Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

Rick Moore, Ph.D.


This paper looked at presidential television advertising in the 2012 U.S. election. The author has undertaken a deep analysis of the way audio and visual elements are used to construct meanings in televised political ads. Meaning is suggested through the visual and aural means of expression available to ad creators.

The organizing principle of this study is information manipulation for the purposes of influencing our perception of candidates and issues. This manipulation was revealed by examining the most prominent visual and aural dimensions within specific ads. The paper identified recurring aural and visual patterns in all the ads and then looked at how meaning is conveyed when the aural and visual dimensions are combined. Framing, priming, and schema theories were used to analyze the ads. After setting forth the theoretical presumptions, this paper connected those theories to specific ads to identify precisely how meanings are constructed. Finally, the larger implication of TV ads on democratic society was also addressed.