Advertisement Project: Teaching Persuasion

I know that everyone who has to teach persuasion has done this at least one time in their teaching career.  So I’m not proposing anything new.  I’m just putting mine out into the ether.

Hands down, the best way to get teenagers to understand persuasion is to appeal to their hungry little consumer on the inside.  It seems like, for about of month out of the year, I become an expert in commercials.  And once the kids begin to break it down, see how advertisements work, see how marketers use formulaic methods to get people to buy their stuff even without realizing their being marketed to, the kids want to try their hands at it. 

The Advertisement Assignment is pretty simple: the kids work in pairs to create a print ad or a commercial for an assigned product.  They get a blurb of what the product is about, and they have to create a name, a logo, and a tagline with a clear message, all while using persuasive elements that they’ve learned from over the course of the unit.  Other than those instructions, their on their own.
The rubric is super simple.  I didn’t want to make grading too hard.  Honestly, I follow the rubric with the designated amount of points.  For the subjective points, I usually go for the completion grade.  Can I tell that they tried?  Awesome.  Did they show they understand persuasion?  20 points for the win.

I’ve gotten some really great work from this project.  One year, a pair of boys filmed a commercial for the sports drink using their entire soccer team.  Another year, I had a pair of girls (who were into arts and crafts as a hobby) actually create their own jewelry line for a print ad.

Anywho, if you’re interested in the handout, you can get it for free here.