Media Literacy Lesson Plan: Recognizing
Student Resource: Rinselle
Media Type: Print Advertisement
Health Topic: Personal Health,
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
- Recognize the importance of personal hygiene and grooming.
- Demonstrate health advocacy skills in an original advertisement.
- Apply the media literacy skill of recognizing unreliable
testimony to an ad for a hair care product.
Introducing the Lesson
Ask students to secretly cast a ballot for the celebrity
they would most like to meet. Collect ballots, and read aloud
some of the choices. Note that all of the individuals named
are attractive people. Discuss whether an attractive appearance
simply "happens" or whether these celebrities have
proper hygiene habits, including washing their hair, bathing,
and so on. Note that personal hygiene is especially important
for teens, whose bodies are undergoing changes that can result
in, among other things, facial blemishes.
Download or bring to class images of shampoos and other hair
care products. Ask whether students are aware of chemical
differences among them. (They will in all likelihood not be).
Note that the choice of grooming products is a matter of personal
taste. Ask how students go about choosing these products for
themselves. Elicit whether anyone ever bought a product on
the strength of a celebrity endorsement.
Point out that such endorsements are a form of propaganda,
a media technique for selling an idea, goods, or services
on false pretenses. Note that testimonialswhether they
come from athletes, movie stars, recording artists, or other
people in the public eyeshould be considered for what
they are: unreliable testimony. Illustrate the point by having
students brainstorm TV commercials currently aired that feature
a celebrity. Ask them to name the celebrity, the product,
and whether that celebrity is widely considered an expert
on this product. Direct students to the ad for shampoo in
the Student Resources.
Assign the following to student groups to use in their media
analysis. You may either follow up the analysis with a class
discussion of group answers, or may assign the analysis to
be applied by individual students to another media construction
- Awareness. What does the picture show? Who is the
main focus of this picture? At whom do you think this advertisement
- Analysis. Does the ad explain what makes Torio
Alvarez an authority on hair care products? Do his words
convince you of his expertise? If not, why not?
- Evaluation. Do you think this ad is sending a message
about health? Why or why not? Is the message persuasive?
What could have been done to make it more persuasive?
- Communication. If you saw this ad in a magazine,
would you stop to look at it? Would you read the words in
it? Would the ad make you want to try this product? Why
or why not?
Applying Media Skills
In order to judge whether a particular media construction
featuring a celebrity is an example of propaganda, you need
to know whether that person is a legitimate authority on the
subject. Some celebrities, for example, have devoted their
free time, and even money, to a cause such as the health of
Choose one of the celebrity endorsers discussed during the
pre-analysis discussion of this ad. Investigate that individual
using print or online resources. Then create your own written
non-propaganda advertisement for or against believing that
individual. Submit your ad for possible publication in the