Students explore how advertising persuades people to purchase goods or services. They examine how advertising uses a range of strategies to target consumers.

These activities explore how advertising persuades people to purchase goods or services. They examine how advertising uses a range of strategies to target consumers.

Learning outcomes:

  • identify a range of strategies used in advertising to target consumers
  • apply these strategies to their own advertising campaigns

Key concepts:

  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Financial decision-making


1. Appealing advertising

Collate some print examples of effective and appealing advertising. Share these with students in groups and have them analyse:

  • the audience the advertiser is appealing to
  • the content of the images in the advertisement
  • why the advertisement appeals or does not appeal to them.

Discuss with the class how advertisements are designed to encourage people to buy products or donate to a cause.

Have the students rate the advertisements for their effectiveness on a scale of 1 (ineffective) to 10 (highly effective).

2. Advertising strategies

Have the students examine a series of advertisements, some in print and some in video format. The advertisements can be sourced by the teacher or by the students. The Fair Go Ad Awards(external link) may be a useful source.

The students can list the strategies that are employed in the advertisements to make them effective. Strategies might include:

  • the appearance and endorsements of celebrities
  • the endorsements of “experts” (authentic and inauthentic)
  • endorsements from consumers
  • reduced prices, random prizes for consumers, “two for the price of one” offers
  • attractive background music and settings
  • the use of humour to draw consumers in
  • guarantees of after-sales service
  • emotional content that appeals to consumers’ emotions or values.

Discuss with the students how advertising on social media can be targeted to individual consumers. Big advertisers are willing to purchase people’s online profile information to better target their audiences for advertisements. Discuss how fun, online quizzes and surveys may be designed to elicit information that is useful to advertisers.

Discuss with students some examples of false or misleading advertising from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website. Prompt students to tell their stories or relate experiences they may have had with misleading or false advertising.

Students can access advice about how to deal with misleading prices or advertising on the Consumer Protection website .

3. Create an advertisement

Students can use some of the strategies they identified in the advertisements they examined to develop an advertising campaign for a product or issue of their choice.

Their campaign should include:

  • at least one advertisement (print or digital, static or video)
  • a campaign plan, outlining where the advertisement/s will be placed and how often they are expected to be viewed
  • an analysis of the target market
  • an element of financial commitment from the consumer the advertisement/s are aimed at. (Advertisements for a social good could request that a donation is made to an appropriate registered charity.)
  • procedures to check that the advertisements contain accurate information and do not make false or misleading claims.

Students can pilot their advertisements with other students, family members, and friends for feedback on their effectiveness.

At the completion of this activity have the students reflect on their advertising strategies in their learning logs.