This activity is designed to provide information on how e-cigarettes/vape pens advertisements are constructed to appeal to youth so youth can identify how they are being manipulated by the industry to become lifelong customers.
Materials Needed: Easel paper and markers, Print advertisements (e-cigarette/vape pen ads can be found at the Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising website)
Handout: “Examples of Memorable Ads”, “Deconstructing Advertisements Worksheet”), Computer, UNIT 4: WHY DO E-CIGARETTESS/VAPES MATTER TO YOUNG PEOPLE? PowerPoint (starting at slide 23),Internet Access, and a Projector
Brainstorm (10 Minutes)
•Think of an advertisement that you really like
•Now think of one that really annoys you
•Turn to a partner and share the ad that you thought about and why
•If you’re having trouble, you can use these examples for reference (click)
(After about 1-2 minutes, ask for a few volunteers to share an ad that came to mind.)
•What are some of the things that the different ads have in common? [Record responses on the board or easel paper.]
•What are some of the things that the advertisers did to get your attention? (i.e., funny, famous spokesperson, attractive people, etc.) [Record responses on the board or easel paper.]
•Companies spend a lot of money figuring out how to get the attention of the people who they would like to buy their product.
•E-cigarette companies are no different. In 2014, e-cigarettes/vape pens advertising totaled $88.1 million
•Why do you think that companies are willing to spend so much money on advertising?
•Does anyone know what a target audience is?
Combine responses from a few students to form a class definition.
If needed, summarize with the following definition: A target audience is a specific group of people, for which a particular product is aimed.
Deconstructing Advertising Messages (10 Minutes)
Talking Point: We're going to be looking at how ads are made, and how they work to twist the truth and try and change your mind about a product.
Procedure: Using the “Unit 4: Activity 3: Deconstructing Advertisements” worksheet, ask the students to get into pairs and deconstruct an e-cigarettes/vape pens ad. Provide each pair with an ad and ask them to answer the questions on their deconstructing advertisements worksheet. If time allows, ask for pairs to share their ad and responses to one of more questions on the handout.
Creating New Ads/Messages (20 minutes):
Talking Point: Let’s imagine that there is a new law and the advertisers for e-cigarettes/vape pens have to be 110% honest about their product, including what they do and don’t know. How might the ads be different?
Procedure: Provide each group with poster paper and markers and ask them to rewrite/design their ad, based on their new 110% honest slogan.
Depending on how much time you have, either have each group present their ad to the group (this will take longer) or have each group hang their ad around the room so everyone can do a gallery walk to view all of the ads.
Possible Discussion Questions:
- Today we focused on print advertising. This is only one type of advertising that companies use to get our attention.
- What are some other types of advertising that we encounter in our daily lives? (social media, TV/radio commercials, online ads, product placement, posters at stores, event sponsorship, etc.)
- Ask specifically about ads that are marketed towards youth on places such as Facebook or Instagram, or through Google/Yahoo searches.
- Why is it important for us to be aware of and understand advertising strategies and messages?
- Explanation/response: Advertising is ALL around us. It is important that we are aware of the ways in which companies try to recruit us as customers.