Examine the packaging of some of your favorite consumer packaged goods (i.e., foods, household products, etc.). Choose a product and include a photo of EITHER its packaging OR a single static ad (no videos). How does the packaging/ad currently use Cialdini’s principles of persuasion? Use at least three principles to suggest some specific improvements to the packaging/ad. Make sure you keep in mind the target audience. Please bold the names of the principles you discuss.
Write-ups have a strict 600-word limit and are penalized for exceeding 600 words (1 point per 50 words, rounded up). Shorter write-ups also tend to do poorly. Aim for 500-600 words. Include the word count and your student ID at the top of the document (e.g., “Word Count: 598”). Do NOT include your name or question prompt. No fluff rule: Your goal is to show your understanding. Please do NOT write an intro, background, or conclusion. Also do NOT define terms and avoid quoting directly from readings or slides. DO make sure to do the readings thoroughly (the optional ones for that topic may help). Knowledge cannot be faked.
There rarely exist right answers to these questions. That’s what makes the prompts interesting, useful, and fun (we hope). Good write-ups will always reflect a solid understanding of the material but more importantly you should be able to apply the concepts to the prompt. This means that you should not provide definitions and examples from the reading, but instead figure out what concepts are relevant and how they apply to this business situation. The following are a few tangible, specific tips based on years of grading write-ups. I offer them to you in roughly decreasing order of how frustrating their violations are to a grader. 1.Don’t regurgitate the reading. You never need to waste space including definitions from the reading. Write as if your audience not only has read the assigned materials but also knows them well. When necessary, cite a concept as briefly as possible. The fact that you’ve done the reading should be revealed to us by your thinking, NOT by some quotation. 2.Start quickly and end abruptly. For these short write-ups, introductions, background, and conclusions are almost entirely unnecessary. Even worse, they take away space that is much better used in other ways. We don’t expect these things to read like English compositions. Nor are we strangers to why you’re writing in the first place. Jump right in. 3.Choose specific over abstract. Precision is good. It’s good for communication, and it’s good for sharpening thinking. When you feel yourself getting fuzzy, think to yourself: I need an example. We love examples. Make it real. 4.Be realistic. There is nothing more irritating than a cute suggestion (for example, of how an organization might mitigate a particular bias) that works theoretically but is utterly infeasible in the real world. Perhaps the best criterion is to ask yourself if you’d be willing to sit in a manager’s office advocating his or her use of your recommendation. 5.Less is more. Believe it or not, a common mistake is to include too many ideas — not because too many ideas itself is bad, but because these ideas, as intriguing, tantalizing, and, yes, right as they might be, are often too poorly developed. Don’t make this mistake! We’re not impressed with laundry lists. It’s much better to write about a few things really well. Oh, and have fun! This is an opportunity to be creative (the risk-reward tradeoff for creativity is very attractive). A student who is thoughtful and having fun when writing these is generally going to do pretty well. And get more out of it. Thanks!
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