Analyzing Advertisements Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

With this lesson plan, teachers can help their students understand what a media message is and teach them what to look for when analyzing various advertisements.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand a media message in advertising
  • Analyze various aspects of a media message (intended audience, purpose, etc.)


45 minutes


  • Several full-page magazine or newspaper advertisements

Key Vocabulary

At the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to identify and define the following vocabulary terms:

  • media
  • media message
  • representation
  • author
  • purpose
  • intended audience

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


  • Place the advertisements you have gathered up on the board.
  • Hold a short class discussion (5-10 minutes) asking your students their initial impressions of the advertisements. Some example discussion starters include:
    • What first strikes you about advertisement X?
    • What do you think these advertisements are trying to accomplish?
  • Have your students read the text lesson Analyzing Purpose in Media Messages

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