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Convincing Commercials
Teacher: Tyler McBride
Focus of Unit: Propaganda, advertising, and visual texts
Grade Level: 7 to 9
Common Core
State Standards
RI.8.1 - Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports
an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as
inferences drawn from the text.
RI.8.6 - Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a
text and analyze how the author acknowledges and
responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
RI.8.7 - Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of
using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video,
multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
W.8.4 - Produce clear and coherent writing in which the
development, organization, and style are appropriate to
task, purpose, and audience.
SL.8.2 - Analyze the purpose of information presented in
diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively,
orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial,
political) behind its presentation.
SL.8.3 - Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims,
evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance
and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when
irrelevant evidence is introduced.
Unit Objectives
The students will be able to:
– Understand and use basic film terms (e.g., high angle, low
angle, establishing shot, long shot, and close up).
– Understand basic propaganda/persuasive techniques
(e.g., bandwagon, testimonial, and card stacking).
– Analyze the methods creators of propaganda and
advertising use to persuade the viewer.
– Apply their knowledge of persuasion and visual texts to
create a commercial for a product they create.
Final Summative
Group assessment: The students will work in groups to write a
commercial script for a product they create. The script will
include any dialogue, stage directions, and camera angles.
Then, the students will film and edit the commercials using
windows movie maker or a similar software. In the final
product, the students will include an explanation of their
choices of color, camera angles, images, and editing
Individual assessment: The students will draw their own
propaganda posters on a topic that relates to their school or
their life. Then, the students will write a short paragraph
explaining their choices of color and images for the poster.
Instructional Tools
and Activities
Week 1:
– Introduction – Ask students to quick write about their
favorite commercials and why they stand out in their mind.
View various commercials and begin discussing how they
attempt to persuade the viewer (see suggested videos in
the resource section below).
– Introduce propaganda/persuasive techniques (see
“Persuasion” Prezi in resource section below).
– Introduce camera angles/shot vocabulary and discuss
how those effect the viewer (see “Camera Vocabulary”
Prezi in resource section below).
– Discuss how colors in visual texts create different emotional
– Application – During one lesson, give students a variety of
old magazines. Give them a time limit, and ask them to
find as many examples of persuasive techniques as
possible and be able to explain them.
Week 2:
– Introduction – Lead a discussion with students and write on
the board what students already know about propaganda
in order to determine their prior knowledge.
– Introduce and define propaganda (see “Propaganda”
Prezi in resource section below).
– Watch and analyze the Disney “Taxes” propaganda video
(a link is provided below).
– Application – During one lesson, give students a variety of
printed propaganda posters and ask them to analyze
them in small groups using vocabulary and the analysis
method the teacher has modeled. One possible way to
accomplish this is to set up stations around the room with
different propaganda posters at each table. If necessary
or helpful, use the “Propaganda Poster” worksheet at the
end of this document.
– Application – Introduce the individual assessment
explained above.
Week 3:
Begin the commercial project. Show the teacher's model
video and script, then allow students to evaluate it using
the project rubric. Then, divide the students into groups,
assign them a product, and allow them to begin
completing the “Marketing Background” sheet and writing
their script. Suggested product ideas: breakfast cereal,
sports drink, candy bar, board game, or video game. If
time, begin filming.
Week 4:
Begin/continue filming. Begin editing videos.
Week 5:
Continue editing videos. On the last day or two, watch all
of the class videos and discuss their effectiveness. Have
students write a quick write reflecting on what they have
learned throughout this unit.
Resources and
Camera Vocabulary
Suggested Videos:
Nolan's Cheese Commercial
Disney “Taxes” Propaganda Video
Teacher's example
Various commercials of the teacher's choosing. For
additional ideas, look at recent super bowl commercials.
Propaganda Posters:
Date:________ Period:___
Propaganda Posters
1. Who is the poster's audience?
2. What is the poster's message? What is it telling the viewer to do?
3. What colors are in the poster? What effect do these colors have?
4. Are there any important symbols in the poster? If so, what effect do they have?
5. Are there any of the persuasive techniques from your notes on this poster? If so,
what are they? What effect do they have?
6. Are there any examples of logos, ethos, or pathos in the poster? If so, what effect
do they have?
Date:________ Period:___
Marketing Background
1. Who is your target audience? How old are they? Are you targeting one gender in
particular? Be specific.
2. What are the unique characteristics of your product? Why would someone want
to buy it? What makes it different from everything else out there?
3. Name your product. Why is this the name? If you want, include a slogan.
4. Which marketing technique will you use? Why?
5. What colors will you try to use in your ad? Why?
6. Start planning the specifics of your ad. What is the situation? What is the setting?
What characters will be in your ad? What will happen?
Example Script
Commercial opens to Dr. McBride sitting at a desk in an office. Mid shot on McBride's face.
Dr. McBride: Do you have a cold? Does your nose run so much that it feels like your brains are
going to ooze out through your nose? Do you cough so much that it feels like your
going to hack up a lung? If so, then try Dr. McBride's Miracle Cure.
Fade to actor coughing and sneezing. Mid shot, black and white.
Dr. McBride's Miracle Cure solves the sneezing, running nose, and coughing that
keeps you from doing everyday chores, playing with your kids, or going to work
and earning your living. Don't let cold symptoms keep you from doing what you
Fade to picture of Dr. McBride's miracle cure. Pan across image.
Dr. McBride's patented Miracle Cure System is made from all natural ingredients
and is allergen free. Simply take one pill every twelve hours and you will be free
from pain all day long.
Fade to actor running and skipping out of building and leaping into the air.
You will be free enjoy your day without an oozing nose or hacking cough. You
won't be forced to teach with a hoarse voice or work with a splitting headache.
With the miracle cure system, you can spend the day however you like. Let Dr.
McBride's cure take away all of your problems. Try it today! It's available
wherever medicines are sold.
Freeze on long shot of actor leaping into the air.
(In a sped-up voice) These statements have not been evaluated by the food and
drug administration. Please do not take while driving or operating heavy
machinery. Dr. McBride's Miracle Cure is not a real product and this commercial
is intended for demonstration purposes only.
I used the testimonial persuasive technique to attempt to convince the viewers that my product
was legitimate and trustworthy. A doctor was the subject of the testimonial. He narrated the
commercial, which also added credibility to the commercial (an example of ethos).
The commercial showed an actor who had not taken the advertised medicine, and this portion of
the video was in black and white. This lack of color reinforced the viewer's negative feelings
toward being sick. Later, the video transitioned into color, which created a happier mood at the
end of the video.
Commercial Rubric
0 to 2
3 to 4
5 to 6
7 to 8
Little evidence that color,
Presentation camera angles, and/or editing
were purposefully chosen.
Color, camera angles, and/or
Uses color, camera angles,
Purposefully and carefully uses
editing may be poorly chosen or and/or editing to create mood or color, camera angles, and
affect the viewer.
editing affect the viewer and
create a mood.
Some performers forget lines,
miss cues, or distract the
audience. Few or no props
Hard to hear or understand,
remember many of their lines
and cues, and use some props.
Actors speak with clear voices,
know most of their lines and
cues, and are mostly prepared
with props.
Performers articulate clearly,
know all lines and cues, and are
all prepared with props and/or
The team does not use
persuasive techniques, logos,
ethos, or pathos.
The revised script is irrelevant
or difficult to understand.
Attempts to use either one
persuasive technique or one
example of logos, ethos, or
Some words in the script may be
chosen to affect the viewer, but
the revised script overall is
confusing or poorly written.
Includes some stage/camera
The team attempts to explain
some of their design decisions,
including persuasive techniques,
color, and/or camera angles.
Packaging or label provided, but
shows no preparation.
Appropriately uses either one
persuasive technique or one
example of logos, ethos, or
The revised script is well written
and uses specific words to
attempt to affect the reader.
Includes relevant stage/camera
Uses one persuasive technique
and one example of logos, ethos,
or pathos OR two persuasive
The revised script is well written
and uses carefully chosen words
to affect the viewer. Includes
complete stage/camera
The team explains most of their
design decisions, including
persuasive techniques, color,
and/or camera angles.
Packaging or label is appropriate
for product but lacks creativity
or interest.
The team completely explains
their design decisions, including
persuasive techniques, color, and
camera angles.
Product packaging is eyecatching and shows creativity
Explanation No explanation is included, or
the explanation is irrelevant
Product &
Little or no packaging/label.