Read this statement to the class: “According to the Center for Media Education, most children watch three to four hours of TV each day, and the average child sees more than 20,000 commercials each year.” Ask students how they think this type of statistic is calculated. Then have them conduct surveys of their own TV (or other media) viewing habits or the habits of their friends or family. Their surveys should count the number of commercials they watch per day, the number of gunshots they see on TV each day, or a similar type of statistic. Ask them to use these numbers to calculate a “per year” statement like the one above and a lifetime statement (e.g. “At the rate I’m going, I’ll watch about 1,600,000 commercials if I live to be 80!”).
Graphs and Charts in Advertising
Have students look at these ads, and ask them to figure out what’s misleading about them. Have them write statements describing what the viewer might infer from the ads and additional statements describing what the ads actually show. Discuss other examples of how statistics, graphs, and charts might be used in advertising messages.