Advertising Lesson: Part I

One of the special topics I like to teach when time permits is a mini-unit on advertising. This Advertising Lesson: Part I is the lesson before the project. It introduces students to a variety of information they need to know about advertising before they can complete the project in a very interactive and hands-on way. The project will be shared next week as this post would be ginormous if I didn’t split it up. So, please check out both weeks to see the entire mini-unit and project.


  • Bellringer: What is the purpose of advertising? Discuss & explain that it’s purpose is to inform people of products, services, ideas, etc.
  • Intro Activity: Break students into small groups and complete the “Cover the Table” activity. The topic prompter is “places you can find advertising”. Briefly share and discuss concepts/ideas generated.
  • Examples may include: television, radio, magazine and newspaper ads, billboards, benches, buses, product placements in tv/movies, internet ads, pop-ups, and social media.


  • iPads & Laptops
  • Variety of Magazines
  • Post-it Notes


  • Ask students what a target audience is and what does it has to do with advertising.
  • Explain that it’s the group the product/company who is advertising is aiming to influence with their product, idea or concept. Ask students to guess the target audience of the following products: Depends, ProActive Acne Cream, Nike, Tide.
  • Place students into groups of 2-3 and give them a variety of magazines. Students will be participating in a “Print Ad Scavenger Hunt”.
  • Students must be able to find 7 ads total–one ad for the following target groups:  new parents, newlyweds, parents of young children (pre-K- early elementary age), teens, busy parents, middle aged adults (male/female or both), senior citizens and be able to justify their selections.
  • Share some print ad examples for each catergory as a class.
  • Explain that advertisements fall into two basic categories: emotional and rational.
  • To learn more about the categories and the advertising appeals that correspond with them, students will view YouTube clip titled, “Types of Advertising Appeals & Great Examples of Top Brands Using Them & How Leading Brands Use Ads” and take their own notes using the provided notes form.
  • Now have students go back to the ads they collected from the Scavenger Hunt and sort into the two basic categories; emotional and rational. Next, have them identify the appeals represented in each of the ads, using post-it notes. Students may refer to their notes to label the appeal and briefly justify the classification.
  • The last question to ask students is what advertising slogans are which are short, memorable phrases used to promote a product.
  • To see how well students know their slogans (and the impact of the slogan to products), have students participate in a gallery walk made up of famous advertising slogans which is a TPT freebie to see how many they know.


Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

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