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Try it out

Here's an ad that's taken apart, and one to take apart, or deconstruct, on your own.

sample magazine ad

  • Who's responsible for the ad? Look for the logo, which is the symbol representing the brand. When you find it, ask yourself what you know about the brand. Do you like it? Does it have a good reputation? In this case, Zed is responsible for this ad. It's the company that picked everything in the ad to convince you to buy its products.
  • What is the ad actually saying? Remember to look at more than words. Everything in an ad is a message to you: the pictures, the colors, the feel — and the words. In this ad, you could find a bunch of messages: if you wear Zed clothes, you'll be hip; you can dress well for not a lot of money; if you buy these new, stylish clothes, you won't feel guilty; if you wear these clothes; you'll be happy and have cool friends; if you buy Zed, you'll be cool like these kids. Basically, whatever you think the ad is saying to you is right.
  • What does the ad want me to do? Buy clothes from Zed.

There are more questions about an ad that might give you other useful information:

  • Who do you think this ad is for? Probably girls, maybe ages 12-20.
  • What do you see that makes you think that? The pictures of high school or college girls (though there are two guys, so they may sell guy's clothes, too). And the logo has a kind of flowery pattern, which might be more for girls.

sample media ad

Now it's your turn

Answer these questions to deconstruct this ad:

  • Who's responsible for this ad?
  • What is the ad actually saying?
  • What does the ad want me to do?
  • Who is the ad for?
  • What do you see that makes you think that?

Deconstructing ad worksheet

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This series is available as a PDF: