Resources for Advertising 101 Classes

Posted on September 21, 2011


Advertising, as an academic subject, is often categorized as a sub-set within business, marketing, and communication majors. Interested students have to complete classes in these broader topics before they can delve into advertising. In fact, many “Intro to Advertising” classes are taught at the upper division level, after the student already has a working knowledge of the larger subject matter.  Because of this, educational materials about advertising may be difficult to understand for those just beginning to learn about the subject and not enrolled in broad-based business classes.

This post is dedicated to providing educational materials for 101 level advertising beginners who don’t want to sort through technical jargon, advanced concepts, and complex relationships.


A number of introduction to advertising syllabi can be found on the Internet simply by Googling the term.  However, many of them lack supplemental material. These I find particularily interesting because of the added content within the syllabus:

  • Advertising by Professor Spike Fowler of Brookdale Community College in New Jersey. This syllabus contains 35 ideas for advertising projects, a sample press release, a sample creative brief, a 10-step guide to creating effective advertising, and an explanation of consumer behavior. This one is definately worth a look!
  • Intro to Advertising by Professor Larry Litwin of Rowan University in new Jersey. This syllabus is detailed, plus, Professor Litwin includes links to his classroom handouts on his webpage.
  • Advertising by Ms. Marty Watson of the Dawson County School District in Georgia. While this is not a college course, I appreciate that the information presented is broken down into its most basic form.  Even someone with absolutely no knowledge of advertising would be able to  understand the material. A full semester lesson plan calendar is provided, including Powerpoint presentations and interactive chapter reviews with true/false, fill in the blank, and short answer questions.


Many advertising textbooks are available.  ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business utilizes Contemporary Advertising by William Arens, Michael Weigold, and Christian Arens, and Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective by George and Michael Belch.

Other books recommended by a business president and CEO:

  • Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide by John Jantsch. This book is not “101” level, but it has lots of real-world examples to supplement lessons.
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. The title is pretty self explanatory. Change is having a huge impact on advertising. How should we deal with it?
  • Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, who is considered the father of modern advertising. This book is collection of Ogilvy’s concepts, techniques, and strategies for advertising.


This is an example of an easy-to-follow presentation on Advertising Principles from the Department of Mass Communication at Winthrop University in South Carolina. This presentation provides quality information without becoming overly technical for beginners. Plus, it invokes class discussion through “Is This An Ad?,” a game that references different ads displayed in multiple medias, not just print or television. Other presentations and documents are available in areas such as Advertising Plans, Digital Advertising, and Ethics & Social Responsibility.

Do you have any good resources for beginning advertising? Leave me a comment with your suggestions.