To prepare students for their first conference.
To facilitate an activity where students assume the role of marketers.
Connection to Course Goals
The marketing activity encourages students to think about marketers’ purposes, motivations, strategies and arguments. In thinking like a marketer, students gain the perspective and critical insight they need to interpret and analyze advertisements.
Conference Sign-Up (5 minutes)
Conferencing makes for a valuable opportunity to address students’ individual writing concerns. Rather than meeting for class next Thursday (September 29 th) students will meet with you individually to discuss their work on Portfolio I – Part C. Each student should schedule a 10 – 15 minute conference (you may determine the length of each individual conference). Since conferencing can take 4 -5 hours, you may want to spread the meetings out over a few days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday). While we understand that conferences are time consuming, we ask that you only cancel ONE class to conduct them (keep in mind that the time requirement for conferencing matches that of a class session when you consider that you do not have to prepare anything for class or grade extra work during these days).
Bring a sign up sheet to class with designated times outlined. Since students’ schedules vary, you should provide at least 24 different meeting times for a class of 19 students. Also, since conferences can run a bit over, be sure to schedule in some catch up time for yourself (especially if you’re meeting with several students in a row).
Before passing out the conference sign up sheet, explain :
Why you are conferencing (it is a valuable opportunity to address students’ writing and provide concrete guidance). In this case, you are meeting to discuss their writing for Portfolio I – Part C.
That class on Thursday, September 29 th is canceled for conferences.
When and where the conferences will take place (we recommend holding them in your office).
What your expectations are (i.e. students should be on time and prepared to discuss the direction for their paper).
Your requirements (i.e. you might require students to bring their ad and an outline or draft of their paper with them). We suggest holding students accountable for bringing something concrete to conference; this makes for a more productive session.
Once you’ve reviewed key points for conferencing, pass around the conference sheet and ask students to sign up. Remind them to write down the time they signed up for so they don’t forget to come.
Transition: Explain why we are doing the market activity, so they can think critically about the goals, strategies, and appeals that probably lie behind the advertisement that they are writing about.
Market a Produce Activity (20 minutes)
You (instructors) will likely need some materials for this activity, such as:
Blank overhead sheets
Or, large white paper and colorful markers
This activity should be conducted as a group, role-playing exercise where students pretend they are a team of marketers advertising their product to a specific audience. They may design a print advertisement for their activity (on an overhead sheet or on paper that you provide) or they may deliver their ad in the form of a short 2 -3 minute skit.
Before beginning this activity, think carefully about how to set it up. For example, you may ask students to develop their own product and market it to whatever audience they choose. Or, you might assign specific products and audiences to each group.
Sample Products and Audiences:
Acne cream for an audience of teenage boys.
Laundry detergent for an audience of environmentally minded individuals.
Fast food for an audience of kids ages 5 – 10.
Hard liquor for an audience of females in their twenties.
A beer product for an audience of blue-collar workers in their thirties.
A brand of top shelf whiskey for an audience of wealthy businesspeople in their late fifties.
Thoroughly explain the purpose of this activity. Also, let students know how much time they will have to design their ad. Be clear about the activity instructions before you assign groups and begin working.
Present Advertisements (10 minutes)
Here, each group should come to the front of the class and present their product. Ask them to explain:
Their product and target audience.
Their approach. What details and information did they include in their ad?
Why they thought this approach would be effective.
Reflect on Market a Product Activity (10 minutes)
Use this discussion to reflect on the previous activity. You might facilitate a whole class discussion here and write answers on the board as you go. Or, you might ask students to respond to the following questions in a WTL (Write to Learn) and then discuss their answers as a class. Either way, your goal here is to encourage students to determine what marketers’ purposes, strategies, assumptions and messages are.
So what was your purpose in completing this activity? What were you trying to accomplish (as a marketer)?
How did you attempt to meet your purpose? What was your strategy? In other words, what techniques did you use to encourage viewers to desire your product? Do you think your strategy was effective? Why?
What assumptions did your group make about your target audience? Do you think these assumptions are always true? Are they fair and accurate?
What messages does your ad subtly or blatantly communicate to a reader (i.e. If you want to escape the boredom of everyday life, drink Rumba Rum!) To what extent are these messages true?
Think about the purposes and strategies that real marketers use. How are they similar to the purposes and strategies your group used? How are they different? What assumptions do you think advertisers make about you? What strategies might they use to get you to desire their products?
If time: Ask students to look at the ads they brought in to class today. Then, discuss: What strategies are these marketers using? Who are they targeting? What assumptions are they making about their viewers?
Write a conclusion that links today’s activities to the next class or to the Portfolio I – Part C assignment. For example, “Now that we’ve considered how marketers rely on assumptions and implications to sell their products, we’ll begin to examine this more closely with the ads you find for homework and bring in to discuss.”
Note to GTAs: You will need to make the sample essay(s) available to students through The Writing Studio before assigning today’s homework. You can access the sample essay(s) in the appendix section of the online syllabus.
Find 2 alcohol advertisements – one that targets you or someone similar to you and one that does not target you (someone unlike you). ** Note: you may use one of the ads you’ve previously worked with for this activity. Then write two, 1 page, open responses where you address the following questions for each advertisement.
Where did you find this ad? Who typically reads this publication?
What features of the ad seem most important and why?
What assumptions are the marketers making about their audience? What do they assume they are like? What do they assume about their needs and desires? What do they assume about their emotions or relationships with others? How can you tell they make these assumptions? What features of the ad support your interpretation?
Does the ad make any implications? For example, does it imply that something good will come if you use this product? Does it imply that something bad might happen if you don’t use this product? Does it hint at any promises (i.e. You will be more attractive if you use this product)? Consider not only what the ad implies about the product, but also about race, gender, sexuality, power, control, etc…
What is your reaction to the ad’s assumptions and implications? Do you agree with these assumptions and implications? Why or why not? What effects might they have on viewers?
Bring both advertisements and your responses to class.