1—Learning focus for the unit
Advertisements are persuasive texts. Many video advertisements use narrative to inform, engage and interest viewers emotionally and persuade them to take some form of action. This action may be to buy a product, sign a petition, attend an event, or change their behaviour. Sometimes (as in Can you live with dirty water?), the purpose is to raise awareness of an issue — the action or response required is not made explicit. In this unit students explore the use of narrative in video advertisements.
The successful marketing of bottled water is a means for students to explore how advertisers manufacture demand for products by exploiting our fears, insecurities and fantasies. Using the contrasting example of a campaign to raise awareness about the lack of clean water in developing countries, students will reflect on ways that advertising sets out to change minds and behaviour.
Explain to students that they will work in creative teams to write a script for a narrative-style public service advertisement to persuade viewers not to buy bottled water, relating this to the fact that, unlike people in many developing countries, most people in developed countries have access to clean tap water. Their advertisement will aim to change thinking and behaviour patterns by working on viewers’ senses, emotions and thoughts, perhaps using shock value or humour.
Reference texts for this unit of work are Beverly Derewianka (2011) A New Grammar Companion for Teachers , Primary English Teaching Association Australia, Sydney and Sally Humphrey, Louise Droga and Susan Feez (2012) Grammar and Meaning: An introduction for primary teachers, Primary English Teaching Association Australia, Sydney.