How to Cite a Commercial in MLA Style

When writing a research paper in the liberal arts or humanities, authors typically use Modern Language Association formatting to cite their information. Writers often use journal articles, books, magazines and newspapers as sources. But sometimes an author might want to use a less traditional kind of reference, such as an interview, TV show or even a commercial.

Citing a commercial using MLA formatting isn’t difficult. It just requires two simple parts.

Reference Page

A references page tells your audience where it can find the commercial sources you've used in your paper. Place the references page at the end of your paper.

To cite a source on the references page, list the name of the product and the company or institution followed by period. Then list "Advertisement" without the quote marks, the channel, the day, month and year you access the commercial, a period and the format.

For example:

Richard’s Switches, Richard’s Fine Electronic Products. Advertisement. NBC. 03 Feb. 2009. Television.

In-Text Citation

In-text citations are used in the body of your paper to help guide the reader to the references page at the end where he can find the full information for the source you’ve used. To create an in-text citation use a parentheses followed by the name of the product. Then insert a comma and list the company or institution and a closing parentheses.

For example:

According to the commercial, switches are usually necessary to turn on lights (Richard’s Switches, Richard's Fine Electronic Products).

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