The Target (part 1)


Students will gain awareness of how advertisements are targeted to demographics and how they, as consumers, are influenced by advertising.


1 class period, about 45 minutes
This lesson could be assigned as homework.


  • Copies of newspapers
  • Language notebooks or media journals
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks

The Lesson:

  1. Distribute copies of newspapers.
  2. Ask students to find an ad they like in a newspaper and make a note of where they found it within the newspaper.
  3. Once they have found the ad, have them cut it out and paste it in their notebook or journal. Have them place the ad (if it is small enough) in the centre of the page. If the ad is too large, paste it on a piece of paper so that arrows can be drawn to the words and images.
  4. Ask students to take the ad apart by analyzing the image. Consider everything from the choice of colours in objects to the size of the print. Each time a defining factor (gender, age, emotion) is identified, have students draw an arrow to the factor. First look at the photography or illustration. Who appears in the ad? (Boy, Girl, Man, Woman, Age). If there are no people in the ad, try to define the image as feminine or masculine. Be specific. What exactly in the image or words directs it to males or females, the young or the old?
    Many students will choose an ad that is directed at their age group or gender. If this is the case, look for the defining word or image that targets this group.
  5. In their notebooks or media journal have students answer the following questions:
  • Who does this ad target?
  • Why was this ad in a particular section of the newspaper?
  • Why did you choose this particular ad?
  • How did the ad make you feel about yourself?
  • Would you buy, use or support this product, service or idea? Or would you not?
  • What factors would you take into account when you make a decision to purchase a
    product or support a cause?


Check for understanding of key concept (target audiences and influences) by collecting the ads and written responses.