Unravelling the strategies
For this activity, you will imagine you are teams of
researchers, looking into the way advertising works and how
it influences people.
You will be working in small teams – between three and five people per team. You will look for your samples of advertising wherever advertisments appear: in magazines, newspapers, on billboards, or even television. You will need to bring the advertisements themselves, or photographs of it, for your presentation.
Each team has the task of finding an example of one kind of advertising technique – one method of persuasion that advertisers use.
Below are your “briefs”: each team is assigned one brief.
Some categories are harder to find than others – don’t give up too soon.
Write up your findings, and prepare a presentation to the class. Your teacher will give your team a period of time to complete this: a few days, or a weekend.
Working in teams
TEAM 1. Advertising often tries to convince us that the more things we have, the happier we will be. Can you find a good example of an advertisement that banks on this assumption?
TEAM 2. “You just won’t be cool unless you have this label.” Can you find an advertisement that is aimed at teens and young people who might believe this?
TEAM 3. Advertisers often use celebrities to sell products. Why? Can you find one such advertisement? Does this seem convincing? Explain.
TEAM 4. Can you find an advertisement that is actually useful, informative and helpful? An advertisement that shows a real contribution or genuine improvement to our lives, or that shows social responsibility and integrity?
TEAM 5. Find an advertisement that uses humour. How does this work as a technique of persuasion?
TEAM 6. Can you find an advertisement that encourages us to do something that we all know is actually bad for us?
TEAM 7. Some advertisements play on our fears and insecurities, to sell a product. Can you find an example?
TEAM 8. Can you find an advertisement that makes a promise it cannot possibly keep? That is, an example of false advertising?
TEAM 9. Some advertisements quote opinions from “experts”, or “scientists”, or use words like “doctors recommend…” or “studies have shown…”. Some claim to quote scientific evidence. Can you find such an example? Do they back these claims up with any evidence?
TEAM 10. Many advertisements are aimed at young children. Find examples, and decide what methods they use to appeal to children specifically.
As you search for these examples, can you identify some other ways that advertisers try to get people to buy the product that they are advertising?