Identifying and Understanding the Fallacies Used in Advertising

This lesson alerts students to the fallacies that surround them every day. The fallacies used in advertising are often overlooked without the tools needed to examine them critically. In this lesson, students deconstruct fallacious images and messages in advertisements and demonstrate their understanding of the fallacies through multimedia presentations. The presentations provide an anchor for shared understanding. Well-designed lesson that includes detailed definitions on the logical fallacies, handouts for students, and an assessment project that pulls in the use of media.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3003.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3003.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
CLE 3003.7.1
Evaluate the aural, visual, and written images and other special effects used in television, radio, film, and the Internet for their ability to inform,...
CLE 3003.7.4
Apply and adapt the principles of written composition to create coherent media productions.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Recognize, identify, and deconstruct the fallacies used in advertising
  • Develop and present an understanding of the fallacies used in advertisements and an argument to support their findings through a multimedia presentation 

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Have students look at the evolution of the advertising of a product over time. Who is the intended audience? What fallacies are used? How has the message stayed the same? How has it changed?
  • In the film Mona Lisa Smile, a brief clip presents advertising directed at women in the 1950s. Have students find examples of advertising directed at a specific audience in a specific era and analyze the message.
  • Analyze the visual images of music videos. If you turned off the sound and just looked at the image, what is the message? Are fallacies being used? If so, who is the intended audience and what message is being delivered?
  • Select examples from literature or essays previously read and studied in class to illustrate fallacies in text. You might choose to use "Cinderella" by Ann Sexton as an example of an unreliable narrator.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Equipment and software for multimedia presentations (e.g., PowerPoint, video camera, media player, word processing program, projector)