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Truth in Advertising


This lesson helps students understand the role the media plays in promoting the use of tobacco products.


Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Determine media influences on perceptions and choices related to health.
  • Identify advertising techniques used in advertising (particularly tobacco advertising) and the consequences of "buying into" various advertising schemes.
  • Create an anti-tobacco ad advocating a tobacco-free lifestyle.

Instructional Procedures

Lesson at a Glance

  1. Students complete a short survey regarding advertising.
  2. Identify and discuss different types of advertising techniques.
  3. Students create anti-tobacco ads.
  4. Students share their ads with the class.

New Vocabulary

  • advertising techniques

Introduction (Setting Focus)

  1. Survey the class about the impact of advertising on their personal lives. Many students will say "none," or "not much."
  2. Distribute the "Do These Slogans Ring a Bell?" handout and have students complete it, or read through the handout and let the class respond orally.
  3. Discuss how advertising impresses messages into our head which can be triggered with a few simple words.
  4. Display the poster "Advertising Techniques" and discuss each of the techniques described. Use various advertising examples and decide as a class which of the techniques are being used in the example.
  5. Discuss what kinds of advertising students think are the most effective in persuading people to use a product.
  6. Discuss how techniques of advertising can be used to both encourage and discourage people from using a product, like tobacco.
  7. Discuss what kinds of advertising might be effective to discourage underage persons from using tobacco.

Body (Strategies/Activities)

  1. Students develop an ad that does one or more of the following:
    • Show the advantages of being tobacco free.
    • Portray the negative effects of tobacco (bad breath, stained teeth).
    • Help convince young people not to use tobacco.
    • Show advantages of quitting and encourage smokers to get help and quit.
    • Show that most youth don't use tobacco.
    • Using tobacco isn't glamorous and doesn't improve performance.
    • Using tobacco in any form is addicting and harmful.
    • Explain that it's unhealthy to be around cigarette smoke.
    • Show the benefits of being tobacco-free.

    The ads should be original, creative, and factual.

    • Students should use one or more of the advertising techniques.
    • Ads should not include name calling or put-downs.
    • Ads should present a clear anti-tobacco message.

  2. Students may create a:
    • Poster. (Any three sizes of paper may be used.)
    • Radio ad of 30 seconds to 1½ minutes. (Students must write the script.)
    • TV ad of 30 seconds to 1½ minutes. (Students create a storyboard using drawn pictures depicting the visual that goes with the audio, printing the script below each picture. If the technology exists, students may use a camera to produce the advertisements they have planned.)
    • Billboard design. (Student use butcher paper to produce a billboard.)

Closure (Wrap-Up and Extension)

  1. Each group shares their ad with the class, describing which techniques they used and how they hope their advertising will affect the listener.
  2. Students vote to determine the best ad for each category (poster, audio and/or video, billboard) and display the winning poster or billboard. Play the winning radio or television ad for the student body schoolwide.


Additional Resources:

  1. Utah Department of Health (1-877-220-3466)
  2. American Cancer Society (1-800-234-0533) for brochures, videos, posters, etc.
  3. Utah State Office of Education (USOE) (801-538-7713)

Created: 12/21/2009
Updated: 02/07/2020