14 The Op-Ed Writing Sample

the word opinion on a piece of paper in a typewriter

Steps to Analyze an Op-Ed

One way to develop your writing skills is to analyze a piece of writing similar to what you are trying to create. This “sample” is meant for scaffolding purposes (as discussed on the previous page) and has been designed to help students identify the key components to an op-ed and to analyze their effectiveness.

These steps can all be used for any of the op-eds featured in this open textbook.

Step 1: Read the op-ed

  • Read the article below. At this stage, focus on the overall structure of the article.

Step 2:  Analyze the purpose of an op-ed

  1. What is the purpose of op-ed articles?
  2. What does the author want the audience to know, feel, or do after reading this op-ed?
  3. How does the structure of the op-ed help the author achieve this aim?

Step 3: Analyze the thesis statement

  1. Underline the thesis statement in this op-ed.
  2. Why is this thesis statement effective?

Step 4: Analyze the op-ed argument

  1. What is the purpose of the middle paragraphs of the op-ed?
  2. How does the author persuasively integrate course concepts into the op-ed?
  3. What supporting evidence is used?
  4. How does the evidence strengthen the author’s argument?

Step 5: Analyze the reflection

  1. Why is the reflection paragraph included in the op-ed?
  2. How does the author integrate a personal point of view, while maintaining a formal style of writing?

Step 6: Analyze the headline

  1. How does the headline draw the reader into the article?
  2. What are the characteristics of an effective headline?

Observational Behaviour in Advertising: Success for Coke Means Starting Them Young! By Andrea Niosi

Observational Learning, a cognitive learning theory often identified as “modeling”, provides greater understanding behind the unrivaled success of soft drink giant Coca Cola. Modeling explains how young consumers learn to develop an attitude and preference for a brand at a young age (Solomon, White & Dahl, 2017). Just as the name suggests, young consumers “model” their behaviour after their peers – such as teenagers, adults, influencers, andcelebrities.

In “The Cola Conquest”, a film by Irene Angelico (1998), the story of how Coca Cola developed into the global brand, important emphasis is given to how the company developed a strong and loyal following among American consumers of all ages. In the mid-1900’s, when activists argued that the soft drink’s lack of nutritious qualities and high caffeine content made it an inappropriate drink for children, Coca Cola agreed to stop directly advertising to children (Angelico, 1998).

In accordance with this agreement, Coca Cola removed images of children (under the age of 12) from its advertisements and imagery; however, the soft drink giant continued to — effectively and successfully — position the drink in a way that continued to have strong appeal to children.

Using youthful models in their early teens, playfully and gleefully engaging in the exact kinds of activities all children at the time might have enjoyed (fishing on ponds, swinging on swings, playing in fields), all with a bottle of Coke in their hands of course, Coca Cola modeled how their drink was most enjoyed when consumed. For any young consumer the message was clear: happiness and Coke go hand-in-hand.

When used as a marketing tool in advertising, observational learning can be very successful: online influencers and celebrities endorsing fashion, technology, jewellery, and skin care products, all have a strong impact on young consumers who haven’t yet formed attitudes, opinions, or preferences around some products and brands. This learning style not only exposes youth to products and brands, it also endears them to the ones being promoted or endorsed by these social models.

As a parent, I have experience with this all the time: I see how observational learning and modeling influence my children when they make specific requests for fashion and technology items! I would rather see my children critically evaluate a brand’s message and product on its own, than be seduced by its image and who is endorsing it. And even though Coke and other soft drink brands are not permitted to advertise to children by using children in their media, they continue to target youth by using models who carry a great deal of influence over the next generation of consumers.

By Andrea Niosi

Media Attribution

  • Image of paper in an old fashion typewriter with the word “opinion” on it by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.


Angelico, I.L. (Director). (1998). The Cola Conquest [Film]. DLI Productions.

Solomon, M., White, K. & Dahl, D.W. (2017). Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, Being Seventh Canadian Edition. Pearson Education Inc.


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