Online College Courses for Credit

What's in an Ad?

What's in an Ad?

Author: Amee Wittbrodt
  • Understand, analyze, evaluate, and use different types of print, digital, and multimodal media.
  • Critically analyze information found in electronic, print, and mass media and use a variety of these sources.
  • Gain an understanding of common persuasion techniques used by advertisers.
  • Analyze advertisements and determine which techniques are being used.

Students will learn several persuasion techniques used by adversisers to sell their products.  After analyzing how each one works, students will view advertisements and decide which persuasion techniques are visible.

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Background Information


Pepsi - For Those Who Think Young

Who's the target?

Unlike some products that are only for people of a certain age or sex, anyone can drink cola. This ad is targeted at people of all ages.

What's in it?

Britney Spears is talented, bold, beautiful and fun. This ad seems to say that if you want to have fun and be young — no matter how old you are - you should drink Pepsi. It uses popular music and happy scenes of being a teenager from different times in history. The ad tries to make older people feel good about the drink by stirring up happy memories.


Levi's Jeans — Crazy Legs

Who's the target?

This ad targets young Hispanic Americans. The number of Hispanic people in America is growing fast. If companies like Levi's can grab their attention, they can sell more stuff. And we know companies like to sell stuff!

What's in it?

A young Hispanic man wears jeans and headphones as he walks through the city. He is calm and cool, but his legs dance wildly to funky music. The special effects create humor and excitement. This ad seems to say that Levi's jeans can make people special and cool.


Philip Morris — Talk, They'll Listen

Who's the target?

This ad is for the parents of teenagers.

What's in it?

Philip Morris, a cigarette maker, created this ad because it's trying to improve its image. They want to look like nice guys. But just think, they sell a product that hurts people. Each day, more than 2,000 kids become new smokers. About a third of those new smokers will eventually die from smoking-related diseases.

This ad tells parents to watch out for their children's friends because those teens might push cigarettes on their children. It tells parents to talk to their kids as a way to fight unhealthy influences. But are other teens really the enemy?

The Language of Persuasion


You Decide