10 — The ethical consumer: Part 2
In this sequence, the students will apply their understanding of ethical consumerism to design their very own ‘avant card’ in a group situation. They will discuss the aesthetic qualities of a postcard format and the ability of this form of advertising to be mobile and reach a wide audience. ACELT1803
This sequence draws on the General Capabilities of Ethical Behaviour, Critical and Creative Thinking, Information and Communication Technology, and Personal and Social Capability.
Project: Creating an avant card
Draw the students’ attention to the concept of an avant card, which is essentially an advertising postcard that can be distributed to public locations such as high schools, libraries and cafes. View the Avant Card website. In the ‘about us’ section of the website, Avant Card states that:
... we are committed to producing ethical advertising. Our mantra is only to produce and distribute advertising that is based on values and principles that are morally, socially and environmentally responsible.
Ask the students if they have seen avant cards anywhere? If so, where?
Explain that the students will have an opportunity to investigate ethical consumerism further and to apply their learning as they create their own avant cards: postcards with a social message to share. Their avant cards will promote an ethical consumer practice. The visual texts they create should aim to challenge the thinking of those who read them. They will be placing their cards in a public space such as a school library display or front foyer.
The students will also provide written reflections to accompany their postcards. Based on feedback from peers, who will view the postcards and interpret the intended messages, they will then reflect on how successful their finished projects were. Reflections will include an explanation of what they set out to illustrate in their texts. Student postcard designs and reflections will form part of their advertising portfolios.
Some websites that further explore ethical consumerism and that may be useful in the completion of this project are:
- See Me, a site developed by the Melbourne-based Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Trust, which promotes positive body image and tackles gender stereotyping
- the Ethical Consumer Guide website, which provides information about ethical shopping in Australia
- Choice Australia, an independent consumer watchdog organisation that provides information and advice on consumer products
- MediaSmarts, a Canadian non-profit organisation that develops digital and media literacy programs for schools and communities
- The Story of Stuff Project, an American project, which creates online movies about the way we make, use and throw away stuff.
This Project planner and reflection guide will be useful in planning and reflecting on the project.
Note: This project does not constitute a major assessment task for this unit. The project provides a chance for students to demonstrate their understanding of ethical consumerism, to work in groups and to inform others of a key issue. You could, however, choose to build the project up to become a major task. As with the learning from all previous sequences, the students can return to these ideas when they create their individual culminating project: Creating a guide to being consumer savvy in the 21st century, which is the focus of the remaining sequences.