Take a minute and write down a list of 5 things you’d like to get for your birthday.
Is your list done? Good!
Now read over your list and ask yourself… how do I know about these things? Did I find out about them from a commercial that played before a video I watched on YouTube? Did a YouTuber I like play with one of them on a video? Did I see it in a magazine? A catalogue? Did I see poster of it somewhere? Did I read about it online? Or while I was playing a video game? All of these places are places we see ads, which is short for the word advertising. Advertising is any kind message that is designed to sell you something or make you want to buy something or ask your parents to buy you something. It is important that we learn how to identify what is an ad because we want to be the ones to decide what we need or want. We don’t want other people putting those ideas in our heads for us!
When companies create advertisements, they often try to link what they are selling with happy feelings or amazing powers or abilities. So even though I know in my head that eating a cheese string won’t help me defeat a dragon, the commercial shows a child doing just that. So now we all think that eating cheese strings will make us strong, even if that isn’t the truth.
Much of the time, an ad is a commercial that plays before a video. Here are examples of commercials that try to make you want to get junk food. We all know junk food isn’t good for us, but you’d never know it watching these commercials! For each commercial, think about the message that it is telling you about the food. Is the commercial telling you the food will make you better at sports? Will lead to adventures? Will make you popular? What are the messages? Are they true? Can those products do those amazing things?
Below is an example of an ad you’d see in a flyer, a magazine, or online. It is just a static picture with words, but it is also selling us an idea. The idea here being that playing with lego turns us all into superheroes and leads to amazing adventures! I’d love to be a superhero but I know that Lego can’t make me into one.
This ad is for Rice Krispies. It is selling us the idea that Rice Krispies cereal is super fun to play with. Which it isn’t! It also making a kid connection to trucks, which kids love.
So here is your task today. I want you to choose to make your own ad for a product YOU invent. It could be a toy, a junk food, anything you like. Draw a picture ad or take a photo ad. If you are really good at making videos, you could even make a commercial. Remember, advertisements make big claims about what a product can do or how it can make you feel even when it isn’t true, so use that when you create your ad. By creating your own ad, you can experience for yourself the kind of tricks companies use to sell their products.
There is no need to submit it to me, but if you know how to email the finished product to me, then you absolutely can and I can post it on this page so that others can see your work. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org