writers promote their products to capture audience attention and make sales? The answer is below.


Marketers tend to promote and sell products based on Monroe’s Motivated Sequence (MMS), named after its founder, Alan Monroe, a professor at Purdue University.  MMS follows 5 distinct steps to promote consumer purchasing behavior:

  1. —Attention Step: Get the audience’s attention by placing the problem into a context that they all can empathize with and understand.
  2. —Need Step:  Show that the problem exists, that it is significant, and that it cannot continue. Use statistics, examples, and/or testimonials.
  3. —Satisfaction Step: Show that this need can be satisfied. Provide specific solutions for the problem, solutions that can be realized from your product.
  4. —Visualization Step: Tell the audience what will happen if the solution is implemented and is not implemented. Be descriptive and detailed with your writing.
  5. —Action Step: Tell the audience what action they can personally undertake to resolve the problem, such as purchasing your product. This step is your call to action.

Lab Assignment, Tuesday, Week 12:

Consider the following scenario, then write a 30-second ad spot that could air on either radio or television. Your advertisement must be at least 28 seconds and no more than 30 seconds to read.

Scenario: The car sharing business has grown in popularity throughout the world in densely populated major city centers. Over the past few years, U Drive Transport company has dominated the United States marketplace as a premier car sharing business, but the company has struggled to grow in suburban areas such as Rockland County. You have recently accepted a job as an account executive with U Drive Transport, which means you need  to create a 30-second ad spot that could air on either radio or television. Your goal with the spot: to help the company expand into the Rockland County, NY market.

Your objective: Follow the MMS steps above to create your advertisement. To help you get started, here is what you should do for the attention step.

  • Begin by researching “car sharing” and “taxis” and “public transportation” on the Internet to see what the current alternatives are for your customers. You should find what is undesirable about these competitors.
  • You should also research the layout of Rockland County. What locations do people wish to travel? What current transportation is available to get people to these locations? What is the current problem with getting to these locations?

Once you have conducted this step, then continue on to the remaining MMS steps to create your 30 second spot.


  • Show your work! All of the research you conduct should be shown on your site. The same way I create notes on a page for you before issuing an assignment on any given week, you should create your research notes on a page before composing your final advertisement.
  • Begin a new page for this assignment and place it on your menu under the lab work section; label the page “11.12 MMS.”
  • Your final advertisement should take between 28 – 30 seconds to read: no more, no less. Write the advertisement following the same copy sequence used when we wrote radio and TV ads earlier this semester.

Lab Assignment, Thursday, Week 12:

Advertisements saturate our daily lives and how we absorb each advertisement’s messages through visual rhetoric is crucial for media writers. The advertisement might be a magazine cover (enticing us to purchase a magazine) or it might be an advertisement within a magazine (enticing us to purchase a product).

So now that you have completed your 30 second spot, I want you to think about and write on cultural influences and what makes you associate particular images and messages with specific groups using periodical advertisements – magazines, newspapers, etc.

This exercise challenges you to step outside your comfort zone and engage in texts you might normally overlook in the store when purchasing a magazine that suits your interests.

    • Create a new page, title it “11.14: Visual Ad Analysis,” and add it to your “Lab Work” drop down menu.
    • Drawing from a variety of periodicals that cater to diverse audiences (i.e. Essence, Vogue, Maxim, GQ, Cosmo), identify three magazine covers or three advertisements, post the cover/ad on your page, and write a bit about the ad as a visual text beneath the cover/ad.
    • Pay close attention to the construction of the ad and what you feel these characteristics suggest about the culture being displayed in the advertisement. You should analyze as many items on the list below as possible.
    • color
    • models
    • location
    • words
    • fonts