Analysis of Commercials
Some parents may raise eyebrows when students are asked to watch television to analyze persuasive techniques used by advertisers. However, students will enjoy this activity and learn advertising techniques. And, parents may be happy to find that their children are learning how the marketers and the advertisers try to manipulate them through the use of persuasive techniques.
Create Handout Packet for Commercial Assignment
Teachers will need to create a packet for the students to use when analyzing the commercials. Students will need the advertising terms and definitions A-M and P-W. They will also need a list of questions to answer when they watch the commercials:
What time did the commercial start and end?
What was the product advertised?
What was the slogan and/or jingle used?
What technique(s) were used? Explain how the technique was used.
Who was the target audience for the advertisement?
What television show(s) was/were on before and after the commercial?
Did you enjoy or like this commercial? Why?
Assign Television Watching Homework
Teachers will need to first discuss advertisement terms and definitions in the handout and the questions. Tip: Teachers may be able to show commercials from YouTube to show examples of the advertising techniques. Assign students to watch three-to-five commercials for homework.
After students have completed the homework, discuss the techniques used in the commercials. Questions for discussion:
Which commercials were the students' favorite ones? Did they find that they were the target audience for the commercial? Was the television show that was on before or after the commercial a favorite show?
Did they see any examples of bias or stereotyping? How did this affect or not affect them?
What were the most memorable slogans and/or jingles?
What commercials most effectively used a technique?
Students Make Their Own Commercial
After students have discussed what makes a great commercial, assign them to make their own. Place students into small cooperative groups of three-to-six students. Each group needs to select a product, slogan, target audience, and advertisement technique.
The commercial needs to be organized and produced by the group. All do not need to be "in" the commercial, but the entire team needs to make a script, collect props and stage the commercial. The commercials can be completed "live" in front of the class or can be recorded earlier.
Assess the commercials with a rubric. Criteria for the rubric can be teamwork, organization, advertisement techniques, and execution of the commercial.
The day after the Super Bowl, many of my students are tired from staying up to watch the big game, so I try to make my lessons for that day to be as interesting as possible in order to keep them engaged. One Super Bowl lesson plan that has always been a winner is a lesson on “Persuasive Writing Techniques in Advertising.” I created this Super Bowl lesson plan for grade 5 students, but you can adapt it for other grade levels!
Download FREE Super Bowl Persuasive Writing Lesson Worksheets Now!
SUPER BOWL LESSON PLAN
TEACHING ADVERTISING AND PERSUASIVE WRITING TECHNIQUES
With all of the hype that surrounds the Super Bowl commercials, you can't help but be intrigued about seeing what the advertising executives will invent to entice consumers. I turn that enthusiasm into something educational with an advertising-inspired, persuasive writing lesson.
When teaching advertising to primary students, I focus students' attention on the writing strategies utilized to entice consumers.
Students will analyze and discuss the persuasive writing strategies and techniques that were used in various Super Bowl advertisements.
Begin the persuasive writing lesson by asking students to think about some of their favorite Super Bowl commercials. Also ask them to think about why they liked them. What in the commercials specifically resonated with them?
Then have a brief discussion with the class. For students who didn’t watch the Super Bowl, ask them to think about their favorite commercials on TV. You might also want to show some of the Super Bowl commercials that are available as YouTube videos.
Important Note: When I first started teaching this lesson, I had to record the Super Bowl on my VCR and show the commercials in class using videotape. Now, withSmartboards and YouTube, this persuasive writing lesson is a lot easier. However, one thing that has never changed is my diligence in selecting commercials. Not all commercials are appropriate for your students, so be careful when making your selections.
Model the persuasive writing strategies and techniques that are used in commercials. Some of these strategies are:
BANDWAGON: Suggests that everyone else is buying it, so you should, too
TESTIMONIAL: Have an expert or famous person persuading the audience
REPITITON: Repeats an idea over and over again
BARGAIN OR FREE: Suggests the consumer can get something for nothing or almost nothing
REASONING: Explains why the product is a good idea/beneficial to them
CRITICIZING THE OPPOSITION: Explains why one product is better than another
SLOGAN: Creates a catchy phrase to help the consumer remember the product
PERSONAL PRONOUNS: Talks directly to the audience/consumer (we, us, you)
This list is available for you to download and hang in your classroom. Download it now!
Give students a Persuasive Writing Strategies & Techniques in Advertising Note-Taking Sheet (available for you to download). Together, watch a commercial played during the Super Bowl and record the students ideas and comments on the sheet. Do this together for two commercials and then let them try two commercials on their own.
Ask students to reflect on the commercials they just watched on their Persuasive Writing Strategies & Techniques in Advertising Reflection Sheet (available for you to download).
With this worksheet, students will reflect on their favorite and least favorite commercials and on the persuasive techniques used by advertisers. Then students will write down persuasive techniques that could be used to improve the commercials.
Finally, give students an opportunity to share and discuss their reflections in small groups.
Students can create their own advertisements using persuasive writing strategies.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.
Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.
Review the key ideas expressed and draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge gained from the discussions.