- Scrap paper
- A4 paper
- Coloured pens or pencils
- Pens or pencils
- Device with access to the internet
This activity gives everyone the chance to explore the idea that they can be convinced to buy something without realising it.
They’ll make a comic strip of things they do every day. Then everyone will think about and highlight the different times they might see, and be influenced by, adverts throughout their day.
By the end of the activity, they’ll have learned to be more aware of adverts, which will help them to make decisions that are best for them.
Before you begin
- You could run Advert icebreaker as an introduction to this activity to get everyone thinking about the topic.
- Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
- Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.
Step 1: draw your day
- Everyone should find some space and make sure that they have some A4 paper and pens or pencils.
- Split their paper into eight boxes by folding it, unfolding it and drawing over the creases. It should look a bit like a blank comic strip.
- To make it easier, hold the paper horizontally and fold it in half from left to right twice. Then fold it in half, from top to bottom, once.
- Everyone should think about the different things they do every day. They should draw a different activity in each box.
- For example, you could include things like getting ready at home, walking to school, doing homework on a computer, using a mobile phone, going to the shops, watching TV or playing games.
- Everyone should take it turns to share their comics. What things do people have in common?
Step 2: identify the ads
- Everyone should gather together and watch the video Social Experiment: The shocking effects of junk food advertising! from Bite Back 2030.
- If you don’t have internet access, you could tell people about the social experiment instead.
- Everyone should look back at their comic strips. They should think about the different times that they might see, or be influenced by, adverts during everyday activities, like in the social experiment.
- Adverts could be on the radio on the way to school, on posters on the bus, on the internet or online videos, on sponsored content in games they play, or on the TV.
- Now, ask people to draw or write the different adverts they might have seen on their comic strips. They could choose a bright colour, like red, so that the adverts stand out.
- To finish, everyone should share their ideas and their comic strips. When might they have been influenced by advertising? What sorts of adverts are they used to? What were the most common ideas?
Ask everyone to think about their comic strips. What do they notice about their day? How many points were there where an advert might influence their decisions?
Advertising's all around us in lots of different places and at lots of different times. Ask everyone to think about how they feel when they see an advert.
What kind of things do adverts say? For example, that buying a product will make you happier or healthier.
How do people think their lives would change if they did what adverts said? For example, they might buy more stuff.
Spend the last few minutes of your session thinking as a group about some different ways everyone can be more aware of the adverts they see, and how they can make a decision about which ones they listen to.
- Online safety
Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe. Take a look at our online safety or bullying guidance. The NSPCC offers more advice and guidance, too. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command. As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare, including their online experiences, follow the Yellow Card to make a report.
Drawing isn’t the only way to get creative.
People could act out their day then repeat the drama, but add in some adverts!
The person leading the activity could call out different activities for everyone to act out.
You could chat more about different types of adverts. Is it always easy to know when something’s an advert? Do people think that some types of advert are more persuasive than others?
You could use bigger sheets of paper, such as flip chart paper, to create your comics.
Work together in smaller groups, or create some word clouds instead of drawing full comic strips.
People could also make their comics on a computer (or another device) if that would work better for them.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.