Link to Ontario Language, Media Literacy Curriculum:
- Purpose and Audience
1.1 explain how various media texts address their intended purpose and audience
- Making Inferences/Interpreting Messages
1.2 interpret increasingly complex or difficult media texts, using overt and implied messages as evidence for their interpretations.
- Audience Responses
1.4 explain why different audiences might have different responses (e.g., with respect to gender, age, nationality, ability/disability income level.)
Brief Overview of the Lesson:
This lesson will have the students examine strategies that advertising uses in an attempt to create a desire for a product. The students will be asked to select ads and explain what strategy they use to create appeal and how effective they are in accomplishing their aim.
Estimated Time Required for Implementation:
One class period
- An ad that you will use to show students how it appeals to consumers by suggesting that it meets a need other than simply what is in the ad. (See examples below)
- Copies of magazines that students can use to cut out various ads.
Suggested Implementation Strategy:
- Begin the lesson by asking the students to identify the “hot items” that they and their friends want to buy or own.
- Compile a list of their suggestions and ask them why these items are in such demand.
- Ask them how they heard about these items and why they are so popular.
- Ask them if they have seen an ad that promotes one of these products and ask them what is in the ad.
- Ask them if they think the ad or promotion is the reason why the demand for this item is so great or if there is some other reason. Have them explain their reason.
- Explain to them that ads try to sell a product by appealing to a need that you have or creating a new need for you.
- Explain that they do this in a number of different ways – through fear, logic, need, etc., but their objective is all the same – to get you to spend your money on their product.
- At this point divide the class into groups of 5 or 6 students and assign them the following tasks:
1. Using the print materials provided for this lesson, find and cut out an ad which you consider to be effective in selling the product, by appealing to something different than the product itself.
2. Explain why the ad is effective in doing this and how it would make someone want to buy the product.
- Allow the students time to complete this task and then have the groups present their ad and explanation to the class.
- Complete the lesson by asking the students how they would ensure that they are not being manipulated by some other motive when purchasing an item.
Options for Consideration:
- The students could develop their own ad to promote a product.
Possible Links to the Home Program:
- Age 11–13 Lesson 1—Outing—Conversation—Shopping
Extended Learning Opportunities:
- The students could research how much money is spent on advertising and how ads are developed to ensure successful marketing.
Examples of Handouts:
This ad suggests that firemen are every man—brave and gallant but also sensitive and caring—who wouldn’t want to be a fireman!
This ad suggests that if you want to be a winner or a champion (and who doesn’t want to be a winner instead of a loser?) you must eat Wheaties—hero worship.