CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 11. . . .November 15, 2013
Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know. Rev. Ed.
Shari Graydon. Illustrated by Michelle Lamoreaux.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2013.
155 pp., pbk. & hc., $16.95 (pbk.), $26.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55451-560-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-561-5 (hc.).
Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15.
Review by Myra Junyk.
Do you remember the day your parents sat you down to have a serious talk about advertising?
Me neither. And it’s not something they ever test you on at school. Which is too bad: it’s so easy to remember jingles and slogans that an ad exam might be the one test all year you wouldn’t have to study for!
Really, you’ve been “studying” the subject almost since the day you were born: even as a baby, every time you got parked in front of the TV or carried past a store sign, you were absorbing the art – or some would say science – of persuasive communication.
Advertising is an ever-present part of modern-day life. Shari Graydon, a media literacy instructor and former president of MediaWatch, has updated and revised her 2003 guide to the complex world of advertising. Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know is an entertaining, vibrant and comprehensive look at the attention-grabbing world of advertising.
The six chapters in this book examine various aspects of persuasive communication. The first chapter, “Ad Power”, examines the history of advertising from the rudimentary posters in Ancient Greece advertising houses for sale, to the rise of consumerism during the Industrial Revolution, to the present-day digital advertising universe. “You’re The Bull’s-Eye” looks at the creation of advertising for children beginning in the 1950’s when “advertisers began to realize that kids not only had money of their own to spend, but they also influenced a lot of their parents’ shopping decisions.” (p. 22) Chapter three explains numerous attention-grabbing strategies used by advertisers, such as: market research, digital tracking, T-commerce, stereotyping, persuasive vocabulary, and celebrity spokespeople. “Advertising in Disguise” looks at innovative and unconventional advertising campaigns, including guerrilla and stealth marketing. The last two chapters examine advertising regulations and explain how consumers can make a difference in the world of advertising.
The text is organized into short but very well written sections with subtitles. Each section addresses a specific advertising issue in clear and easily understandable vocabulary which will appeal to a very wide audience. Sidebars provide interesting statistics, charts and details about various characteristics of advertising. The explanation of logos (p. 7) gives readers key information about product branding in a very accessible format. There are many suggested activities and experiments with possible research threads for readers to follow, encouraging them to ask questions about the impact of advertising on their lives. One very interesting experiment suggests that readers change the demographic data on their Facebook page to see how this impacts the advertising that appears on their page. The listing of Notes and Ad Resources at the end of the book also provides readers with very good resources for further personal research.
This updated and revised edition of the original 2003 text of Made You Look includes new information about current topics such as social networking, spam, cookies, product placement in movies, texting, and consumer activism. The images in this new edition, created by Michelle Lamoreaux, are action-packed, appealing and interesting. The new images include entire pages of illustration which give the text a “graphic-novel like” look. Amusing graphics emphasize specific ideas, such as the fact that North American consumers are “swimming in advertising” (p. 12) because they see up to 40,000 television commercials in one year.
Shari Graydon has once again produced an important media literacy text for all readers who want to know how advertising impacts them. Graydon’s wonderfully organized text, as well as the colourful graphics by Michelle Lamoreaux, will engage readers while exposing them to important issues, including the financial importance of children in the world of advertising, the impact of celebrity role models, as well as the increasing intrusion of advertising into daily life!
Myra Junyk, a literacy advocate and author, lives in Toronto, ON.
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