TASK: Campaign Ads

In this task, you will...
    • learn more about how the candidates use campaign commercials to make people vote for them,
    • research past campaign ads from previous elections to learn about what makes them so effective,
    • analyze campaign ads from the current Trump vs. Clinton campaign.


1    Preparation (Homework)    

Read the article “10 of the best successful presidential campaign commercials ever made” on the Lowdown blog by KQED and watch the 10 commercials in that article. Based on these examples, what do you think makes a good campaign ad? Take detailed notes.

Select two commercials that you find particularly compelling to focus on in more detail – one positive and one negative. Watch them again and take notes of why you think they are effective.


2    Learning to analyze ads     

In class, share your notes with a partner.

  • First, discuss in general what makes a good campaign ad.
  • Then, introduce your two selected commercials to your partner and explain why you think they are good examples of effective campaign ads.
  • Finally, discuss your findings in class.

In class, agree on two commercials from this list to watch and analyze together. You will watch each commercial four times, each time focusing on another aspect.

Fill out the TV commercial analysis chart (see resources below) during the four viewings, one column for each viewing.


3    Analyzing political ads of the 2016 campaign        

Get together with a partner and take a look at political ads from the 2016 campaign. Visit Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s YouTube channels and select one for each candidate. Analyze these commercials together using the TV commercial analysis sheet.

Then, present your analysis of one commercial to another pair and listen to their analysis of a campaign commercial. Do you agree on their analysis results? Would you add some thoughts of your own? Discuss and add information to the analysis sheet if necessary.

Finally, have a few pairs present their analysis to the whole class and discuss the results critically.



  • Write a TV commercial analysis and post it onto Moodle.
  • Collect TV ad analyses for the 2016 presidential race together with your classmates. Use it for further work, even beyond the project.

 You can use the database Learner Texts.



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