iSpy a good idea

22nd February 2008 at 00:00

Media studies

Advertising can be an interesting subject, but you need to catch your pupils' attention with case studies that they can relate to. And what better way to begin than with a case study on iPod advertising?

The iPod adverts have come a long way since their launch more than six years ago, when the first moving images were largely aimed at the male techno-gadget market.

By going through numerous examples of print based and audio visual adverts, pupils can begin to apply key advertising concepts such as branding, intertextuality (the relationship between texts and how one affects the meaning of another), target audience, cultural impact, and look at which human needs the adverts are appealing to.

They can gain a sense of what a campaign theme is, and begin to identify techniques advertisers use to raise a brand's profile and attract a particular audience. This draws discussion and debate from pupils as they develop critical analytical thinking skills.

One of the more interesting aspects of this involves getting pupils to identify how different styles of adverts are not only aimed at promoting specific features of the numerous models, but how the iPod has been marketed on a universal level to people of all ages and sexes. From teenagers to parents and grandparents, it has now become engrained in 21st-century popular culture.

The adverts are good for highlighting the concept of intertextuality, as references can be found online in the form of spoof ads and the German anti-drug campaign that borrows the iPod advertising style. Using examples shown to them, pupils can create iPod adverts - applying the theory they have learnt, with the codes and conventions of advertising.

Ian Thomson is a media and film studies lecturer at Newcastle College Sixth Form, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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