©2006 Frank Baker, Media Educator

Close Reading of Media Texts

Here are some questions you might have your students ponder before the game:

  1. What do you know about the Super Bowl game? Where did you learn it?
  2. Why does the game get tremendous media attention every year?
  3. What makes advertisers want to put their ads on this once-a-year sporting event?
  4. Why does ad time cost $5 million for just one 30-second ad?
  5. Who decides what order the ads air during the game?
  6. How do advertisers create buzz about their ads, even before the game is broadcast?
  7. Create a chart listing the known advertisers and research their parent companies.
  8. How many ads are for: alcohol? cars? TV shows? movies? Why is this so?
  9. Which ad(s) are you looking forward to viewing and why?
  10. Which propaganda/persuasion techniques would you expect to be used in each ad?
  11. How do advertisers make money from their Super Bowl spots?
  12. Might you find ads inside/outside/above the stadium? If so, where?
    Be on the lookout for not-so-obvious ads during the broadcast. (Students might want to create a list)
  13. Based on the ads scheduled to be broadcast, what demographic (gender, age) do you think each advertiser is trying to reach?
  14. How was social media used, if at all, by advertisers before and during the game itself?
  15. How do you plan to use social media, it at all, during the game?

Here are some questions to consider after the game:

  1. What ad(s) did you find most entertaining, and why? (students should be specific and give details here)
  2. What ad(s) did you find the most dull, and why?
  3. Which ad(s) did you think were most effective, and why?
  4. Which ad(s) were you most willing to share  with a friend?
  5. Which ad(s) featured well-known personalities? Why?
  6. Identify the “pathos/ethos/logos” and “techniques of persuasion” used in each ad.
  7. Calculate the total cost the TV network gains if each ad costs an estimated $5 million.
  8. How do Super Bowl advertisers get mileage for their message before and after the game?
  9. How many ads did you spot inside the stadium?  List them.
  10. How was social media used inside the broadcast; how did you use it, if at all?

Survey classmates, parents, grandparents: ask each to list their 3 favorite ads.
Compare and contrast responses. Why do some ads appeal to different genders and age groups?

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