Analyzing Propaganda Techniques
- Present or share the link to a Prezi presentation “Analyzing Visual Rhetoric.” Discuss the images with students and instruct them to take notes on the presentation. Or review the Common Propaganda Strategies hand-out.
- The students’ first select two product advertisements, either print or video:
Direct students to write a short reflection (1-2 paragraphs) discussing why they deemed one advertisement embarrassing and why the other advertisement elicits feelings of pride. Assist the students in this assignment by suggesting that they pay particular attention to specific propaganda strategies used, as well as visual images and the word choice. (You may want to review the Common Propaganda Strategies hand-out again.)
- one ad they would be proud of as a representation of our society or how they would like our culture to be known
- another ad that is embarrassing for our society or culture.
Divide students into small groups of 3 or 4, and have them begin to analyze the 6-8 advertisements in their group, in terms of tone, emotional appeal, and propaganda technique, using the Common Emotional Appeals Worksheet.
Each group presents their advertisements to the class and explains its analysis, using the short reflection notes on the qualities identified in each ad that support the “proud” ad and the “embarrassing” ad.
Print and distribute the Analyzing Political Ads Worksheet and review the questions.
Select and screen 2-3 political campaign ads from the videos of past presidential elections from the Museum of the Moving Image’s The Living Room Candidate website; or provide students with the URL. As they watch, students should try to analyze political campaign advertisements critically using the questions on the worksheet.
As a home assignment, students choose a current presidential or other campaign ad to analyze, which can often be found on candidates’ websites or on YouTube. They complete the Analyzing Political Ads Worksheet for one ad.