Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The influence of advertising – second level

What is this?

Children explore the influence of advertising on their consumption of unhealthy food, such as foods high in sugar. They consider the techniques used by advertisers to entice people to buy their product and use this learning to create an advert for a healthy food option.

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. As well as taking account of national and local guidance relating to Covid-19, the activity should 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: Second level

Literacy and English

  • To help me develop an informed view, I can distinguish fact from opinion, and I am learning to recognise when my sources try to influence me and how useful these are. LIT 2 – 08a
  • I am learning to use language and style in a way which engages and/or influences my reader. ENG 2 – 27a

Expressive arts

  • I can create and present work that shows developing skill in using the visual elements and concepts. EXA 2-03a
  • I have created and presented scripted or improvised drama, beginning to take account of audience and atmosphere. EXA 2 – 14a

Health and wellbeing

  • I can understand how advertising and the media are used to influence customers. HWB 2 – 37a

Purpose of the activity

Using the context of unhealthy food choices, children will learn about the influence of advertising on the food choices we make. They will consider the techniques advertisers use and apply this learning to create their own advert for a healthy food item.

Learning activity

  • Introduce this activity by inviting children to think about the term ‘junk food’. What types of food does this describe and why? Ask them to record their thoughts in a manner of their choosing. For example, a list, poster, collage or digital image.
  • Research has identified a link between advertising and children’s food choice habits. As a result, there are moves to ban advertising aimed at encouraging children to make inappropriate/bad choices about the food they eat.
  • Ask children to reflect and discuss whether they think advertising influences their own food choices. What techniques do advertisers use to entice you to eat their products? Prompt them to consider:
    • The use of logos/packaging
    • The type of photographs/images used (close-up shots, the use of colour)
    • The use of catchy music or jingles
    • The persuasive vocabulary and dialogue used
    • The use of slogans
    • The setting
    • The emotions displayed by the people in the advert
  • You may wish to provide children with some examples of logos and/or adverts relative to your local context to inform this discussion.
  • Using these reflections, invite children to create an advert that promotes healthy food using a method of their choice. They could create a storyboard showing each scene of the advert. Alternatively, they could create a script and/or film/record a short advert. Encourage children to show their adverts/ideas to their peers to support self and peer evaluation. 'Make an advert for Brussels sprouts' on BBC Bitesize may provide some inspiration.

Extension activity

Children could review adverts shown during a period of children’s television programming. Can they identify the advertising techniques used? What similarities/differences can they find in the vocabulary used between different adverts?

National Benchmarks

Literacy and English

  • Identifies the difference between fact and opinion with suitable explanation.
  • Attempts to engage and/or influence the reader through vocabulary and/or use of language as appropriate to genre.

Expressive arts

  • Creates a simple plan that explains how they will investigate and develop ideas in response to a design brief.
  • Creates a short drama, as part of a group or individually, using improvisation or a published script.

Health and wellbeing

  • Identifies three methods of persuasion used by media/advertisers to influence consumers, for example, logos.

Possible approach to assessing learning

Children could self and peer assess the completed healthy food adverts, asking and answering questions appropriately.

When planning your approach to assessing learning, please take account of the latest guidance on assessment approaches.