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Advertising: Persuasive Principles

1. Introduction

MKTG3121 Advertising: Persuasive Principles is a 3000-level elective unit in the Marketing major. Students explore the creative material that is developed to contact, inform, educate and influence consumer behaviour and subsequent decisions. The psychological principles behind advertising are dissected, and advertising techniques are discussed thoroughly. The unit draws heavily on real-world advertising ideas and allows students to think both creatively and analytically.


Prerequisites: MKTG1001 Marketing Principles

2. Difficulty

Difficulty: Medium


This unit is content heavy, and hence requires a lot of revision of the theory that is learnt in lectures and tutorials. However, the concepts are linear and straightforward, with the application of real-life examples putting theory into context and aiding students’ understanding. Assessments for this unit are not too difficult - the mid-sem exam consists of multiple choice questions, the assignment is quite straightforward and manageable as long as students have strong written skills, and there is no final exam.

3. Workload

The workload for this unit is relatively heavy. There is pre-work (about 30 minutes of work) that students must complete each week, contributing to their participation mark. A good understanding of unit content is necessary to ensure students can answer all questions in the mid-sem exam under time pressure. This will also benefit their analysis of advertisements in the assignment. It is recommended that students do at least 1 hour of study/notes consolidation a week (more if mid-sem exam is not open book). To stand out in the assignment, students should not only understand, but APPLY concepts creatively. Work on the assignment should be done throughout the semester rather than leaving it to the end, to allow lecture content to be fresh in students’ minds.

4. Textbooks/Readings

van Laer, T., de Ruyter, K., Visconti, L. M., & Wetzels, M. (2014). The Extended Transportation-Imagery Model: A meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of consumers’ narrative transportation. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(5), 797-817.

van Laer, T., Escalas, J. E., Ludwig, S., & van den Hende, E. A. (2019). What happens in Vegas stays on TripAdvisor? A theory and technique to understand narrativity in consumer reviews. Journal of Consumer Research, 46(2), 267-285.

van der Pligt, J. & Vliek, M. (2017). The psychology of influence: Theory, research and practice. Abingdon: Routledge.

All prescribed readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

5. Assessment Breakdown
MKTG3121 Assessment Pie Graph_edited.png
  • In-Class Participation (13%): Based on active participation in tutorials. Assessed on the following criteria: achievement motivation (3%), social competence (4%), intercultural awareness (3%), and flexibility and creativity (3%).

  • Business Research Component (2%): Either participation in a research study OR submission of a research paper review.

  • Mid-Semester Exam (42%): A closed-book multiple-choice exam testing what students have learnt thus far. 

  • Advertising Portfolio (43%): Split into two parts, the first being the recording of a 45-minute walk through Sydney (2%), and the second being the building of a portfolio of 7 advertisements upon reviewing the video (41%). Questions will be answered about each of the advertisements.


Please note that assessments may vary across semesters. This information was sourced from the Unit of Study Outline for Semester 1 of 2021, and may be out of date. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the Unit of Study Outline for the semester and year relevant to your studies.​

6. Unit Highlights
  • Getting to learn the conceptual breakdown of the theory and thinking behind advertising, and immediately seeing how this can be applied in real-life examples. This really helps understand the consumer attitude/behaviour drivers that motivate advertising.

  • An enjoyable course structure as each week focuses on a different advertising technique - e.g. storytelling, emotions, social heuristics - which are not explored in other units.

  • The allowance for creativity - this subject will suit students who are more creative and less inclined to quantitative analysis.

  • The final assignment (analysis of 7 different advertisements) can be used in students’ portfolios during job interviews.

7. Skills Learnt
  • Advertising techniques and theory

  • Advertising analysis

  • Theory application

  • Understanding of consumer behaviour

  • Essay writing

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