Online resources plus handouts for helping students learn about advertising/marketing/persuasion/propaganda 

New:  the new advertising literacy website


“Advertising is a critical part of our consumer-centric competition-based economic system, so much so that false or misleading advertising which distorts the system can’t be tolerated.”
FTC Chairman Deborah Platt speaking at ANA Conference, January 17, 2007

“Saatchi & Saatchi (worldwide ad agency) chief executive Kevin Roberts says great marketing is about emotion and empathy, seduction and dreams.”
Source:14 December 2006Marketing Week(UK)

“We exist to put commercials on the air. The programming that is put on between those commercials is simply the bait we put in the mousetrap.”
Former ABC Newsman Ted Koppel in Wash Post Interview

“The first step is to understand that TV is just a delivery system for ads. The only programming that really matters to those in power is the commercials (except on pay cable channels like HBO, where nothing matters except how many people subscribe). The success of a show is not measured by how good it is, or who says they loved it, or even how many people watch. A show is a success if the people who watched it go and buy the products that were advertised during the commercials. It is all about what is being sold and (just as important) who is doing the buying.”
Dean Batali,  Hollywood TV Writer

“Advertisements are a form of communication, not mere manipulation: they help make sense of the world, defining its differences and essences, filtering through its variety, making claims and constructing images.”
From NY Times 7/19/03 “New Encyclopedia Gives Cool Hunters A Road Map for Ads”

“Ads seem to work on the very advanced principle that a very small pellet or pattern in a noisy, redundant barrage of repetition will gradually assert itself.”
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964

“The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)


Advertising vs Reality
A German website,, has conducted a study of 100 different products by comparing the look of the products as shown by the packaging with the actual contents inside the boxes. Quoting the website, which is in German: “All products were purchased, the packaging photographed and the contents prepared and photographed too. All products were then eaten up.” and also: “The purpose of the project is not to discredit any brands or products but to critically compare the packaging advertising with the inside contents”.

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Teachers: If you have access to Infotrac or EBSCO, locate the article “Six Months and Half A Million Dollars, All for 15 Seconds” an excellent article from the October 1987 issue of Smithsonian magazine. It reviews what it takes to produce a commercial for television, including the costs, focus groups, research and pre and post production.

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