6th Grade - Identify Propaganda And False Information

Speaking and Listening
Identify propaganda and false information
Identify persuasive and propaganda techniques used in television and identify false and misleading information.
Be able to identify persuasion and propaganda techniques used in the media as well as the manipulation of information to influence viewers.

Sample Problems


What kind of persuasive techniques do you see on television? (advertising, shows with lessons or message, biased news reporting)


What is propaganda? (An attempt to influence an audience through emotions rather than reason)


Why is propaganda effective? (it appeals to human emotions, which can be more powerful than logic)


What are some techniques that advertisers use to get you to buy a product? (imply that you will be a better or more attractive person if you use the product; use a celebrity to endorse a product; say that everyone is using the product, etc.)


What are some ways that advertisers are able to say things that are partially true or untrue? (use misleading statistics, use very general or vague terms, issue disclaimers)

Learning Tips


What product is this advertising? What does the photo imply that using the product will do for you?


Why do you think “Drink responsibly” is so much smaller and harder to read than the ad text and the brand name/slogan?


This is not an advertisement, but it is seen on TV by millions of viewers. What product is being indirectly promoted? Do you think this kind of indirect promotion is free, or does it cost money?


What product is being advertised here and what techniques are used to advertise it?


Watch TV tonight during “prime time” for 2 hours. Keep a journal of the advertisements you see, what product they are selling, and what techniques they are using to sell it. Also look for other “messages” during the broadcast, including product placement, that are intended to persuade TV viewers to do, believe, or buy something.

Extra Help Problems


Below are 10 common advertising strategies for the children’s market. As you watch TV, go online, and read magazines this week, see if you can find at least one example of each strategy.


1. Ideal Kids

The kids in commercials are often a little older and a little more perfect than the target audience of the ad. They are, in other words, role models for what the advertiser wants children in the target audience to think they want to be like. A commercial that is targeting eight year-olds, for instance, will show 11 or 12 year-old models playing with an eight year old's toy.


2. Heart Strings

Commercials often create an emotional ambience that draws you into the advertisement and makes you feel good. The McDonald's commercials featuring father and daughter eating out together, or the AT&T Reach Out and Touch Someone ads are good examples. We are more attracted by products that make us feel good.


3. Amazing Toys

Many toy commercials show their toys in life-like fashion, doing incredible things. Airplanes do loop-the-loops and cars do wheelies, dolls cry and spring-loaded missiles hit gorillas dead in the chest. This would be fine if the toys really did these things.


4. Life-like Settings

Barbie struts her stuff on the beach with waves crashing in the background, space aliens fly through dark outer space and all-terrain vehicles leap over rivers and trenches. The rocks, dirt, sand and water don't come with the toys, however.


5. Sounds Good

Music and other sound effects add to the excitement of commercials. Sound can make toys seem more life-like or less life-like, as in a music video. Either way, they help set the mood advertisers want.


6. Cute Celebrities

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sell pizza. Spuds McKenzie sells beer. "Joe Cool" camel sells cigarettes. All of these are ways of helping children identify with products either now or for the future.


7. Selective Editing

Selective editing is used in all commercials, but especially in commercials for athletic toys like frisbees or footballs. Commercials show only brilliant catches and perfect throws. Unfortunately, that's not the way most children experience these toys.


8. Family Fun.

"This is something the whole family can do together!" or "This is something Mom will be glad to buy for you." Many commercials show parents enjoying their children's fun as if the toy will bring more family togetherness.


9. Excitement!

Watch the expressions on children's faces. Never a dull moment, never boring. "This toy is the most fun since fried bananas!" they seem to say. How can your child help thinking the toy's great?


10. Star Power.

Sports heroes, movie stars, and teenage heart throbs tell our children what to eat and what to wear. Children listen, not realizing that the star is paid handsomely for the endorsement.


Explain this quotation: "In our factory, we make lipstick; in our advertising, we sell hope." (Charles Revson, creator of Revlon cosmetics)


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