Activity 3-2
Advertisement Watch



  • Encourage critical viewing of television advertising
  • Explore the ethics of creating demand in a "free market society"



One-two class periods plus homework


Mediawatch form can be turned in for evaluation.


demand basic needs luxury items consumerism commercialism

Suggested Procedure

1. Introduce the lesson by reviewing supply and demand curves and asking what happens when demand increases.

2. Ask students why companies advertise. Give the students a brief historical perspective on the birth of advertising as a strategy of American industry in the late 1800's to deal with the problem of overproduction. Then go over Advertisement Techniques transparency with students. Make sure students take notes. Ask students to think of ads that use each technique.

3. Choose some examples of ads from magazines and newspapers and discuss which techniques are being used. Then model the process outlined on the media watch handout.

4. Pass out the handout and have students watch five TV commercials for homework and record the appropriate information and answer the questions on a separate sheet of paper.

5. Have students work in small groups the next day to discuss the homework.

  • What types of products (luxuries or necessities)? Why?
  • What strategies did advertisers use the most?
  • What groups were targeted the most?
  • Based on this information, what things do Americans care about the most? 6. Have students work in small groups and develop their own 30-second commercial using a specific strategy for a specific target group.

7. Have each group present their commercial to the whole class. Have the class evaluate the commercial in terms of its effectiveness (how much it convinces you to buy the

product). Then have the class evaluate the usefulness of the product itself. Have them evaluate the degree to which these coincide.

8. Conclude with a whole class discussion on the ethics of creating demand. How do advertisements affect how people feel about themselves? What they need? What are the effects on the environment of producing unnecessary goods? (List them on the board.) Derive concepts of consumerism and commercialism.


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