This resource has been generously supported by Optus. Through the Digital Thumbprint program and Kids Helpline @ School, Optus supports digital knowledge and the positive use of technology.

These activities encourage students to personalise their learning about advertising as a pervasive medium. They task students with increasing their media literacy in the ways in which they interact with advertising.

Advertising has become unavoidable in public spaces such as city streets, stadiums and on public transport. Debates over this practice centre on the commercialisation of a public commodity, and the potential for inappropriate or unwanted content to be viewed by children and others.

Where should we draw the line? Which public spaces should never have advertising?

Some cities such as Sao Paulo in Brazil have gone so far as to ban outdoor advertising in its entirety. Others areas in the US and other places prohibit or regulate billboards.

Is this a good idea?

What would be the benefits or drawbacks for a city without advertising in its public spaces?

What are some of the other broad criticisms of advertising? Consider:

  • Advertising to children
  • Perpetuating gender and cultural stereotypes
  • Objectification of women
  • Promotion of ‘excess consumption’

Have students consider what advertising means to them. Is it a force for good? Art? Harmless? A necessary evil? Destructive? A public service?