MKTG 7326
Advertising & Promotion Strategy

Course prerequisite: Mktg 3310 or equivalent
Herbert Jack Rotfeld
Auburn University Alumni Professor
Department of Marketing
246 Lowder Hall

Required purchase: Advertising and Promotion, 9th Ed., by Belch and Belch, 2012. ISBN 9780073404868
Other required reading materials: (1) email lecture supplements; (2) articles distributed via email; (3) articles linked to syllabus
Canvas is not used for this course

Web site of related content interest: Advertising Age online, the best trade newspaper on the business (; John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History (; Advertising Education Foundation (; Advertising critic Bob Garfield's commentaries (

Course objective provides students an opportunity to gain an understanding of advertising and other mass communications marketing practices:If
        you want credit without learning, this is not a course for you common business activities and terminology, perspectives applied when taking the optimal approach to decisions, plus descriptions and rationales of common practices, especially since the most common practices are often far from what would be optimal. 

The greatest difficulty for students in this class is shifting perceptual focus. You can no longer think as if you are part of the audience as you do when you watch television commercials or read magazines, but instead, as if you are the creators of communications strategies. And you must put aside your personal tastes. Since not all audience members (if any) are people like you, advertising strategy and tactics must be assessed in terms of what a target audience might perceive, not in terms of what appeals to you. This is being realistic: in business, people preparing advertising, publicity and sales promotion strategy and tactics are seldom members of the target audience and strategy desirability must be judged in terms of what a target audience might like, dislike or understand. And this also means we will be covering some topic areas and using examples that you might find offensive, such as sexual appeals, or media vehicles whose audiences are people whose lifestyles or values are not the same as yours.

As indicated by the course title, the focus of this course is on decision making for mass communications strategy. This means the focus is on campaigns, not the construction of a single advertisement, press release or web page. Class materials might sometimes use as single ad as an example of strategy, but the concern is the larger campaign that the example is used to represent.

Final Grades for the course will be determined by a combination from the following factors: essays on each lecture & related readings; preliminary research report; term paper; and a comprehensive final exam.

As video outreach students, you should read the textbook chapters before reading the other articles of the assignment or relevant email on the topic, and complete all readings before watching the recorded program. While the recordings do not duplicate the readings, the class meetings were conducted with a presumption that the readings were studied before the class. The undergraduate classes had quizzes covering the reading assignment that counted for 40 percent of their grades, and the quizzes were followed by the lecture/discussion that presumed the readings were completed.

The Prime Direction for all test questions and homework assignments: Business practices are determined by decision makers who are presumed to not be dishonest, bigoted, lazy or dumb. This also requires recognition that decisions are made by people working in organizations, not anthropomorphic businesses or government agencies, and that consumers are not mindless gullible fools.

When Writing the Assigned Essays you are to provide commentary notes on the subjects, adhering to the prime direction above and in the process of that discussion, addressing one or all of the discussion questions linked to the syllabus. Writing an acceptable essay requires completing the required reading assignments listed for each topic area, reading all of the lecture supplement email information and viewing all of the taped lectures on the topic. The resulting essays should be intelligent, thought-provoking comments or questions on the articles and their related discussions. These should be about 800-1000 words each and serve as a substitute for "discussion." You must have satisfactory work on all of them to receive a grade in the class and the overall quality of the work on the essays will be taken into account for grade calculations.

Because you are addressing discussion questions raised in class, the temptation is to treat each discussion question as if it is a take home test, stating a answer as narrowly as possible. That approach is unacceptable. If all you do are writing is an answer to the questions, you are avoiding the assignment, which expects you to think about the items that were used for discussion in the class. Since some answers to the questions are given in class, it could be possible to write two sentence answers to each without even looking at the reading assignments, which, as assignments go, would make this requirement ridiculous busy work if that was all that was expected.  It is possible that some students might not be familiar with the concept of writing an intelligent essay: a multi-paragraph discussion that contains and opening premise, an exposition and conclusions, a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse." As you watch the videos, you will observe that the on-campus students, which I are undergraduates, rarely ask questions that go beyond the narrow focus of what I ask them in class. However, I expect more from graduate students who are supposed to be capable of more that recall and regurgitate. It is asking for a discussion that in the process of which addresses one or all of the discussion questions.

An important note on essay format
: In one of the videos, I made a mistake mentioning "attachments" for the essays. For the essays, do not send attachments in Word, or any other program. You can write it in Word or some other writing program so you might have a clearer idea of your length and structure. But what you send to me should be in the body of the email, pasting from your writing program into the email message. The subject line should say "MKTG 7326: topic [ # ] essay" with the message itself containing a 700-1000 word discussion.  The reason for having it as a direct email is that I hope you will send me something provocative enough for me to write a comment back, to answer a question raised or to correct something you might seem to misunderstand. Or, for high praise, it could be something worth sharing with the rest of the class, or even something to open additional discussion. If it is in email, this becomes easier.

The term paper assignment provides an opportunity for you to apply the course materials to a client business in which you will assess its advertising, publicity and sales promotion needs in terms of potential audience reactions. You will make recommendations for a target audience, communications goals, and the strategies to attain those goals and grades will be based on the rationales you provide as to why those recommended directions should be followed. The term paper will be your application of the course materials so the guidelines for doing each part of the paper will be developed as we work on various areas of class materials. As we go over each section of communications decisions in class, you should be working on that section of the paper.

In other words, the project is a direct application of class materials.

The preliminary report is to force everyone to start working right away. It will cover your preliminary assessments of target marketing and potential audience perspectives. It will be a short preliminary statement (4-5 pages) that will then be revised and improved in the final report. This is to get you going from the start and to give me a basis for feedback so we are all working on track.

The requirement for primary research is for you to conduct depth interviews with 20 non-students who are present or potential customers for the product. This is NOT a requirement for you to conduct a survey, but for you to have systematic, organized and directed discussions with people about how or why they might make a purchase. 

With this link, you have the required outline (and subheads) for the final paper. For the most part, write the report as if it is being written for senior management.  The maximum length of the text of the final paper is a total of ten double-spaced pages (reference lists and appendices are not part of the ten pages). Be complete but concise. In addition, you should be concerned with how well the paper reads. When in doubt, quote opinions directly and cite factual information from secondary sources properly. You must give the reference citations for all assertions originating from somewhere other than the confines of your cranium. You also need to be wary of yours sources. The internet, while a wealth of opinions and statements, is not an authoritative resource since anyone can freely distribute all sorts of garbage without any oversight, review or analysis. Opinions, rumors and conspiracy theories abound. Newspapers and news magazines give current information, but they, too, have their limitations. Research reports in academic journals present all materials for scientific peer reviews, but even then, since the topics are controversial, interpretations can vary from the same data. Your analysis must not make the mistake of over generalizing from questionable resources and you must be able to distinguish facts from opinions in assessing the issue. Remember, an opinion does not become a fact simply because you can cite someone who says it!! For example, if you come across a prediction that "the GNP will grow at an average rate of 5% per year for the the next three years," you must still cite the source. And even with the citation, it is still just someone's opinion.

The preferred method for citation is to include the name of the author, date and page in parentheses in the text and the complete reference in a "References" section at the end of the paper (that will not count as part of total pages). For example: "One recent study contends that all new net job creation came from firms with less that $5 million in sales (Jones, 1986, p. 17)." Then in the References section the complete bibliographic citation will be listed (in alphabetical order.)  However, reference citations should be rare since main research concern is the assessment of the audience and the potential purchasers which would not come from secondary sources.

Term papers should be sent as an email attachment and written in a program that can be read by either Adobe Acrobat, Word or Wordperfect. If in Word, it must be saved in the Word 2003 format (a .doc file, not .docx), or saved as rich text.

Reading Assignments are organized by topic numbers to follow the discussion questions and twelve essay assignment, and the recorded videos also use these numbers to indicate associated lectures. The actual pace the topics depended to a certain extant on the amount of student discussion, questions raised and visits by guest speakers. The required and optional readings in addition to the textbook are either sent to students via email attachments of easily accessed by the links below.

Note: After topic 3 is completed, you will have enough information from the course to do the work required for the preliminary report on the project. However, it does not mean that you must turn it in before turning in essay assignments for topics 4, 5 or 6. After you complete topic 3 - viewed the read the assignments, studied the lecture supplements and viewed the videos - you should be working on the project concurrently with the other topics. The project is an application of the materials. After Topic 10, you will have covered enough materials to complete the project itself. 

1) Definitions, history & nature of business organizations
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 1, 2 & 3
    → Rotzoll, "The Coming of the Ads" [handout]
    → Who Do You Hire When the Advertising Audience Isn't You?
    → Creative Women in Advertising Agencies: Why So Few 'Babes in Boyland'? [handout]
    → optional:  'Mine is the Blue One on the Left': Function and Dysfunction of Pharmaceutical Brand Names
2) Basic Theories
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 4, 5 & 6
    → 'The Stealth Influence of Covert Marketing
    → Brand Image of Company Names Matters in Ways That Can't Be Ignored
    → optional: Fooled by Your Own Brain
3) Communication Goals/Objectives
    → Belch & Belch, pp. 215-238 (first half of chapter 7)
-- Preliminary research report can be turned in --
4) Budget Setting
    → Belch & Belch, p. 238-253 (rest of ch 7)
5) Creative Strategy & Tactics
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 8 & 9
    → How I Met the Late Howard Gossage
    → Imitation as the Sincerest Form of Ignorance
    → optional: Advertising Only a Copywriter Could Love
6) Media Management: Strategy
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 10
    → Is There a Strategy Behind Buying Advertising time and Space?
7) Media Selection: Broadcast ("Electronic")
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 11
    → "Understanding Advertising Clutter
8) Media Selection: Print
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 12
9) Media Selection: Supplemental Media
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 13, 14 & 15
    →Wham! Spam! And Direct Misplaced Marketing
    →Movie Theaters' Suicide-by-Advertising With Income from Abusing Customers
10) Sales Promotion & Publicity (not PR)
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 16 & p. 572-3 ("definition of PR"
) & p. 584-9
-- Term Paper Due Between Now & End of Term --
11) Research testing of effectiveness
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 18
    → Weilbacher, "Enigma of Copy Testing"
    → A Snapshot or a Painting? Metaphors, Myths, Misuses and Misunderstandings of Marketing Research Information by Journalists...
12) Regulation & self-regulation
    → Belch & Belch, ch. 20
    →Desires Versus the Reality of Self-Regulation
    →A Pessimist's Simplistic Historical Perspective on the Fourth Wave of Consumer Protection
    → recommended, if you have time and feel like it: Libraries, Learning and Dirty Sandals