» Additional Lesson Ideas:
Assign students to create a visual representation of where advertising appears in their environment. Define an area to map (e.g., your school, a small neighborhood, etc.). Then let students determine how to count ads and how to represent the data they find. For example, students might create a color-coded blueprint of their school building to indicate the number of ads per square yard.
Follow up questions would include: How did you define "ad"? Where was advertising most common and what were the ads for? Can you draw any general conclusions about the prevalence or absence of advertising in your environment?
Communities across the United States are considering whether or not to sell naming rights to things that were once named after locations, contributors, function, or in honor of special achievement. Choose one of these reality-based scenarios: a subway station, a stadium built with tax dollars, or a local bridge. Divide the class into pro and con factions and arrange for them to research and then debate the merits of selling naming rights for the place you chose.
Follow up with a discussion about the function of civic space versus the function of commercial space. Should these two kinds of spaces be kept separate, or is it okay to merge them? What kind of space should your school be and why?
"The Persuaders" makes clear that marketing has an impact on society beyond its ability to convince consumers to buy a particular product or not. Ask students to consider the responsibilities of an advertiser in a democratic society and then assign them to develop a code of ethics for sponsors and creators of advertising.
To get started, students may want to look at some examples of advertising ethics policies, like the Vatican's statement on advertising. An industry example is available from the American Marketing Association.