Media Moments Western Reserve Public Media

Business Behind the Business


Interpreting Advertising Messages — Middle School and High School

Commercials or public service announcements are messages that want us to buy, think or behave in a certain way. Commercials are the key to funding the news. Advertisers try to use a message that will appeal to the audience with which they are working. Advertising works!! We need to increase our knowledge and critical thinking skills to help us offset the power of advertising.

Students will make a commercial or a public service announcement to convince their target audience of the need to buy their product or change their behavior.

Commercials are attempts by producers to encourage you to buy their products.

Public Service Announcements are commercials that sell ideas instead of products. A public service announcement should attempt to convince people of a certain idea, for example how to solve a particular problem.



Student will discuss the power of advertising.

Student will write a commercial or a public service announcement and present it to the class.


(Subject area objectives will depend on the topic selected. The objectives listed below are those that would be accomplished while doing research on their topic.)

Grade 6 — Writing
The student will use the writing process to...

a. focus on the topic with adequate supporting ideas or examples
d. communicate clarity of thought


Grade 6 — Reading
Given a nonfiction text to read, the student will...

10. analyze the text…
11. summarize the text;
12. infer from the text
13. respond to the text


Grade 10 — Reading
Given a variety of selections, students will...

3. Recognize an author’s purpose and attitude (bias/slant).
4. Support an interpretation by locating specific information
12. Evaluate the effectiveness of resource material for a specific audience/purpose.



Web, Word Processor, Material that each group requires



  1. Have the students watch a news story or a documentary

  2. The students will decide on a message from that show that  they would like to get across to their peers. (An alternative approach is for the teachers to have topics already selected and allow students to choose their topic.)

  3. Conduct research on the topic using the Web, the library, interview, etc.

  4. The group will determine the format for the presentation of your ideas — PowerPoint, HyperStudio, poster board, video, skit, etc.

  5. Students will create their presentation

  6. Students will present to their class, on morning announcement, etc.



Teacher will evaluate content of the announcement

The following rubric will be used for evaluation.

CATEGORY 4 3 2 1
Organization Student presents information in logical, interesting sequence which audience can follow. Student presents information in logical sequence which audience can follow. Audience has difficulty following presentation because student jumps around. Audience cannot understand presentation because there is no sequence of information.
Content Knowledge Student demonstrates full knowledge (more than required). Student is at ease with content, but fails to elaborate. Student is uncomfortable with content and is able to demonstrate basic concepts. Student does not have grasp of information; student cannot answer questions about subject.
Visuals Student used visuals to reinforce screen text and presentation. Visuals related to text and presentation. Student occasional used visuals that rarely support text and presentation. Student used no visuals.
Mechanics Presentation has no misspellings or grammatical errors. Presentation has no more than two misspellings and/or grammatical errors. Presentation had three misspellings and/or grammatical errors. Student’s presentation had four or more spelling errors and/or grammatical errors.
Delivery Student used a clear voice and correct, precise pronunciation of terms. Student’s voice is clear. Student pronounces most words correctly. Student incorrectly pronounces terms. Audience members have difficulty hearing presentation. Student mumbles, incorrectly pronounces terms, and speaks too quietly for students in the back of class to hear.

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