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Consider for a moment how we think about the world.  Do we think about it in words, or in images, or both?  When you remember something do you see a picture of it in your mind?  When you think about a concept or an idea do you imagine what it looks like?
Pictures are very powerful things.  They can affect how we think about our world and ourselves in it.  They have a strong influence on us that we sometimes aren’t even aware of.

During your day consider how many pictures or images you see. 

  1. Notice how many of those are trying to influence you, posters and other types of advertisements.
  2. How do these images work?  How do they try to influence or persuade you?
  3. Do the pictures affect you differently than the words in an advertisement? 
  4. How do the pictures and words work together to affect the viewer?


  1. Consider how many different forms advertisements can take. 
  2. How do advertisements work differently depending on whether they appear in print or on television?


  1. What themes do you see in contemporary advertising?
  2. Are there themes which are common regardless of what is being promoted?


  1. How does the look of an advertisement (or advocacy campaign) make it more or less effective?
  2. How can visual images contribute to positive or negative feelings?


  1. How do advertisements (or advocacy campaigns) appeal to their intended audiences?
  2. What visual or textual strategies do they use?


Pick any subject that interests you (a hobby, sport, pop star, television show, social or environmental cause… anything) and find as many examples as you can of posters or advertisements that promote it.

Look closely at the examples you find and see what they have in common and how they differ.

Consider what they are trying make you think and how they try to do this.

Pay particular attention to the way in which visual images and text work in advertisements and advocacy campaigns.





You can't explain much in 60 seconds, but when you show Michael Jordan, you don't have to.
- Phil Knight, co-founder and Chairman of Nike, Inc..
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