Your research this semester will roughly fall within two categories: (1) the particular commodity you’ve chosen to work with, and (2) the marketing genres in which commodities are conventionally represented.


The first phase of research is focused on language. You will find 10 different texts about your commodity. These should be texts that expresses that extra, mysterious, spiritual, enigmatical quality of the commodity. These texts could be found in advertising and marketing literature, but also in fiction and imaginative literature more generally. (You could also experiment with writing (or “generating”) these texts yourself, or getting someone else to do it.) One text could be a simple as a product byline or as expansive as an entire novel.

In the second phase of your commodity research, you will assemble a set of images of your commodity. These images, along with the texts you’ve found and are finding, will comprise the content and material with which you’ll work with in various upcoming projects.

Look for both contemporary and archival images. These images might be part of marketing materials you find, or you might find them in other places. They should somehow express the magical enigma of the your specific commodity form. For archival images, you might consider forgotten or currently obsolete antecedents in the commodity’s genealogy. See what you can find. Tell us where you’re looking.

Aim at first to assemble around 10–20 images. At a later point you will consider how to reproduce them.


Present to the class a specific genre of marketing or sales literature. Tell us about what sort of content and what sort of forms your genre includes. Tell the history of the genre. Some possible examples: brochures, trifolds, sell sheets, mail order catalogs, specification sheets, radio jingles, assembly manuals, google ad, classified ad, etc.

Your presentation should be 10 minutes long and include as many visual examples as you can find.