Smoking and the media

This lesson focuses on smoking and the media. It encourages pupils to critically analyse the way that tobacco companies have used adverts to sell their product and to consider how they still find ways to reach their target audience. It provides an opportunity to discuss how pupils themselves may be subjected to advertising (e.g. on the web) and gives an opportunity for learning in a group by ‘pitching’ their own favourite anti-smoking ad to their peers.

Purpose of session

To help young people understand how tobacco companies market their products.

Key learning outcomes

  1. Understand some of the strategies used in advertising and marketing campaigns.
  2. Explain how image and stereotyping can be used in advertising campaigns, including those of tobacco companies.
  3. Reflect on what makes a good ‘anti-smoking’ campaign and the key elements it would need to prevent smoking.
Stage 1 - Demonstrating knowledge

Resources needed:

PowerPoint projector with slides, sound and internet access.

Key learning outcome

Understand some of the strategies used in advertising and marketing campaigns.
  • Ask pupils to speak to the person next to them. Briefly discuss what is their favourite advert? (Slide 3). This can be from TV, internet, or magazine
  • Take feedback from pupils to describe a few adverts. You may like to play a few of them on the board if the facility is available.
  • What product is being advertised? What do they like about the advert? Is the advert successful and why? (Bearing in mind the fact that it is being discussed as part of a lesson is a success for the product!)

Stage 2 - Presenting new information

Resources needed:

PowerPoint projector and slides.

Key learning outcome

Explain how image and stereotyping can be used in advertising campaigns, including those of tobacco companies.
  • As a class or in small groups discussing, ‘What are the elements needed for a successful marketing campaign?’
  • Follow with Slide 4 to cover any points missed by class. Use Slide 5 to discuss the unrealistic ideals that are used by marketing campaigns. You may wish to look up further adverts online.
  • Present pupils with Slides 6-8 of marketing campaigns used by tobacco companies. Explain that the campaigns are old and that cigarette advertising is no longer legal in the UK.
  • With each of the 3 posters, undertake class Q&A. What are the key elements used by each campaign? Who is it aimed at? What message were they trying to send? What images were used? What was the Unique Selling Point (USP)?

Stage 3 - Applying and reflecting

Resources needed:

PowerPoint projector with slides, sound and web access.

Key learning outcome

Reflect on what makes a good ‘anti-smoking’ campaign and the key elements it would need to prevent smoking.
  • In small groups, allow pupils time to search the internet for their favourite ‘anti-smoking’ campaign. This could be a video or poster.’
  • Pupils should plan a short ‘Apprentice’ style pitch to the class as to why they think the campaign they have chosen will be most effective in preventing smoking, drawing on learning about advertising.
  • Pupils to pitch to class and a class vote taken on the best.
  • Summarise by asking ‘If cigarette companies can’t advertise in the UK, what else might they be doing to make sure their product gets sold? Use Slides 9-11 to summarise.
  • If time, finish by showing video ‘Perhaps the best anti-smoking advert ever created’

Further support

This session looks at smoking in the media. A discussion as a class on any preconceptions they may have of smokers and the reasons that people smoke would be a good introduction to the session.

As a sensitive subject, remind pupils that they can speak to a teacher after class if anything upsets them.

Further information

If pupils need further information about smoking in general you can direct them to the Hampshire NHS Stop Smoking Service, Quit4Life or The Filter for information about smoking for young people.