The Purpose of Advertising


Students will investigate the influence of advertising on their daily lives by introducing them to the different types of advertisements found in a newspaper and other media.


1 class period, about 45 minutes


  • Chart paper
  • Markers, pencils, pens
  • Copies of newspapers
  • Notebooks or journals
  • Glue sticks

The Lesson:

  1. This is a think, pair and share activity. On chart paper write the following question: What is the purpose of advertising?
  2. Ask students to think about the question and with a partner come up with an answer. Give students a few minutes to think it through. Possible answers will be to sell something, or promote an idea or service. Sell, idea and service are the three key words you are looking for.
  3. Ask students to share their ideas by writing their definitions on the chart paper. You may want to post several sheets of chart paper on the board to save time.
  4. Have students read their answers out loud.
  5. Post 3 pieces of chart paper on the board with the headings sell, service and idea.
  6. Ask students to come up with a short list of products sold through advertising. Write the answers on chart paper.
  7. Ask students to list services promoted through advertising. Write the answers on chart paper (i.e. a house cleaning service.)
  8. Ask students to list ideas promoted through advertising. This is a more challenging concept to understand. If students seem puzzled, provide an example, such as smoking is bad for your health.
  9. In class, or for homework, have each student find an example of each of three common types of advertisements. In addition to traditional ads, students may also bring in copies of classified ads.
  10. When students have selected their ads, ask them to post them under the headings of sell, service and idea.
  11. Keep the 3 pieces of chart paper with the headings, sell, service and idea for future use.