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How ads start fads

Discover how adverts are used to make us want things, then have a go at making a healthy ad.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Pens or pencils
  • A4 paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • A selection of newspaper or magazines, enough for each group

Acquire the adverts

  • The person leading the activity should ask the group to bring with them a used newspaper or magazine. Ideally, they should look through their newspaper or magazine to see if it has a page with food adverts on it.
  • The person leading the activity should gather together a selection of newspapers and magazines with food adverts in them. Try to find a range of different food adverts.

Understanding adverts

  1. Everyone should get into pairs or small groups. The person leading the activity should give out newspapers or magazines, scissors, paper and glue sticks. Everyone should take a newspaper or magazine with food adverts in it.
  1. Everyone should look through their newspapers or magazines to find the food adverts, cut one of them out with the scissors and stick it onto the paper. When sticking, each person should leave space to write around the cut-out.
  1. The person leading the activity should read out or write down some of the 'Advertising techniques' below.
  2. Each group think about each example advert. Together, they should work out the following things:
    • What is the advert selling?
    • Who is the target audience?
    • Does it make you want the product?
    • What benefit do they give for buying the product?
    • What would you change about the advert?
  1. Now, everyone should think of a healthy food product that they’d like to advertise in their groups. This can be on TV, on the radio or in a newspaper or magazine. Everyone should write down some ideas on the back of their paper.
  2. Each group should plan out an advert to promote their chosen food product. Think about if the advert will show the health benefits in a normal person, or whether it’ll have a celebrity say nice things about the product. Each member of each group should play a part in performing/displaying the advert. Give the groups 20 minutes to do this.
  3. Everyone should perform/display their adverts to the rest of the group. The audience must decide what technique from the sheet has been used, who the advert might be targeting and make suggestions of things they would change.


The group have looked at some advertising techniques often seen on TV, on the radio and in printed media. Which ad technique did you think appeals to you most? How might your perspective be different from someone else, say, for example, someone 20 years older? How do you think advertisers know how to talk to people of a certain age or from a certain place?

Using what they’d found in their research, the groups then made some adverts of their own about food products. What kind of food product did you choose to advertise and how did you sell it to your audience? What benefits did you talk about or perks did you offer? Will anyone try out their ad on someone who fits the target audience to see if it works?! If it does, it might lead to a successful career one day.



Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people

Glue and solvents

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions which could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.