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Language Network, Grade 8
Home > Language Network, Grade 8 > Chapter 31 > ANALYZING AND PRODUCING MEDIA: TV Commercials Past and Present
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ANALYZING AND PRODUCING MEDIA: TV Commercials Past and Present

ANALYZING AND PRODUCING MEDIA: TV Commercials Past and Present

You are an advertising executive in the present day. Imagine that new technology has allowed you to travel back in time. Your mission is to visit an ad agency in the past and speak to all the executives in the company about the future of TV advertising.

The employees at this agency have no idea what's in store for the advertising world. By tapping into your knowledge and expertise, the executives hope to rise above the competition and create new trends. You are the consultant who will help these executives produce TV commercials and ad campaigns that are ahead of their time.

Prepare an "ad brief" that you will distribute to your audience members during the meeting. Your brief should describe how advertising has changed and stayed the same over the years. By browsing through the first four sites below, you may find and view commercials from the past and present. Select the Advertising Age link to read reviews of new commercials, complete with videos of each critiqued ad.

Before you write your brief, you will need to make some decisions about this mission. See the Project Considerations section below for more information. Use this section to help you decide what questions you'll need to answer in your ad brief. Once you've finished, think about submitting your brief to the Language Network Writing Center.

Project Considerations

What Decade?

Before you travel back in time, you'll need to decide exactly where you are going. Will it be a relatively short trip to the 1980s? Or a longer trip to the 1950s? You may choose any decade between these years.

What Type of Ad Agency?

Decide on your audience. What type of TV advertising do the executives at the agency specialize in? For example, you may want to speak to a group of executives who specialize in TV spots for children's video games. Or you may choose to address executives who produce TV ads for cars. This will allow you to focus your brief on one specific area of advertising.
Research Tip:
Before you decide what type of agency you'll be visiting, check out some of the sites below to make sure you can find examples of commercials (from the past and present) you can use for research. Choose your agency's specialty based on the information available to you on the Internet.

What Will Executives Want to Know?

Once you've decided the specifics of your audience, try to anticipate the questions they might ask. Try to answer these questions in your brief.
Example: If you are talking to executives from the 1980s who specialize in ads for video games, you might first browse through the sites listed below to find examples of video game ads from the past and present. After viewing these ads, you might think about the following questions:

  • What are the major differences between the old and new ads?
  • What special effects are used in ads from the 1980s? from the present?
  • How does the use of sound and music differ between ads from '80s and the present?
  • What persuasive techniques are used in the ads?
  • Are ads from both times aimed at the same target audience?

A series of TV commercials, print ads, and online ads that share common elements, such as theme, plot, or characters.

Persuasive Techniques
The specific techniques used in advertisements to convince consumers to buy products. Examples of persuasive techniques include bandwagon, humor, snob appeal, product comparison, and repetition.

Special Effects
Special effects include manipulated video images, fast or slow motion, and computer-generated animation. These are often used in commercials for video games to grab viewers' attention and to make the games seem more exciting.

Another name for a TV commercial.

Target Audience
The group of people advertisers aim their pitch at. The members of a target audience often share certain characteristics, such as age, gender, ethnicity, values, or lifestyle.