act86 3

  1. Tell the class that the focus of the next two classes will be on looking at some of the myths about drinking alcohol that are found in advertising. Indicate that they will be given a chance to show the truth behind the ads by making their own ads.

  2. Using the Alcohol Advertising Myth slides (8.B through 8.E), discuss each of the following myths with the students.

    Myth #1—Drinking is a risk-free activity.
    Here are two ads that support the idea that drinking is a risk-free activity. What messages do they deliver?
    • Violence and drinking aren't connected in fact, disagreements can more easily be resolved over a friendly drink (There is no disagreement that arm wrestling can't resolve).
    • Drinking makes you sexy, and an intimate encounter with someone you've just met in a bar is a normal, even desirable, occurrence (Names optional).

    Myth #2—Problem drinking is okay.
    Here are some ads that encourage people to believe that problem drinking behaviours are normal. Can you identify these messages?
    • It is okay to drink a lot of alcohol (A quality drink, after those years of quantity drinking)
    • It is okay to over-drink to the point where you can't function (Smirnoff half day off).

    Myth #3—Alcohol is a magic potion that will make your life better.
    How about these ads that want you to believe that alcohol will transform you?
    • You can be one person when you are not drinking and someone completely different (and more exciting) when you are drinking (Auditor by day. Bacardi by Night.).
    • Alcohol will make you more exciting and appealing to the opposite sex (It makes you electric).

    Myth #4—Sports and alcohol go together.
    The alcohol industry spends millions of dollars pairing playing and watching sports with alcohol. How is this reinforced here?
    • Alcohol is part of participating in any kind of sport or recreation (It’s Game Day).
    • Alcohol is part of a healthy lifestyle (Lose the carbs. Not the taste.).
    • Drinking alcohol will make you more athletic (Lose the carbs. Not the taste.).

  3. After reviewing the myths, ask the class to break up into groups of no more than four students. Assign each group one of the following four myths. You may have to assign the same topic to more than one group.
    • Drinking is a risk-free activity.
    • Problem drinking behaviours are normal.
    • Alcohol is a magic potion that can make your life better.
    • Sports and alcohol go together.

    Tell the groups that their assignment is to tell the other side of the story about their myth through a parody ad. Explain to the class that the parody ads shatter myths about alcohol by delivering messages about the possible harmful and negative consequences of drinking too much.

  4. Assign each group a parody ad topic.
    • Drinking is a risk-free activity - groups will develop an ad that demonstrates the health risks that are associated with drinking.
    • Problem drinking behaviours are normal - groups will develop an ad that demonstrates problem drinking behaviours such as getting into fights when intoxicated, drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning, becoming dependent on alcohol and needing to drink often, and so on.
    • Alcohol is a magic potion that can make your life better - groups will develop an ad that demonstrates the consequences of drinking, especially as it relates to young people.
    • Sports and alcohol go together - groups will develop an ad that demonstrates sports and the alcohol industry.

  5. Each group will need adequate time to complete the assignment. Students may be granted a library or computer lab period to conduct research. They may want to consult the Adbuster web site for ideas:

    Once their research is complete, each group will design a poster or parody ad that shows some of the negative consequences of alcohol misuse.

  6. Finally, each group will present its findings and its parody ad to the class.

3. 2005 Media Awareness Network. This activity plan has been adapted with permission from the Media Awareness Network. For other lesson plans on this and other topics, visit the Media Awareness Network’s Lesson Library at