Fact and Opinion in Advertising

This lesson challenges students to create a set of tips that could help consumers to make this distinction. Being able to tell the difference between factual claims and opinions can help consumers to make smart choices and avoid market disappointments. While it focuses primarily on fact-opinion, this lesson would work as an introduction or springboard to propaganda techniques and persuasive devices in advertising.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

Students Will:

  • Explain the role of advertising from the seller’s point of view.
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion in advertisements.
  • View advertisements with a healthy skepticism.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Extension Activity:

  • Locate an ad in a magazine and read each sentence. If the sentence states a fact, put an F beside it. If the sentence states an opinion, put an O beside it.
  • Visit Food Advertising Trick s to find out how food stylists make burgers, chicken and ice cream look so great in ads. The interactive activity is part of Don’t Buy It: Be Media Smart Web site created by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • Watch for advertisements that seem to promise more than they can deliver. If you prefer, pre-record a few ads with questionable claims and images. For younger students, ads promoting action figures, racing cars and dolls are among those most likely to include questionable claims. Older students will probably be more interested in promotions for clothing, cars, music, etc.