How to Cite an Advertisement from a Website
To cite an advertisement on the Web, major citation styles require you to include both date and company information for the ad, as well as information for the Web page on which it was found. There are slight variations in formatting between each major citation style. If you're unsure of which style to use, check with your professor or your course requirements.
American Psychological Association Style
To cite a Web ad in APA style, you'll need the date on which the advertisement appeared, the company advertising, and the name and URL of the website on which you found the ad. Use this format:
Company. (Year, Month Day of Ad Retrieval). Ad title [Advertisement]. Title of webpage. Name of website. Retrieved from URL
Here's an example:
Toyota. (2015, March 16). The bold new Camry [Advertisement]. Allmusic homepage. Allmusic. Retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com
If the ad does not have a title, then state what the advertisement is for in the brackets:
Toyota. (2015, March 16). [Advertisement for Camry]. Allmusic homepage. Allmusic. Retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com
When referencing or quoting an ad in the body of your text, APA requires an in-text citation with the company name and year of the ad. No month or day are needed:
The slogan "let's go places" appeared in many of the company's ads (Toyota, 2015).
Modern Language Association Style
Website citations in MLA style do not require URLs. However, you need to include a notation that the source is a Web source, and include the date you accessed the website. Information is arranged as follows:
Company Name. Advertisement. Web Page Name. Website Name, Website Update Date. Web. Access Day Month Year.
Here's how the citation would appear in MLA:
Toyota. Advertisement. Allmusic Home. Allmusic, 2015. Web. 15 March 2015.
To cite the same website in the body of your paper, include the company name only. No date is required.
The slogan "let's go places" appeared in many of the company's ads (Toyota).
Chicago Style -- Author/Date
The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition citation format includes two different systems for references and citations. The first of these is the author/date format. Author/date includes a reference list at the end of the paper, and parenthetical in-text citations. To cite a Web ad on your reference list, use the following format:
Company. Advertisement Day Month Year. Advertisement. Name of Website, URL.
Your Chicago reference page citation might look like this:
Toyota. 15 March 2015. Advertisement. Allmusic, http://www.allmusic.com.
Author/date format includes both company name and year, but without a comma separating the two:
The slogan "let's go places" appeared in many of the company's ads (Toyota 2015).
Chicago Style -- Note/Bibliography
Chicago's second system of citation is the note/bibliography style. In this style, references are collected on a bibliography page after the end of the paper, but in-text citations are placed either in footnotes or endnotes. Your bibliography citation will be in the same format as the reference list citation for author/date style, except with the date placed at the end:
Toyota. Advertisement. Allmusic, http://www.allmusic.com, 15 March 2015.
Each time you reference or quote your source in-text, place a footnote or endnote noting the source. The first footnote for a Web advertisement source will include the company, advertisement note, date and website.
- Toyota, Advertisement, 15 March 2015. Allmusic.
Any further notes for this source will only state the company name and that you're citing an ad:
- Toyota Advertisement.
If you cite the same source multiple times in a row, each note after the first uses "Ibid." instead of the source info:
- APA Style: How to Cite Product Info in APA Style
- University of Michigan: Citation Help
- Kent State Quick Reference Guide: MLA Citation Style
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited - Electronic Sources
- Fairfield University: Chicago Notes-Bibliography
- The Chicago Manual of Style Online
- The Chicago Manual of Style: Documentation
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