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Media Literacy

Main Core Tie

Health Education II (9-12)


Utah LessonPlans


This lesson will help students understand the role of advertising, specifically the role it plays in alcohol, tobacco and medicinal drug advertisements.


Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to describe the legitimate roles of advertising, as well as problems caused by advertising.
  • Students will be able to identify advertising techniques used to sell alcohol, tobacco and medicinal drugs.
  • Students will be able to critically dissect and analyze the stated and implied messages from alcohol, tobacco and medicinal drug advertisements.
  • Students will also be able to critically analyze portrayals of ATOD use in the entertainment industry.

Instructional Procedures

Readiness or Setting the Focus (class discussion)

  1. Use this dialogue with the class. "Think back to a toy you got for Christmas that you really wanted but it didn't turn out to be as wonderful as you thought it would be. What made you want the toy to begin with?"
    1. The ads made it look so cool.
    2. The kids playing with the toy seemed to be having so much fun.
    3. When the present was actually in your procession, it was rather stupid or lame.
    4. Conclusion: Sometimes advertising can be deceptive.
  2. Is advertising good or bad or can it be both? Explain.
  3. What are the legitimate functions of advertising? (Product information can help us make a good choice.)
  4. What can be the abuses and negative outcomes of advertising?

Strategies and Activities

  1. Present the PowerPoint included with this DVD.
    1. Conduct a discussion using the prompts on the PowerPoint notes.
    2. Discuss the persistence of advertising in our minds.
  2. Demonstrate the lack of product differentiation
    1. Conduct soda pop taste test.
    2. Have students work for hypothetical ad agency for generic pop brand.
    3. How can we convince consumers to consume brand X instead of brand Y and Z?
  3. Advertising techniques
    1. Share and explain handout "Advertising techniques."
    2. Review the legitimate function of advertising which includes new product information, product comparison, and project innovation information.
    3. In small groups analyze select alcohol and tobacco ads (Print Ads and CAMY Web site).
      1. What product information is given?
      2. Who is the audience?
      3. What are the implied benefits of using the product?
      4. What emotional pitches are used?
      5. What false impression does the ad promote?
      6. What techniques are being used?
  4. Hollywood images
    1. Discuss--How can smoking in the movies be more a powerful influence on behavior than an advertisement?
    2. Are portrayals of ATOD use in movies an accurate reflection of reality?
  5. Legal tagging

    BUGAUP activity

Evaluation and checking for understanding

Ask open ended questions to review material.

  1. What percentage of alcohol and tobacco ads provide product information
  2. What psychological appeals are used to sell these products?
  3. How can advertising of medicines be inappropriate?

Wrap Up

  1. Why is it important to think about advertising before you make a purchase or do something?
  2. Why is it important to use your head instead of your emotions when viewing commercials.
  3. Review major concepts and record review on chalkboard.

Created: 01/07/2010
Updated: 02/07/2020