Media Literacy and Tasteless Advertising

Back in the 1980s I used to teach a unit on propaganda techniques to my seventh grade students. We would study Edward Filene’s seven techniques of propaganda, then analyze print and television ads to see how these were used. The students would then try to write their own ads using these techniques. Today this would now fall under the standards for Media Literacy, but essentially it was the same thing.

Over the holidays we watched more junk TV than we usually do, and there seemed to be lots of ads for products from the National Collectors’ Mint. This company specializes in private minting of commemorative coins, and their ads are so over the top that they seemed like a perfect candidate for one of these propaganda technique lessons. In particular, I kept seeing ads for this 9-11 commemorative coin…

10th Anniversary September 11th Commemorative Gold Proof  Collector

I’ll say up front that I think this is a tasteless scam. It plays upon emotions and tries to get people to invest in something that is relatively worthless. I think that anyone that falls for this is an idiot, and I find it appalling that there are some many of these advertisements on television – TV Spam. That aside, though, let’s take a look at some of the specific techniques this advertisement uses. Continue reading “Media Literacy and Tasteless Advertising”