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ADVERTISING TECHNIQUES AND TARGET AUDIENCES USED IN COMMERCIALS
by Guy Wells

University of Idaho Student

GRADE: 9 to12

SUBJECT MATTER: Speech

OVERVIEW
The class will begin to understand the power of advertising by researching advertising techniques, target audiences and a variety of ads. The class will look at commercials during their favorite television programs and keep a TV log. The purpose is to see what types of products are advertised and who the target audiences are. Students will also learn and identify what advertising techniques are used: Bandwagon, Propaganda, and Testimonial.


LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Students will be able to:

  • Learn to recognize what types of advertising techniques are used in these advertisements.
  • Recognize the power of advertising and its effects on teenagers' lives.
  • Use a variety of technological resources to gather information about advertisements

STANDARDS

Based on the NCTE standards.

Students will:

  • Use a variety of technological and informational resources to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • Conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.
  • Gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

MATERIALS

Per student:

  • Television logs
  • Writing Materials
  • Textbooks used to look at different advertising techniques.

Class:

  • Television
  • VCR
  • Videotape
  • Computers
  • Writing materials

MEDIA COMPONENTS

Video
Pre-recorded commercials from television

WEB SITES

http://www.entrenet.com
/~groedmed/namedu/adtech.htm

www.adcritic.com


PREP FOR TEACHER

Before class look at and bookmark the Internet sites for the students to view. Then construct a worksheet for students to complete as they work with the site. (look at some suggested questions at the end of this lesson). Next pre-record television commercials from some of the more popular television networks or shows. Show these commercials to the students in class, so previewing is needed to identify who the target audiences are and what type of advertising techniques they use. Choose three ads from www.adcritic.com for the culminating activity.

PREVIEWING ACTIVITIES

Introduce students to the advertising techniques that they should recognize and understand: bandwagon, testimonial, & propaganda. When using textbooks and Internet sites, some of these advertising techniques have different names even though they mean the same thing, so this should be told to the students. The students will have to look at the meaning of each advertising technique on this website to complete the activity.

To complete this activity use this site: http://www.entrenet.com/~groedmed/namedu/adtech.htm

While the students are looking at this site, have them complete the handout that was created in preparation. Have them identify and define each advertising technique and give an example of an ad that it is used in. Assign a TV log for homework. Each student should complete a TV log of the commercials that air during their favorite shows. Ask them to identify the target audiences and advertising techniques that they found in each one.

Suggestions for questions to answer while watching the commercials at home: (from:http://www.entrenet.com/~groedmed/namedu/adtech.htm

Analyze three advertisements and do the following:

1. Look up any words whose meanings you do not know and create a list of new words with their definitions. (minimum of six words ( ___points)

2. Identify at least three advertising techniques that are used in each advertisement and explain how each of them is used. ( ___points)

3. Identify the target audience for each advertisement and explain why you think the advertisement is meant for that group of potential customers. ( ___points)

National Aviation Museum, 1996


VIEWING ACTIVITIES

Discuss the TV logs that the students brought back for homework. This is a good start to a discussion about advertising. As the students discuss what they found, create a spider graph on the board or overhead comparing what was found in the ads (or create a compare and contrast chart). By the end this should be a good visual aid to compare advertisement techniques and the target audiences used in the various ads. Next, discuss the differences in products that are advertised to men and women and see if the ad strategies are the same for men and women. The spider graph will show them the differences between all the ads and will act as a good visual aid for the students. In this part of the lesson begin having the students explore the advertising techniques that they learned about on the Internet the day before: bandwagon, propaganda, & testimonial.

After the discussion, use the pre-recorded commercials and start playing the first one.

PAUSE after the first commercial and have the students write down the target audience for that ad and what ad technique they think was used. Remember to focus on advertising techniques used (bandwagon, testimonial & propaganda).

After about one minute, START the next ad and then PAUSE it at the end of the ad. Let the students continue like this until they have completed identifying elements of 10 ads.

After playing the recorded commercials, take time to discuss what the students found.

  • Who are the target audiences?
  • What were the advertising techniques used?
  • How were women & men portrayed in these ads?
  • What are some differences in ads targeted for men and for women?

Focus on the images that are being used. Discuss whether advertisements are selling a product or selling an image. Call on several students, asking the same question and asking for their evidence. Take several minutes for responses to this question. Then provide the evidence you identified in the ads that everyone has just viewed, and encourage students to notice and discuss power of ads and the effects ads have on them.

 

POST VIEWING ACTIVITIES

CULMINATING ACTIVITY
Have the students work with the website: www.adcritic.com

This site will be used for looking at advertisements for products that the students will be familiar with. The best part about this site is that it has the top ten ads that students can play and view directly off the Internet. Use the three ads that were chosen in preparation. Have the students identify the target audiences and techniques used. Have them draw conclusions about advertising.

This activity can be their final assessment. A second culminating activity could be to have the students create their own ads and present them to the class. This could be done individually or in pairs.


ACTION PLAN

EXTENSIONS

Cross-Curricular Extensions:
Students can also view commercials in Spanish to see if the target audiences and techniques are the same as or are similar to or different from those used in English.You can choose to focus on products advertised to teens, men and women, or other specific audiences.

Community Connections:

A news director or producer from a local television or radio station could be a guest speaker about how advertising affects your community. The students should create questions prior to the guest speaker's visit.


For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic and many others try TeacherSource at PBS Online! You will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational web sites! Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area! Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional development, and much more!


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