Ad Attack!

Social Studies/Language Arts Activity

In this activity students will analyze the "hidden" messages of
advertisements targeted to their age group.


     videotaped advertisements targeted at early adolescents
     magazines and newspapers that can be cut up
     Ad Attack! analysis charts
     art supplies (optional)


   1.Show the videotape and ask the class:

          What was your favorite commercial? Why?
          Which product seemed the most desirable based on the ad? Why?
          What advertising techniques did you recognize? (These may
include celebrity endorsement, promises of being part
          of the crowd, improving looks, improving athletic performance,
increasing sex appeal, etc.)

   2.Lead a discussion about the young people portrayed in the

          How do they look? What do they do? How do they dress? What do
they care about? Where do they live?
          Are these realistic portrayals of kids this age? Why or why
          How does it make you feel if your life isn't like theirs?

   3.Have students look through magazines and newspapers for examples of
advertisements that feature young and older
     teens. Divide the class into groups and distribute the ads among
them. Have each group take several ads and analyze
     them, using the Ad Attack chart. Tell students to staple each ad to
its analysis chart.

   4.Bring students together as a class to discuss their findings. In
summation, point out that while advertisers don't
     deliberately try to undermine the self-confidence of young teens,
the image they present of what adolescent life is like is
     often unrealistic. It might help to remember the purpose of such
advertising and to resist allowing these images to lower


     Students can use the Ad Attack charts to review television
commercials at home.
     Students may create advertisements that more realistically portray
what kids their age are like.