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Play (and Win) the Commercial Game! (Show 1149)

Did you know that commercials are games advertisers play with you? The object of the game is to convince you to buy their product, or in other words: They want your money! If you're not able to buy their product on your own, then they're after your parents' money, and the best way to achieve that is to get you to beg your parents to buy it. So, when you see a commercial for a certain toy, movie or food item and then beg your parents to buy it for you, the advertisers have won the game! And they have all kinds of tricks to help them win. But you don't have to let them win your mind or your money. You can be the winner instead, by thinking a little about the commercial by answering the questions listed below. Since commercials are so short, you may want to use a VCR to study them more in depth. It could even be an ongoing family project. Here are some questions to think about when viewing commercials (some questions are geared more toward older children) followed by a couple experiments you may want to try:
 
1) What product is the commercial trying to sell?
 
2) What do the advertisers want you to feel or think when you view the commercial? (And how do they go about accomplishing this?
 
3) Are the commercial's claims realistic? Are there any "super sayings" in the commercial, such as "the best ever?"
 
4) Is it realistic to expect that you will feel or be like the people in the commercial if you buy the product?
 
5) Does the commercial contain incomplete truths or fake phrases? What are the missing parts? (Example: It may look really cool, but it'll probably break soon after you buy it. )
 
6) Is the commercial directed toward a certain age group?
 
7) Is the commercial directed more toward men/boys or women/girls?
 
8) Do the people in the commercial look like real people?
 
9) Do the people in the commercial act like real people?
 
10) Do the people in the commercial seem intelligent?
 
11) Are there any stereotypes in the commercial?
 
12) As an experiment, you can compare toys, cereal, snacks, etc. to their commercial claims. (How wonderful and exciting are they *really*?)
 
13) Make up your own commercials for things you have around the house. How do you feel when you're making the commercial? Do you feel natural or fake?
 
14) Try making a commercial about a meal you don't like, to see how advertisers can make even yucky things look great.
 
15) Watch fewer commercials by turning them off!

 

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