Lesson #1: How does a public service ad differ from other advertisements?


Students will be able to:
explain how public service ads differ from regular advertisements.
A famous public service ad
The Internet
List some famous advertising slogans on the board and ask the class to identify the product (We try harder; The pause that refreshes; Just do it; Breakfast of champions; Does she or doesn't she?; Where's the beef?; Look Ma, no cavities) What is the purpose of advertising? Show one or more famous public service ads like We Can Do It (Rosie the Riveter), Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires(Smokey the Bear), and Uncle Sam Wants You!(WWII military). All students can see the same ad on the computer or in print.
  • What is the message of this ad?
  • How is the purpose of this ad different from the ones we just discussed?
  • When do you think it was created? What makes you think so?
  • Why do you think it's a successful ad?
  • In what ways can this ad be compared to a work of art?
  • How do the visual elements contribute to its success?
  • How do the design principles contribute to its success?
What are some problems currently affecting our society that you feel strongly about? (AIDS prevention, drunk driving, domestic violence, child abuse, high school drop-outs, teenage pregnancy, our environment, global warming, drug prevention, online dating, puppy mills, saving wildlife, etc.)List answers on board. Ask a student to copy the list so you can make a hand-out for future use or have students copy them into their notebooks. Think about ads you have seen, either on television or in magazines, addressing any of these issues. Describe them. What was it about this ad that made it memorable? Explain that their project will be to use the computer to create a public service ad that incorporates an appropriate image, slogan, sponsor, and use of text and composition to create an effective ad.
Look through magazines, newspapers, or the internet and bring in at least one public service ad. In writing, answer the following questions:
  • What is the message of this ad?
  • Who is the audience for this ad?
  • Do you think it's a successful ad? Why or why not?
  • Describe how the designer used the visual elements and the design principles.