Love Your Body Day
   'Everyone is Beautiful' - graphic designed by Kristine Osborne

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Love Your Body: Tips for Talking to Students About Advertising

Teachers: Talk to your students about advertising! Discuss the messages that ads convey—youth, beauty, thinness. Address the negative words to look for in an ad—reduce, enhance, hide, erase, remove, etc. Discuss how ads make the students feel about themselves and how they view others who don't meet the criteria of "supermodel." How do the students feel about their favorite stars, bands, etc., who smoke in films?

Television ads for toys are a great topic—why do students want the toy? Will the toy live up to the ad's promises? Tape some toy commercials and have a discussion about the promises the toy companies make.

Cut out ads from age-appropriate magazines and place them around the classroom. Send pairs of students around the class to evaluate the ads. The students should evaluate each ad:

  What product is the ad selling?
  What negative or positive language does the ad use?
  Who is the market audience?
  What is the ad really trying to sell?

Once the class is finished reviewing the ads, talk about your findings. Pick the worst ad and let the class write individual letters to the company marketing director to let her/him know how the ad made them feel. Send the ad with the letters.

End the discussion with a list of things the class can do to avoid the negative feelings they get from ads. Encourage them to write to a company's marketing director every time they see an ad that they don't like. (Don't forget to enclose the ad!)

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