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Citing a Commercial in APA Format


You may need to discuss a commercial as part of an academic essay or response when writing about media-based communication, advertising or persuasion. Any time you discuss or use information from someone else's work, including audiovisual media such as a commercial, you must cite the source so others know where the information came from.

Citing a Commercial Based on a Television or Radio Broadcast
Looking up commercials online allows the viewer to watch multiple times

According to the sixth edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) handbook, to cite a commercial watched on the television or heard on the radio, you would include: The writer, director, and/or company, the date the commercial aired (if available—otherwise, the year it was created), the commercial’s title, "Television commercial” or “Radio commercial” (in brackets), the city and state where the commercial was broadcast and the television network or radio station it was broadcast from. The format would be as follows: Writer/Director/or Company Name. (Date or Year). Title of commercial [Television commercial]. City, State: television network or radio station. If citing the commercial using YouTube or another online video site for additional viewings, include the same information listed above, then include “Retrieved from” (no quotation marks) and the URL after the other information.

Citing Media In-Text

Citing media within the text of an essay is similar to citing written documents. The name(s) noted at the start of the References entry (whether, as designated above, it is the author, director, producer, or company) should be used to note authorship in-text. If no authorship is provided, a shortened version of the title should be used instead. This information should be followed by the year (which should also match the References entry). If the year is not available, n.d. should be used instead to indicate “no date.”

About the Author

Jade Lynch-Greenberg is a writer, blogging enthusiast and educator. She teaches multi-modal writing in the university setting and has written for the web since 2002, and created comics since 2006. She write scripts, articles, scholarly documents and technical explanations, and holds a Master of Arts in English from Purdue University.

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