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2 — Why do we love brands so much?

In this sequence, the students will begin to recognise the pervasive nature of advertising in the 21st century, in relation to brand power. They will draw on their prior knowledge about brands, products, slogans and logos. They will investigate the relationship between logos and brands and the meaning and power that these have for an intended audience, particularly the teenage (and pre-teenage) audience. ACELY1721 The students will view Episode 3 of the series Secrets of the Superbrands (PG) which focuses on food superbrands (see Resources).

This sequence draws on the General Capabilities of Literacy and Critical and Creative Thinking.

Activity 1: Identifying logos and brands

Have the students work either individually or in pairs to complete the Logos and brands visual challenge worksheet. To maximise the effect of this activity, students should not have access to the internet or technology to retrieve answers — the power lies in students being able to recall details by way of memory. ACELY1722

After giving the students a suitable amount of time (say 5 to 10 minutes) to recall as much graphic detail as they can about the logos or brands, encourage them to share their responses with others in the class. Ask them:

The students can now be shown the actual logos to compare with their work, or they can be given an opportunity to conduct an image search online.

If you have access to iPads or tablets, or if students are permitted to use smartphones in class, the free app Logos Quiz Game can be downloaded and used to engage students in a discussion of logos and brand recognition. Likewise, The Logo Board Game is an Australian logo quiz game. 

Explain that having a logo is one way for consumers to remember, and hopefully prefer, a product. It is a technique that advertisers use to give a ‘face’ to a brand. In this unit we will be critically analysing a range of advertising techniques and what these mean to us as consumers. Students will track their thinking by creating a journal that is all about advertising. The journal will contain thinking worksheets, reflections and formative assessments and will comprise Assessment 1 for this unit. You may elect to have students complete a digital or online journal rather than a paper journal.

At this point, ask the students to list other advertising techniques that they are aware of and to add this list to their journals.

Activity 2: Where do I stand? 

Lead into this activity by writing the expression ‘You are what you consume’ on the board. This phrase is, of course, based on the common expression ‘You are what you eat’.

Ask the students to position themselves somewhere on the continuum of an imaginary line in the classroom. At one end of the room is ‘strongly agree’ and at the other is ‘strongly disagree’. In the middle is the continuum from ‘agree’ through ‘undecided’ and ‘disagree’. Moving along the line, select students to share the reasoning behind the position they have chosen to take. ACELY1804

Now, ask the students to ‘fold the line’. This will mean that those standing at the ‘strongly agree’ end will now be standing opposite those who identified their position as ‘strongly disagree’. This pairing applies to all points on the line. The students now have a short amount of time to discuss their key reasons for standing where they did and perhaps aim to persuade the person opposite to join their position on the line. Ask if anyone wants to move after hearing the opinions of others in the class and after hearing new ideas and thoughts.

Explain that the thinking and discussions that they just had in this activity mimics the writing process in many ways (for example, being able to take a position on an issue and then mounting an argument to articulate this position, using evidence or examples to support the case).

Ask the students to complete a definition of the terms ‘consume’ and ‘consumer’ as they relate to this unit. Explain that they will be building their knowledge around being smart consumers or being ‘consumer savvy’. At the culmination of this unit they will be creating their own guides for a teenage audience as to what it means to be consumer savvy in this day and age.

Reflective journal writing

Ask the students to think about their behaviour as consumers and to consider the sorts of products they consume and how these are marketed or targeted at them.

Remind them that they will be completing ongoing journal entries and completing formative assessment tasks throughout this unit as a way to track their thinking.

Activity 3: The secrets of the superbrands – viewing activity

Share this synopsis of the three-part mini-documentary series Secrets of the Superbrands. 

British television presenter Alex Riley doesn’t get the whole obsession with brands, but he is aware that millions of consumers around the world cannot resist them. In the documentary The Secrets of the Superbrands, Alex meets ‘brand fanatics’ and talks to the creators of some leading brands to reveal the tricks that help them sell vast quantities of products.

Note: There are three 57-minute episodes in the series. Episodes 2 and 3 (Fashion and Food) are rated PG, but Episode 1 (Technology) is M rated and contains sexual references and some sexually explicit footage. It is advisable to use selected scenes from this first episode with this age group. Episodes 2 and 3 can be watched in their entirety.

Explain to the students that they will be taking notes about the secrets that Alex Riley uncovers as they watch an episode devoted to food superbrands. Based on their notes, they will work in a group to create a visual mind map about what they have learnt about the power of brands and how advertisers use marketing strategies to sell a brand. ACELY1723

Note: The site Cool Tools for Schools has web 2.0 tools to help with mind map creation.

Begin watching Episode 3 of the series: Food. The episode can be watched in its entirety (57 minutes duration) or spaced out in segments based on key concepts and ideas (these will be referred back to throughout the unit).

The following discussion questions can be used to assist student thinking and the documentary can be paused in sections to discuss these ideas:

Journal writing

This is a good time for students to follow up on Activities 2 and 3 by completing a piece of journal writing in which they respond to the topic ‘We are what we consume’.