Identifying and Understanding the Fallacies Used in Advertising

This lesson alerts students to the fallacies that surround them every day. The fallacies used in advertising are often overlooked without the tools needed to examine them critically. In this lesson, students deconstruct fallacious images and messages in advertisements and demonstrate their understanding of the fallacies through multimedia presentations. The presentations provide an anchor for shared understanding.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Recognize, identify, and deconstruct the fallacies used in advertising.
  • Develop and present an understanding of the fallacies used in advertisements and an argument to support their findings through a multimedia presentation.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Have students look at the evolution of the advertising of a product over time. Who is the intended audience? What fallacies are used? How has the message stayed the same? How has it changed?
  • In the film Mona Lisa Smile, a brief clip presents advertising directed at women in the 1950s. Have students find examples of advertising directed at a specific audience in a specific era and analyze the message.
  • Analyze the visual images of music videos. If you turned off the sound and just looked at the image, what is the message? Are fallacies being used? If so, who is the intended audience and what message is being delivered?
  • Select examples from literature or essays previously read and studied in class to illustrate fallacies in text. You might choose to use "Cinderella" by Ann Sexton as an example of an unreliable narrator.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Computers with Internet access.
  • Equipment and software for multimedia presentations (e.g., PowerPoint, video camera, media player, word processing program, projector).