The Fine Art of Persuasion: Television and Advertising

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Grades 5–12

Class Description

What is advertising, what is its goal, and what are its methods? How do images and sounds combine to make a point or sell a product, and how have these changed over time? Through careful analysis, students will discover the persuasive techniques developed to capture a viewer's attention in order to promote a product or idea.

All classes are interactive, with guided discussion designed to encourage active observation and critical thinking.

Advertising is one of the best examples of persuasive writing that we encounter in our everyday lives. By closely studying the advertising we come into contact with, we can become better informed consumers and improve our own persuasive writing and speaking skills. One exercise that can be really valuable is to compare and contrast product advertising over time. What changes? What remains the same? What can this tell us about the evolution of the consumer and product relationship?



As a group, provide definitions for the following words and concepts, which will be referenced during the class.

ADVERTISING: The communication of information through various media that is persuasive in nature, about products, services, or ideas, and is usually paid for by identified sponsors.

BRAND: A unique and identifiable symbol, association, name, or trademark that serves to differentiate competing products or services.

JINGLE: A short, catchy song, usually mentioning a brand or product benefit, used in a commercial.

LOGO: A design of characters and/or graphics used to identify a company.

MEDIA/MEDIUM: Forms of public communication (such as newspaper, radio, television, Internet, direct mail, and billboards) that are designed to reach large numbers of people.

SLOGAN: A memorable phrase that says something positive about a product or idea.

TARGET AUDIENCE: A specified audience or demographic for which an advertising message is designed. The members of a target audience often share certain characteristics, such as age, gender, ethnicity, values, or lifestyle.


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