Improve Student Writing with This One Super Revision Strategy

 

Use this whole class lesson to help students learn how they are targets of advertisers. Get your students into the language of advertising and build an understanding of the propaganda techniques used to influence them to do things, feel things, and believe things that may or may not be good for them.

Start with inquiry and class discussion for a critical analysis of the propaganda techniques used in the advertisements below. Use these as daily mini-lessons or teach them over the course of a couple of days. Let the questions guide each discussion, alter the questions to fit your instructional needs or come up with questions of your own.

The key is to help students begin an awareness of and ability to identify how their outlook on life is related to the advertisements they see.

Step 1: Whole Class Instruction – Analyzing Advertisements for Propaganda Techniques  

1. Glittering Generalities

Words of praise for product or person; nice words like goodness or patriotism

  • Who is the target audience/market? What evidence suggests this?
  • What word(s) identifies this advertisement as an example of Glittering Generalities?
  • How does the layout of the advertisement emphasize the propaganda technique?
  • How do the font styles, colors, subtext, background colors, props and photography techniques emphasize the propaganda technique?
  • Is this advertisement effective? Why? Why not?
  • What other observations do you have about the way this propaganda technique is used in this advertisement?

2. Name Calling

Trash-talking another product or person

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is the fight?
  • No language is used, but what in the illustration shows rivalry?
  • Examine the objects in the illustration. What other observations do you have that indicate this as an example of Name Calling propaganda?

3. Testimonial

A famous person recommends a product or a political endorsement

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • Who is the famous person?
  • How does the endorsement by this person make the product seem like it is worth the purchase?
  • Examine font styles, colors, and page layout. What do they suggest about the product, and how do they strengthen the power of the testimonial?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Testimonial propaganda is used in this advertisement?

4.  Plain Folks

Appeals to regular people and their values such as family and patriotism

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is this advertising suggesting will happen if regular people eat Subway?
  • How does this advertisement appeal to regular people?
  • Why does the use of this regular guy appeal to regular people?
  • Notice the only word used is the company logo. How and/or why is this effective?
  • What comparison is shown that supports the usefulness of the product?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Plain Folks propaganda is used in this advertisement?


5.  Bandwagon

An appeal to be part of the group

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is this advertisement suggesting as an important reason to eat this cereal?
  • Examine font styles, colors, language and page layout. What do they suggest about the product, and how do they strengthen the power of the Bandwagon technique?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Bandwagon propaganda is used in this advertisement?

6. Transfer

An appeal that helps a person imagine themselves as part of a picture

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is this advertisement suggesting about the president?
  • How does the layout and background create an image for America and/or the president?
  • What is the tone of this image? Positive? Negative? How can you tell?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Transfer propaganda is used in this advertisement?


7.  Card-stacking

Manipulating information to make a product appear better than it is often by unfair comparison or omitting facts

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What in this advertisement suggests the product is good and/or that facts may be omitted?
  • Examine font styles, colors, and page layout. What do they suggest about the product, and how do they strengthen the power of the card-stacking technique?
  • Notice the adjectives used in the description. How does word choice affect the idea that smoking is a great thing?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Card-stacking propaganda is used in this advertisement?

 

Step 2: Group Project – Analyzing Advertisements for Propaganda Techniques  


From Web Quest – Propaganda Techniques


Use magazine ads to locate an example of each propaganda technique. In cooperative groups, create a collage about the propaganda techniques. Identify the techniques used in the ads.”

Step 3: Begin Unit of Study

From GoTeachGo: Selling Out The Kids – A Graphic Novel Expose’ on the Advertising Industry

GoTeachGo offers 3 grade level ranges for this unit of study.

  • 4-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

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Be sure to visit TeachersPayTeachers to examine lots of great PBL units of study from GoTeachGo.

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