4. Advertising Human Rights
Let’s tell the world about human rights!
|| General human rights, adaptable to any theme, Media and Internet
|Level of complexity
|| Level 3
|| 10-13 years
|| 4-24 children
|| 120-180 min
|Type of activity
|| Story telling, drawing, writing
|| Children develop a TV advertisement for children’s human rights
||• To develop critical thinking skills about advertising and the media
• To practise creativity and communications skills
• To develop ideas on how to promote children’s human rights
• To deepen understanding about human rights
||• If possible, arrange video equipment to record the advertisements
||• Paper and art supplies
- Divide children into groups of three or four. Explain that their group has been asked to advertise children’s human rights. They will make an advertisement for television that lasts from one to three minutes that makes people aware of and/or understand that right.
- Ask children to describe some advertisements on TV that have caught their attention. Brainstorm features of good advertisements (e.g. clever phrases, sound effects, music, humour, serious message).
- Discuss the audience for their advertisement. Is it aimed at children, parents, teachers, the general public or all of these? Discuss ways in which the advertisement can be made attractive to their chosen audience.
- Explain that each group should choose a right they want to advertise and the audience(s) they want to address. Encourage them to choose a right that they think people really need to know about and the people who really need to know about it. Ask someone from each group to report their right to you, and what audience they have decided upon.
- Once groups have chosen a right, they should develop an idea to advertise it. Encourage them to consider many different ways to present the right (e.g. a story that they act out, a song they sing, a cartoon for which they draw the storyboard). Remind them that this will be a video for TV so it should be visually interesting and have action, not just ‘talking heads’. It should not be too complex to be presented in less than three minutes.
- Circulate among the groups to monitor their progress. Once a group has completed its advertisement, ask them to give it a title and begin to practise.
- When all the groups have planned their advertisements, bring the whole group together to share their ideas and get feedback from others. Ask each group to explain their right, their audience, and their ideas. If they are ready, they may try to perform it as well. After each description or performance, encourage constructive suggestions and feedback, asking questions such as:
Give the groups time to improve and practise their advertisements.
Ask each group to present their advertisement and plans to each other.
- Will this idea appeal to the chosen audience?
- Will it get the idea of the right across clearly?
- What do you like about these ideas?
- Can you offer any suggestions for improvement?
Debriefing and Evaluation
- Debrief the activity, asking questions such as:
Relate the activity to human rights, asking questions such as:
- Were any parts of this activity especially challenging? Especially fun?
- Did you learn something about how advertisements are made?
- Was it hard to think in images rather than just words?
- Was it hard to think about how to reach a particular audience?
- Are advertisements always positive? Why or why not?
- What did you learn from the other storyboards?
- Will this activity change the way you look at TV?
- Why did your group choose that particular right?
- Why did you choose that particular audience?
- What kind of reaction or action do you think your advertisement would produce?
- Is a TV advertisement a good way to send people a message about human rights? Why or why not?
- Did your advertisement involve other rights besides the one you focused on?
- Can a right stand alone or is it always connected to other rights?
- Can you think of any rights that would be difficult to advertise or represent?
- Did any of your characters represent stereotypes? If so, does that have a negative effect? Why or why not?
- Why is it important for people to know about their rights?
- Who needs education about children’s human rights?
Suggestions and follow up
- Explain that many advertising campaigns combine TV advertisements with graphic advertisements in print media such as magazines or newspapers or as posters on kiosks, buses and in other public places. Start by asking the children to look through print media or their neighbourhoods to find advertisements they like, and to discuss what makes them attractive. Then ask the children to develop a two-dimensional, graphic advertisement of a right. Where the technology is available, these graphic advertisements could also be created on computer. Make an exhibition of these for the children’s centre or school.
- Point out that many advertising campaigns employ a famous spokesperson. Ask for some examples from their experience. Whom would they like to introduce and/or take part in their advertisement? Why would that person be appropriate for the right or audience they have chosen?
- Discuss with the children what it would be like to make a longer human rights video that told a story.
- How would it be different from an advertisement?
- What aspects of the story would be important (e.g. a good story; practical considerations such as expenses; a human rights message)?
- What aspects of the proposed video would be important (e.g. requiring actors other than children in the group, lots of props and costumes, unsafe scenes)?
Ideas for action
- If at all possible, make the videos of these advertisements! You may find some technical assistance for lighting and sound and the loan of equipment from local TV stations or film schools. Even a bad video can be a learning experience.
- If it isn’t possible to make a video, you could perform the stories as if they were being filmed. Several of these advertisements could make a lively human rights lesson for other children or parents.
- Encourage children to critique advertisements they see on TV.
- Why were they put on TV?
- Who is the intended audience?
- What is the intended message?
- What is the intended response of the viewers?
Tips to the facilitator
- This is a complex activity that may challenge children to use new skills (e.g. writing dialogue or songs, developing a story board). The facilitator needs to monitor the children’s progress carefully, helping them keep on track.
- Some groups will move faster through the process than other. If a group has completed one task, give them instructions individually for the next step. Give them plenty to time to practise and to revise after feedback.
- Use the activity to encourage critical thinking about advertising and its purposes.
- Use the activity to practise giving and receiving constructive criticism.
This activity requires familiarity with human rights generally and the CRC in particular. You may want to begin with a brainstorm about human rights to determine how much children know about human rights. If they need more background to use the activity successfully, begin with a more introductory activity, e.g. ‘Board Games’, p. 70, or ‘My Universe of Rights’, p. 122. To familiarize the children with the CRC, you might also assign each child an article of the CRC and ask that it be illustrated; then ask the children to read out their article and explain their illustration.