When I taught at Borough of Manhattan Community College, I came up with what I still think was a good first essay assignment, having the students analyze an advertisement. This involved answering basic questions about what the ad was trying to sell and how, and the reading I assigned was a short piece by Andy Rooney.
Rooney's thesis was that, while he was an all-American consumer, he wanted some spaces where he was safe from being advertised at. He said that if humans were wild game, there would be an off-season.
The bars on some of the MTA turnstyles now have ads. I'm feeling hunted.