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Language Network, Grade 11
 
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Return to book index Chapter 30 : Vocabulary Development
ANALYZING MEDIA: Spoof Ads

ANALYZING MEDIA: Spoof Ads

Advertising is all around you. Some estimates suggest that you are exposed to 16,000 ads every day—on billboards, on buses, at the supermarket, in magazines and newspapers, on the Internet, and on TV. To what extent do these ads influence your buying decisions?

Advertisers spend billions of dollars each year for you to see their ads. Why? Because they know that advertising has a powerful effect on consumers. However, advertising does have its fair share of critics. In fact, many people are concerned about the negative effects of advertising on consumers.

Some critics express their concerns about advertising in the form of spoof ads. Click on this link Adbusters: Joe Chemo to view an example of a spoof ad that criticizes cigarette ads.

The spoof ad you just viewed is a parody of ads for Camel cigarettes, which use Joe Camel, a "cool" cartoon character, to sell the product. Many critics contend that Camel ads don't portray the dangers of smoking and make smoking look attractive to minors. When these ads were first introduced, Camel's income from sales to minors jumped from $6 million to $476 million. Instead of seeing Joe Camel smoking and enjoying good times, the spoof ad shows the mascot in the hospital battling cancer, a potential consequence of smoking.

Using what you've just learned, write an analysis of one of the following of spoof ads below. You may wish to use the Questions to Consider to guide you. Submit your analysis to the Language Network Writing Center. You may also wish to consider creating your own spoof ad. For more information about how to do this, see adbusters.org/spoofads/printad/.

Questions to Consider:
  1. Which aspect of advertising is this spoof ad criticizing? What is the message of the ad?
  2. How is the ad designed? What visual elements are used to grab your attention?
  3. What persuasive techniques (bandwagon, security, repetition, slogan, etc.) are used to "sell" the message?
  4. In your opinion, how effective is the spoof ad?

Bandwagon
A persuasive technique used in advertising. A bandwagon ad usually suggests that everyone is using the product. The intended effect is that consumers assume if other people are buying it, the product must be good.

Persuasive Techniques
The techniques used in advertisements to convince consumers to buy a product.

Repetition
A persuasive technique used in advertising. Words or images are shown or stated over and over to help people remember the message or the product.

Security
A persuasive technique that is used to make people feel as if their lives, jobs, or social standing will be in jeopardy—unless they buy a particular product.

Slogan
A short phrase-usually more memorable than meaningful—used in an advertisement or campaign.

Spoof Ads
Ads that are created specifically for the purpose of criticizing advertising messages and the effects these messages have on consumers.