Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Advertising techniques –third and fourth level

What is this?

This activity looks at how advertising has developed and evolved over time and how everyday adverts reflect our lives and culture.

This learning activity is intended to support teachers and practitioners to plan learning experiences for children/young people in their usual setting or while they are learning at home. It can be used or adapted accordingly to consider the range of learners and their prior knowledge and individual circumstances in relation to this learning experience. 

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) experiences and outcomes: Third and fourth level

  • By considering the type of text I am creating, I can independently select ideas and relevant information for different purposes, and organise essential information or ideas and any supporting detail in a logical order. I can use suitable vocabulary to communicate effectively with my audience. LIT 3-26a / LIT 4-26a
  • Having had opportunities to lead negotiation and decision making, I can work on my own and with others to devise, rehearse and refine dramas and scripts. EXA 4-14a
  • I can evaluate the role of media in a democracy, in assessing its importance in informing and influencing citizens, and explain decisions made by those in power. SOC 4-17b

Purpose of the activity

Young people will be able to identify a range of techniques used in advertising and reflect on how they depict their own lives and cultures. They will be able to use these ideas to create their own advert.

Learning activity

Task one

Reflective questions for young people:

  • What are your favourite adverts on TV and radio?
  • What are these adverts designed to do?
  • What attracts you to these adverts?
  • Have you ever purchased a particular product because of the advert you saw or heard?

Discuss these answers as a whole class, in whatever way you can, drawing any conclusions about how adverts work and how powerful they are for this group of young people. The discussion may include issues, such as political advertising during elections or the promotion of particular groups or individuals.

Create a quiz for young people asking them to identify products from adverts from the present and the past. Examples should be age appropriate and recognisable.

The examples may be used as focus for discussion. Features of the discussion may include:

  • The setting
  • The music
  • The clothing worn
  • The language used
  • What is being sold

Some interesting examples from the past which may now be seen as controversial will be an excellent stimulus for discussion. These include;

  • Adverts for tobacco products
  • Adverts for highly processed foods or sugary drinks

Task two

Ask young people to select an advert they like from the present or the past. It may be selected for any reason, including the use of humour, music or because they particularly like the product. It can come from television, social media, film or print. Some young people may require examples of appropriate adverts to complete this task. They should conduct a short piece of research about the advert and may include, for example:

  • The key features of the advert which are being used to “draw in” the audience
  • The target audience
  • Previous adverts from the company which shows how their marketing has developed over time
  • What the advert shows us about our society, or society at the time when it was shown if it is from the past.

Task three

Young people can select to present their findings in any way which is appropriate. This may, for example, be as an infographic, leaflet or worksheet for other learners.

Young people should select a product and create their own advert for it. This task can be done individually, collaboratively in small groups or in pairs.

For example, they may select to advertise a new fragrance, online gaming platform or foodstuff. This task can be done digitally, using video, presented in written form or in any way young people wish to share their work.

Extension activity

Young people may wish to select an existing advert and use their own ideas to improve it in some way. This can be conveyed by digital means or through the use of a storyboard.

National Benchmarks

  • Uses notes and/or other sources to generate ideas, inform thinking and support the creation of new texts.
  • Makes responsible use of sources, acknowledging and referencing sources appropriately.
  • Selects relevant ideas and information including essential detail or evidence. Organises essential ideas and information to convey a structured line of thought. Uses varied and appropriate vocabulary to communicate effectively and/or to enhance writing.
  • Reviews and evaluates their progress through the creative process on an on-going basis and develops solutions to problems as they arise.
  • Evaluates the role of media in a democracy and assesses its importance in informing and influencing citizens

Possible approach to assessing learning

As practitioners, you know your learners well. You should alter the expectations of outcomes for individuals in line with the benchmarks. To help move young people’s learning forward, you may choose to discuss or review young people’s work in different ways and provide feedback occasionally. Young people should also be encouraged to seek feedback on their work from their peers.

When planning your approach to assessing learning please take account of the latest guidance.