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Teacher Tips and Answers

Warm-Up for Advertising a Product

The world around you is filled with advertisements, from click-bait on Web sites to commercials on television to billboards along interstate highways. One of the most common forms of persuasive writing is advertising.

How Can I Advertise a Product?

Advertise a Product
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When you write to advertise a product, you think about what your readers want and match your product to their needs. “Wear these shoes, and jump higher!” “Use this lipstick, and look better!” “Drive this car, and be popular!” Advertisers make claims like these all the time. They try to convince you that their products do amazing things. They promise that you will look more attractive, get better grades, win friends, gain respect from adults, or accomplish your goals. Of course, many ads exaggerate their claims and manipulate viewers and readers.

In this unit, you will be asked to write an essay that fairly persuades others about the value of a product, such as a kind of food (breakfast bars) or a piece of technological equipment (virtual-reality headset). Persuasion is one of the most challenging kinds of writing because its purpose is to get people to act or to think in a new way. Your job is to convince readers to agree with your opinion. You must make a strong argument, yet you must also be truthful in what you say.

Thinking About Advertisements

How do effective advertisements work? They start by meeting a need or desire that the audience has. How? They use appealing images of the product, memorable slogans about it, and a call to action to get the audience to buy. You can experiment with those forms of persuasion below.

Teaching Tip

To introduce this topic, you can show your students a series of commercials, including humorous ones and ones that tug at the heart strings. Afterward, you can lead a discussion about what the advertisers were trying to get viewers to buy, and what appeals they used to influence the audience.

Think about products.

Answer the following questions to warm up your thinking about advertising a product. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  1. What is your favorite food? (Be as specific as you can, such as "Murray's Hawaiian Pizza.)
  2. (Answers will vary.)

  3. What is your favorite movie? (Be specific.)
  4. (Answers will vary.)

  5. Who is your favorite musician or band?
  6. (Answers will vary.)

  7. What is your favorite mode of transportation?
  8. (Answers will vary.)

  9. What other product would you enjoy advertising?
  10. (Answers will vary.)

  11. Choose one of your answers as a product to advertise in this warm-up.
  12. (Answers will vary.)

  13. Why do you like this particular product?
  14. (Answers will vary.)

  15. Why would readers like this particular product?
  16. (Answers will vary.)

  17. What image could you use to sell this product? (drawing, photo, logo, gif, video?)
  18. (Answers will vary.)

  19. What slogan could you use to sell this product?
  20. (Answers will vary.)

  21. What command would you give to get readers to buy the product?
  22. (Answers will vary.)

Create an advertisement.

Create an original advertisement for the product you chose in the last activity. Include a sketch of the product, a catchy slogan, and a call to action.

Teaching Tip

Help students realize that advertisements combine words and images to connect a product to the needs of the audience. Persuasion works only if it is focused on the reader, not the writer.

Reviewing Advertisements

The true test of an advertisement is whether it motivates readers to buy the product. As a result, sharing your advertisement with classmates will help you understand what worked well (and what could work better).

Share your advertisement.

Trade ads with a classmate and review each other's work. Answer the following questions to help you think about your classmate's ad, and have the person answer the same questions about your ad. Then meet and discuss your work. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  1. What part of the advertisement appeals to you most? Why?
  2. (Answers will vary.)

  3. What part of the advertisement appeals to you least? Why?
  4. (Answers will vary.)

  5. Does the ad make you more or less likely to buy the product? Why?
  6. (Answers will vary.)

  7. If you could offer your partner just one suggestion for improving this advertisement, what would you say?
  8. (Answers will vary.)

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