CTE Task: Recognizing Advertising Techniques and Tricks

Click here to download the teacher material for this task. 

COURSE:

Introduction to Business and Marketing

TASK LENGTH:

35-45 minutes

 

Recognizing Advertising Techniques and Tricks

Task Description

Standards

In this activity, students will

  1. Complete the advertisement targeting and techniques assessment;
  2. Select a commercial and analyze the use of specific techniques;
  3. Flip the advertisement’s medium from a commercial to a print or digital ad, social media ad, billboard, etc.;
  4. Compare and contrast the overall effectiveness of each advertising medium.

Introduction to Business and Marketing, Standard 21: Define advertising and list types of media that businesses use to reach potential customers. Analyze sample advertisements, describe the purpose of the ads, and evaluate the decision regarding which medium (TV, social media, billboard, magazine, newspaper, or other) was chosen in terms of market reach.

Marketing Management I: Principles, Standard 29: Identify the main components of a print advertisement. Design an original layout incorporating principles of the components most commonly found in print media.

 Content Understandings

Extending Understandings

Upon successful completion of these tasks students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify the various targeting and persuasive techniques advertisers use to sell their products;
  • Analyze a commercial advertisement;
  • Remediate a commercial advertisement into some type of print or digital ad;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the advertising medium and discuss the importance of selecting the right medium for the product and audience.

 

To move students towards deeper understanding, they should be given opportunities to:

  • Design an advertisement for a local business’ product.

Support Strategies

If students are struggling to access this task, additional supports and strategies could be employed as students are engaging with the task.

Key Terms

Sentence Frames

Scaffolded Questions

Media literacy

 

 

 

Source

 

 

 

 

Text

 

 

 

 

Subtext

 

 

 

 

 

Targeting

 

 

 

 

Persuasion techniques

 

 

 

Point of view

To develop your _________, you should be able to analyze and decode images and symbols produced within media.

 

To understand the _________ of the ad, you need to ask questions such as: “Whose message is this?” or “Who has control over this content?”

 

Generally, ______ often refers to something written, but in media literacy, __________ can refer to pictures, words, graphics, sounds, moving images, etc.

 

As you watch an ad, you’ll often find yourself reflecting on your own experiences, knowledge, opinions, and values as you work through the ad’s deeper meaning, or its ____________. 

 

Say you’re an advertiser and you select a group of people whom you think will buy or use your product in some way—in effect, you’re practicing ad ____________.

 

Advertisers use a number of _______________, including association and bandwagon, to try to convince their audience to buy their product(s).

 

When you deconstruct an ad’s message, you are able to expose the biases and values, or ____________, of the ad’s creator.

How do you define media? Brainstorm a list of examples.

 

What characteristics do the different types of media share?

 

What methods do advertisers use to ensure that their advertisements influence how an audience views a product?

 

How do advertisements, no matter the media, attempt to influence our thoughts, actions, attitudes, preferences, etc.?

 

Why is it necessary for us to understand how to deconstruct or decode media messages?

Teacher Instructional Materials (See Appendix)

Advertisement Targeting and Techniques Assessment

Commercial Analysis Worksheet

 

Instructional Resources

Center for Media Literacy Educator Resources (Center for Media Literacy. (n.d.) Educator Resources. http://www.medialit.org/educator-resources)

 

Queensland Government - Tips for Effective Advertising (Business Queensland. (2017, July 17). Advertising. https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/marketing-sales/marketing-promotion/advertising)

 

National Association for Media Literacy Education  (National Association for Media Literacy Education. (n.d.) Media Literacy Ed. https://namle.net/publications/)

 

Recognizing Advertising Techniques and Tricks Activity

Activity Steps:

  1. Students will complete the advertisement targeting and techniques assessment to check their competency in media literacy.
    1. Students need to successfully complete this part of the activity before moving forward.
  2. Each student will select a commercial from a teacher-provided list and use the worksheet to analyze the commercial’s components.
  3. Once students have analyzed their commercial, they will select a new medium—digital or print, non-commercial—and turn their commercial into a digital or print ad.
    1. When students create their digital or print ad, they may draw the new ad (and scan in the image) or use any number of digital design tools to complete this step (Good options: Adobe Spark, Canva, Microsoft Sprightly, Pablo, Easel.lu, Google Slides, or PowerPoint).
  4. When they’ve completed their new advertisement, students need to compare and contrast the two types of media and evaluate the importance of medium in a product’s success.

 

Appendix: Teacher Instructional Materials

Advertisement Targeting and Techniques Assessment

Directions: Complete the following assessment to ensure you’re familiar with the various techniques advertisers use to target their audience(s). You’re provided with the technique and its definition; your task is to match each persuasion technique with the scenario or example that best fits it. You’ll use each technique only once.

Note for teachers: You can adapt this assessment using various free online quiz tools (e.g., Google Forms Quiz, Kahoot, Hot Potato, etc.)

 

Persuasion techniques:

Bandwagon – the argument that if everyone is going something, then you should do it too

Glittering generalities – words that have positive meanings and are connected to concepts held in high esteem (e.g., liberty, democracy, honor, etc.)

Testimonial – connects a famous person to a product or item

Snob appeal – assumes or insinuates that this particular product/item/idea is superior to others

Plain folks – connects the product/item/idea to ordinary people (opposite of testimonial and snob appeal)

Logical appeal (logos) – appeals to your logic to convince you that you’re making the right decision when purchasing their product

Emotional appeal (pathos) – appeals to your emotions whether those emotions are positive or negative

Ethical appeal (ethos) – appeals to you by emphasizing the credibility of a product/item/idea

Repetition – repeats words, phrases, images, or symbols several times to get your attention and help you remember the product/item/idea

Association – links a product/item/idea with something you already like or desire (e.g., fun, success, wealth, beauty, youth, etc.)

Facts and figures – uses tables, graphs, and statistics to underscore the superiority of a product/item/idea

Patriotism – appeals to one’s love of country and desire to support one’s country

 

Scenario or example

Persuasion Technique

A magazine ad for a car features an American flag in the background

 

A commercial for Coke features Taylor Swift singing a song to endorse the product

 

A billboard ad for an organic food brand asserts its superiority above all other brands

 

A commercial for dog food features a little kid playing with his puppy

 

A social media ad for a kid’s snack claims that it’s mother-approved

 

A print ad for a new computer software says that it’s so easy to use that everyone is using it

 

An ad for a grocery store features a regular family sitting around the dinner table

 

A commercial for a candy bar ends with #expecthappiness

 

A magazine ad for a fast food chain uses percentages and numbers to claim that their fries are the healthiest

 

An ad for a coffee drink features words like smooth, creamy, and tasty

 

A social media ad for toothpaste claims that it provides dentist-approved, expert relief

 

A print ad for a store features its logo on various items found within the ad

 

 

Commercial Analysis Worksheet

Directions: Use the following worksheet to analyze your commercial. Please be sure to write in complete sentences.

List of commercials:

Nike: You Can’t Stop Us (Nike. (2020, July 30). You Can’t Stop Us | Nike [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA4dDs0T7sM)

 

Coke: Brotherly Love (Darren McGreevy. (2016, Jan. 31). Coca Cola – Brotherly Love | Coke/Avicii Hey Brother [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdPXQLrueRg)

 

Snicker’s Betty White (Thomas Myzia. (2011, June 20). Betty White Snickers Commercial [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXL8QPWLbBo).

 

Steve Carrell Pepsi Commercial (The Sun. (2019, Feb. 1). Pepsi: Steve Carell, Lil Jon and Cardi B in hilarious Super Bowl advert [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9jIc7E52m0)

 

Walmart Cars Commercial (Cruizers Motorsports. (2019, Jan. 7). Wal Mart Epic Movie Car Commercial [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whpJBY5W7xo)

 

Part I: Describe the commercial (Answer with as much detail as possible.)

  1. What product/item/service/idea is this commercial trying to sell?

 

 

  1. Whose message is this commercial? Who created it? Who paid for it?

 

 

  1. Describe the various components of the commercial:
    1. People involved (if any)

 

 

    1. Setting

 

 

    1. Animals (if any)

 

 

    1. Other objects or relevant items

 

 

  1. Describe the main action(s) in the commercial. In other words, what happened?

 

 

 

 

Part II: Commercial’s Purpose and Audience

  1. Who is the commercial’s target audience? What do we know about them—their age, race, class, gender, etc.? What elements of the commercial lead you to your conclusion?

 

 

 

  1. What is the commercial’s “text”? (That is, what we see/hear—can be written, spoken, music, symbols, graphics, etc.)

 

 

 

 

  1. What is the commercial’s “subtext”? (That is, the commercial’s deeper/hidden meaning.)

 

 

 

 

Part III: Commercial’s Persuasion Techniques  

  1. What persuasion techniques does the commercial use? (List and describe all that apply.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Pick the top two to three and explain how they help convey the commercial’s message.

 

 

 

 

Part IV: Commercial to Digital or Print Ad

Now turn your commercial into a digital or print ad. You may draw the new ad (and scan in the image) or use any number of digital design tools to complete this step (Good options: Adobe Spark, Canva, Microsoft Sprightly, Pablo, Easel.lu, Google Slides, or PowerPoint).

Once you’ve created your new ad, compare and contrast the effectiveness of each medium. Answer the below questions to help you.

 

  1. What new medium did you choose? Why?

 

 

 

  1. What persuasion techniques did you use? Did you use the same ones as the original commercial? Different techniques? Why?

 

 

 

 

  1. Now consider the product, audience, and purpose that you identified above—Does your new ad still appeal to this audience? Why? Why not? Does your new ad accurately convey the product? Why? Why not? How has the purpose of your new ad change, if any?

 

 

 

 

  1. Finally, given your understanding of audience, product, and purpose, which ad do you think is more effective—the commercial or digital/print ad? Explain your answer.

Student Resource

Click here to download the student resource for this task. 

Advertisement Targeting and Techniques Assessment

Directions: Complete the following assessment to ensure you’re familiar with the various techniques advertisers use to target their audience(s). You’re provided with the technique and its definition; your task is to match each persuasion technique with the scenario or example that best fits it. You’ll use each technique only once.

Note for teachers: You can adapt this assessment using various free online quiz tools (e.g., Google Forms Quiz, Kahoot, Hot Potato, etc.)

 

Persuasion techniques:

Bandwagon – the argument that if everyone is going something, then you should do it too

Glittering generalities – words that have positive meanings and are connected to concepts held in high esteem (e.g., liberty, democracy, honor, etc.)

Testimonial – connects a famous person to a product or item

Snob appeal – assumes or insinuates that this particular product/item/idea is superior to others

Plain folks – connects the product/item/idea to ordinary people (opposite of testimonial and snob appeal)

Logical appeal (logos) – appeals to your logic to convince you that you’re making the right decision when purchasing their product

Emotional appeal (pathos) – appeals to your emotions whether those emotions are positive or negative

Ethical appeal (ethos) – appeals to you by emphasizing the credibility of a product/item/idea

Repetition – repeats words, phrases, images, or symbols several times to get your attention and help you remember the product/item/idea

Association – links a product/item/idea with something you already like or desire (e.g., fun, success, wealth, beauty, youth, etc.)

Facts and figures – uses tables, graphs, and statistics to underscore the superiority of a product/item/idea

Patriotism – appeals to one’s love of country and desire to support one’s country

 

 

Scenario or example

Persuasion Technique

A magazine ad for a car features an American flag in the background

 

A commercial for Coke features Taylor Swift singing a song to endorse the product

 

A billboard ad for an organic food brand asserts its superiority above all other brands

 

A commercial for dog food features a little kid playing with his puppy

 

A social media ad for a kid’s snack claims that it’s mother-approved

 

A print ad for a new computer software says that it’s so easy to use that everyone is using it

 

An ad for a grocery store features a regular family sitting around the dinner table

 

A commercial for a candy bar ends with #expecthappiness

 

A magazine ad for a fast food chain uses percentages and numbers to claim that their fries are the healthiest

 

An ad for a coffee drink features words like smooth, creamy, and tasty

 

A social media ad for toothpaste claims that it provides dentist-approved, expert relief

 

A print ad for a store features its logo on various items found within the ad

 

 

 

Commercial Analysis Worksheet

Directions: Use the following worksheet to analyze your commercial. Please be sure to write in complete sentences.

List of commercials:

  1. Nike: You Can’t Stop Us (Nike. (2020, July 30). You Can’t Stop Us | Nike [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA4dDs0T7sM)
  2. Coke: Brotherly Love (Darren McGreevy. (2016, Jan. 31). Coca Cola – Brotherly Love | Coke/Avicii Hey Brother [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdPXQLrueRg)
  3. Snicker’s Betty White (Thomas Myzia. (2011, June 20). Betty White Snickers Commercial [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXL8QPWLbBo).
  4. Steve Carrell Pepsi Commercial (The Sun. (2019, Feb. 1). Pepsi: Steve Carell, Lil Jon and Cardi B in hilarious Super Bowl advert [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9jIc7E52m0)
  5. Walmart Cars Commercial (Cruizers Motorsports. (2019, Jan. 7). Wal Mart Epic Movie Car Commercial [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whpJBY5W7xo)

 

Part I: Describe the commercial (Answer with as much detail as possible.)

  1. What product/item/service/idea is this commercial trying to sell?

 

 

  1. Whose message is this commercial? Who created it? Who paid for it?

 

 

  1. Describe the various components of the commercial:
    1. People involved (if any)

 

 

    1. Setting

 

 

    1. Animals (if any)

 

 

    1. Other objects or relevant items

 

 

  1. Describe the main action(s) in the commercial. In other words, what happened?

 

 

 

 

Part II: Commercial’s Purpose and Audience

  1. Who is the commercial’s target audience? What do we know about them—their age, race, class, gender, etc.? What elements of the commercial lead you to your conclusion?

 

 

 

  1. What is the commercial’s “text”? (That is, what we see/hear—can be written, spoken, music, symbols, graphics, etc.)

 

 

 

 

  1. What is the commercial’s “subtext”? (That is, the commercial’s deeper/hidden meaning.)

 

 

 

 

Part III: Commercial’s Persuasion Techniques 

  1. What persuasion techniques does the commercial use? (List and describe all that apply.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Pick the top two to three and explain how they help convey the commercial’s message.

 

 

 

 

 

Part IV: Commercial to Digital or Print Ad

Now turn your commercial into a digital or print ad. You may draw the new ad (and scan in the image) or use any number of digital design tools to complete this step (Good options: Adobe Spark, Canva, Microsoft Sprightly, Pablo, Easel.lu, Google Slides, or PowerPoint).

Once you’ve created your new ad, compare and contrast the effectiveness of each medium. Answer the below questions to help you.

 

  1. What new medium did you choose? Why?

 

 

 

 

  1. What persuasion techniques did you use? Did you use the same ones as the original commercial? Different techniques? Why?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Now consider the product, audience, and purpose that you identified above—Does your new ad still appeal to this audience? Why? Why not? Does your new ad accurately convey the product? Why? Why not? How has the purpose of your new ad change, if any?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Finally, given your understanding of audience, product, and purpose, which ad do you think is more effective—the commercial or digital/print ad? Explain your answer.